The Missouri Ethics Commission has released the text of the letter of admonition which it sent to Newton County Sheriff Ron Doerge last week. It reads as follows:
December 22, 2004
Mr. Ron Doerge
208 West Coler
Neosho, MO 64850
Re: Complaint No. E4187
Dear Mr. Doerge:
Please be advised that at the December 16, 2004 meeting of the Missouri Ethics Commission, the complaint filed against you was considered. The Commission determined that taxpayer resources were used in support of a candidate. the Commission instructed me to inform you that this was a violation of section 115.646, RSMo and that, in the future, taxpayer resources should not be used to support any candidate or ballot measure.
The Commission voted to take no further action on this complaint and to close our file.
As it was pointed out in The Turner Report. the Ethics Commission's decision is merely a slap on the wrist for the sheriff and considering the narrow scope of its investigation, was probably the best result that anyone could expect.
Considering everything that happened in the sheriff's election this year, especially the events surrounding John McCormack's radio candidate forum, I have no doubt that a more broadbased investigation would have uncovered other uses of taxpayer equipment by the sheriff, but nothing that would overturn an election. The simple fact is that once the sheriff endorsed Copeland, it was pretty much over for the other candidates. Everything else, including these activities which have brought so much embarrassment to him in his final days in office, was just overkill.
Interesting story in The Lamar Democrat about an upcoming basketball game between Lamar and Monett. Veteran coach Richard Marti returned to coaching the Lamar boys this year after a successful 15-year run as girls coach (he coached the boys team for the previous 15 years). The new coach at Monett is Marti's youngest son, Brett. That definitely makes those of us who remember a five and six-year-old Brett getting the basketballs after his father's games and sinking a high percentage of outside shots. Brett later was a standout at Lamar High School and at Southwest Baptist University.
Brett is one of many with Lamar ties who have positions in the Monett school system, including High School Principal Dave Stewart and Middle School Principal John Jungmann.