Editor’s note: This is the second story in a four-part series that previews individual Joplin City Council races ahead of the June 2 election.
An incumbent appointee on the Joplin City Council faces a challenger in the June 2 election to fill the two remaining years for a general council seat.
Anthony Monteleone, 33, currently holds the seat. Joshua Shackles, age unavailable, also seeks the seat.
Monteleone was appointed to the council in 2018 to fill an unexpired term. He had been a candidate in that election and won appointment because he had the next highest vote total in the race. He has lived most of his life in Joplin. He is a video editor employed at Leggett & Platt Inc.
When asked why he wants voters to return him to the council, Monteleone said that when he ran two years ago, his goals were to solve deficiencies in the police and fire pay plan, promote small-business development and find a long-term solution to the city’s tight budget.
“I’m still hard at work on those issues, and over the last two years, we’ve made significant progress on getting (police and fire) salaries where they need to be, which leads to better retention and makes our city safer,” he said.
Monteleone also is a voice for transparency in city government, he said.
Shackles is an event planner/community organizer and is the events manager for the Joplin Elks Lodge. He is making his first bid for elective office.
“I’ve lived in Joplin since I was a child, and I would like the opportunity to serve my hometown,” he said. “I love the strength of our people, and I am fascinated by our history. I hope to work with people and organizations in Joplin to help solve problems with commonsense solutions. I believe our brightest days are ahead of us.”
When asked what issues or needs they foresee for the city and the council, Shackles said there are several major challenges, “including attracting new residents, maintaining city infrastructure, providing quality jobs, expanding public transportation, supporting our neighborhoods, increasing city revenue and maintaining a responsible budget.”
Shackles believes the city should find ways to increase revenue at Memorial Hall, Joe Becker Stadium and the Joplin Museum Complex through special events and activities.
Monteleone said one looming issue is that “we promised to work to get our safety employees up to a high level of pay compared to the regional average, and that job is not done.” He said good progress has been made, “but if it does not continue, we stand to lose good people.”
He also said that Joplin is at a crossroads in its development in a changing economy.
“With the right mix of investment in infrastructure and the support of our people, we have the ability to grow and attract emerging markets that bring a highly skilled workforce with them,” he said.
Joplin also needs to work on making sure the city’s financial means to support maintenance of streets and bridges is available for the future, he said.