Friday, May 29, 2015
Lynda Banwart to Joplin R-8 voters- Go to hell
Three nights ago, Missouri Southern State University professor Marsy Archer received a positive vote from Banwart and Mike Landis, while Board President Jeff Koch, Debbie Fort, and Jennifer Martucci preferred Jim Kimbrough.
Tonight, Archer was offered up as the first choice with Koch, Fort, and Martucci voting yes. Banwart voted no. "I want this to go to the County Commission," she said, despite the fact that two of the commissioners do not even live in the Joplin R-8 School District.
Banwart said the board was dysfunctional and talked about the threats that Randy Steele said had driven him to resign.
Martucci said that leaving the decision in the hands of the County Commission was "not fair" to the voters in the Joplin School District.
Koch asked Board Attorney Norman Rouse if all three finalists could be voted onto the board. Rouse said that could be done, but Banwart was having none of it.
She apologized to Archer and Sharrock Dermott, the other finalist. "I tried to support you," she said.
When Koch said that Banwart was hindering the process, a group from the audience, led by blogger and frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame, called Koch a "fraud" and people in the audience accused of Koch of talking "inappropriately," though that was the only thing he had said that had come close to a criticism of Banwart.
Koch apologized to Banwart and the audience and asked if there was anything that could be done to convince her to vote for a board replacement.
Banwart said she was "uncomfortable" with the process.
When Martucci asked if anyone had any conflict of interest with the County Commission; Rouse who serves as the commission's attorney on numerous matters, said he did, and he added that Banwart has a conflict, also, though he did not spell out what the conflict was.
At the conclusion of the meeting, a second vote was taken to accept the resignations of Randy Steele and Mike Landis. Koch and Banwart voted yes, with Martucci and Fort casting "no" votes, meaning at this point the board still has only one vacancy, that of Lane Roberts. An earlier vote during the meeting had ended with the same split.
After the meeting adjourned, Anson Burlingame, in a self-satisfied, triumphant tone, said, "Damage done."