City Council will hear results of investigative reports

By Aaron Kessler

Globe Staff Writer

The Joplin City Council could decide on a new city manager tonight.

"We'll have to see how it plays out," said Mayor Phil Stinnett. "At this point, I'm not ruling anything out."

The council will meet in a closed session to discuss the hiring of a city manager. It will be briefed on the long-awaited investigative reports ordered on both candidates.

The two finalists are Mark Rohr, of Piqua, Ohio, and Craig Whitehead, of Sioux City, Iowa.

Joplin hired private investigators near both cities about two weeks ago. The investigators were charged with assembling comprehensive background reports on the candidates, which included talking to their current and former colleagues as well as others in the community, and going through documents.

Brian Head, city attorney, said two investigators were hired, one in each town. Head will present their findings to the council.

Head said the city has been billed $600 from one of the investigators. He said he has not received a bill from the other.

Stinnett said the council has not yet been made aware of anything in the reports, which were delivered Tuesday.

"I'm trying to keep a totally open mind at this point until I hear all of this background information," Stinnett said. "When I hear what he (Head) has to say, maybe some of the things in the back of my mind might crop up, but right now I'm trying to be totally objective about it."

Stinnett said the council may make a decision tonight or decide to hold further meetings, depending on the information it receives from Head.

"What we hear may form the basis of what direction we go tomorrow night, but there is no preconceived idea at this point," Stinnett said.

Both finalists are looking to fill the position left vacant by Steve Lewis, who left in December to take a similar job in Lee's Summit. Harold McCoy, interim city manager, has been filling the position. When the new manager is hired, McCoy will become assistant to the city manager.

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