Sunday, August 28, 2005

Public benefits from Elliott's legislation

Though there were times when I skewered him in print, I always had an appreciation for Mark Elliott, R-Carl Junction, during his days as a Missouri state representative.
Shortly after he left the office, he was kind enough to drop by my trailer classroom at Diamond Middle School and give a lesson on how the House operates, which if I recall, centered around a fictitious bill which would make vanilla ice cream the state ice cream for Missouri. By the time he left, the sixth graders to whom he spoke had a much better idea of how state government operates.
Mark was always good for a quote and never sidestepped a question, something which you can't say about very many politicians, Democrat or Republican. When I asked him a question, he gave me a straight answer.
And for those who recall that I ripped into him in the pages of The Carthage Press for accepting so many campaign contributions from lobbyists and their spouses, that is absolutely true, but one person who never complained about that coverage was Mark Elliott.
Saturday's Joplin Globe did not have any mention of Mark, but it was his legislation that enabled Globe reporter John Hacker to reveal how much ($7,400) Southwest City paid out to its former Police Chief Ron Beaudry to settle his wrongful dismissal lawsuit against the city.
Elliott pushed for that revision of the Missouri Sunshine Law after the Diamond R-4 Board of Education fought to keep from revealing to the public just how much it had to fork over to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit brought against a school superintendent and the district by a former secretary.
Elliott felt that taxpayers had the right to know how their money was being spent and thanks to him, Southwest City taxpayers are not in the dark about the actions that were taken by the people who they elected to represent them.

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