Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Joplin R-8 Board fails to choose new member
When Board President Jeff Koch, Debbie Fort, and Jennifer Martucci made the point that they wanted Jim Kimbrough to take the seat vacated when former Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts resigned, they cited his nine years of board experience.
Banwart talked about change and said that if board experience was the primary requirement for the replacement, then why did they not vote for either Ashley Micklethwaite or Anne Sharp, both of whom were among the original applicants for the post.
What was the difference between those two and Kimbrough, Banwart asked.
For one thing, Lynda, Anne Sharp couldn't collect 300 notarized signatures on a petition if she handed out candy and led taxpayers in the wave. And considering that Micklethwaite was the board president after the tornado when the keys to the treasury were handed over to Superintendent C. J. Huff, it is unlikely that she could get that many signatures either.
As Martucci pointed out, the voters who elected her, Koch, and Lane Roberts were the same ones who were signing the petitions.
When the educational experience of Kimbrough, a former teacher and principal in the R-8 School District was brought up, Banwart let it be known that there was already one board member who had worked for the district, Debbie Fort, and it has become quite apparent over the last two regular board meetings that Banwart does not have much use for Fort.
So Kimbrough fell one vote short of receiving the four necessary, with Koch, Fort, and Martucci supporting him, and Mike Landis and Banwart voting against him. Randy Steele, who voted against Kimbrough at the May 12 special meeting, was absent.
The other two finalists for the position, Empire District Electric Company attorney Sharrock Dermott and Missouri Southern State University professor Marsi Archer, each fell two votes short with Landis and Banwart supporting them and Koch, Fort, and Martucci voting against.
Koch said he was voting for Kimbrough, but hoped that both Dermott and Archer would run next April, noting that he, Martucci, and Roberts all applied for the seat left open when Dawn Sticklen resigned, were all passed over, and were all three elected in April.
The decision was tabled until the next meeting.