Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New board member Gatz is regular contributor to Joplin Progress Committee

The secretive method through which the Jasper County Commission selected three new members of the Joplin R-8 Board of Education appears to have given the Joplin Progress Committee a second chance to do what all of their money and influence failed to do in April- retain control of the board.

Earlier this evening, the Turner Report noted that one of the Commission's three choices, former Sen. Gary Nodler, was the recipient of nearly $10,000 in campaign contributions from those who signed petitions received by the commissioners June 4 asking them to fill the board vacancies.

A small percentage of people can afford to contribute to political campaigns or contribute to the organization, the Joplin Progress Committee, that has made it clear its objective is to maintain the same direction for the city and the school district that was set by former City Manager Mark Rohr and departing Superintendent C. J. Huff.

The petitions include the names of nine heavy hitters plus blogger and frequent Joplin Globe guest columnist Anson Burlingame who have contributed to the Joplin Progress Committee. The petitions were also signed by the spouses of two of those on the list. The Turner Report obtained the petitions through a Sunshine Law request . Missouri Ethics Commission records show the following contributed to the Progress Committee:

Henry Robertson Jr. $850
Cynthia Schwab $1,250
Sara Newman $850
Michael Pence $250
Joy Cragin $25
Leland Browne $25
Gwen Delano $100
Robert Willcoxon $500
James Hicklin $750
Anson Burlingame $10

During the 2014 board race, the committee endorsed incumbents Jeff Flowers and Randy Steele, plus newcomers Lynda Banwart, Shawn McGrew, and Jeff Koch, providing money to all of those candidates, except Koch, who did not accept contributions.

This year, the committee endorsed Board President Anne Sharp, Nancy Good, and Lane Roberts.

One person who contributed $350 to the Joplin Progress Committee, giving $100 this year and $250 in 2014, did not sign the petition. That person, Empire District Electric Company's chief operating officer for its gas division Ron Gatz, was sworn in as a new R-8 Board of Education member last week.

Just who did the County Commission consult before it made its decision?


Leonard Skinnerd said...

Ooh, that smell

Can't you smell that smell?

Need to Know Basis said...

Who says there was anything secretive? Other than that YOU weren't invited (probably because you would have told everyone all about this) is there anything else to prove this secretive nonsense you are suddenly so interested in?

What does the old auctioneer think about this?

Concerned Citizen said...

Everything about it was secretive. It would be fabulous if you'd learn about your rights as a voter and citizen...especially since I served our country to protect those rights. The voice of the citizens of Joplin has been stepped on and the good ol' boy system has been activated once again. Our laws are in place for a reason...and they have to follow them while governing in an elected position. Inform yourself...don't let others think for you.

Anonymous said...


You contradict yourself. If there was nothing done that Randy could have told, then there was nothing secretive. If there was something done that Randy shouldn't tell, as you implicate he would have had he been invited, then there was something done that was secretive.

You have little to say that makes sense. Flinging inane insults hardly helps your cause.

Anonymous said...

That Banwart had the nerve to tell a reporter that Board members shouldn't be discussing future members outside of a meeting galls me. She was obviously quite busy rounding up members out of her elite clique, but she didn't want the public to know what she was doing. And, apparently, she is intent on keeping CJ Huff in power through a puppet interim (Cravens, anyone?) so that Huff can still control the Board and the superintendent's seat.

Now, what are they trying so hard to cover that it goes into the world of politics, local business powerhouses (such as they are), and the JPC? Land deals gone sour? Attempts to control the entire city to ensure their benefit? Stolen donations? Illegally funded bond issues? Illegal political donations? All of the above? More than likely, it is the last.

Anonymous said...


What do you mean "so suddenly interested in"? Turner has been providing us with documented facts about the Cj Huff regime for two years, and about the community for longer. Apparently, you were busy pickling your brain and missed that part. Try to keep up.

Anonymous said...

the joplin tax payers need to STAND UP AND TAKE ACTION

Anonymous said...

The board can be remade into anything the people want in April. The facts are the current board could not reach a decision. The Commission did what was needed to be done. If Jim Kimbrough wanted to be on the board he should have ran, and can in April. Randy, you have your agenda and it seems that unless you get your own personal agenda pushed through, then everyone else screwed up. C.J. Huff is gone, and it was past time. I'm disappointed in the three members that were left, who seem to want to continue an agenda, that I believe is to rid the district of everyone Huff hired. Their job should be to get an interim in place and then start a search for a new superintendent. Nothing permanent should be done until there is a permanent elected board in place. I do want to say I am an independent observer. I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I grew up in this town and the continuing muckraking and criticizing is making Joplin a laughingstock.

Anonymous said...


Apparently, two judges in this area don't agree with your version of "the facts." And, please note that your comment should read, "If Jim Kimbrough wanted to be on the Board, he should have RUN and can in April."

If you're going to talk down to people without facts, please at least appear to have some intellectual ability. There is no agenda other than trying to get the Joplin School District back on the right track. What has made your town a laughingstock is the Huff regime, the JPC, CART, and the antics of Sharp, Steele, Banwart, and Landis. Point your disdain in the correct direction. If you live in this town, you have a dog in the fight, assuming you pay taxes and that you benefit from any services provided by those taxes. The children of this district will be the providers of services soon, so one would assume you would want them educated. That, 6:04, is why our three elected officials are fighting so hard to get Mr. Kimbrough on the Board of Education of Joplin Public Schools.

Anonymous said...

So, is this how the electrical wiring at JHS was suddenly acceptable? Did Gatz put a little pressure on the inspector to accept the shoddy wiring? It's just a point to consider, anyway. Empire has to have made a lot of money off these new schools that demand more electrical use than those they replaced. It sure helps keep those cushy salaries possible for those at the top.

Dusty Roads said...

Really Anson, 10 bucks is all you had to pay for those important folks to listen to your mindless drivel, you got off cheap man. I am surprised they do not have a give and 100 bucks or go home policy.

Anonymous said...

Too much to hide and still too many lies being told. Thank God for Jeff, Jennifer and Debbie fighting these gutless cowards. Get Jim in there and you'll see some real changes for the GOOD of the district. TYJS

In awe. said...

He is like that kid brother that the big kids let tag along. He makes up for his lack of ability to contribute by being an over zealous champion of the group. Yes it is sad. Yes it is pathetic. But you just gotta love the little scamp.

The saddest part is when they discard little Annie when they no longer have use for him. And he wanted so bad to be a full fledged member of the Rich Only Club.

Anonymous said...

So what's your point besides stirring the pot again turner. Your articles are mostly full of crap and twisted to raise the emotions of your readers who then make senseless comments.

Anonymous said...

Comical how everyone has all the answers and if you disagree you must somehow be intellectually inferior. Unreal. 6:14: you are a part of the problem. Your response needs further proofreading and/or peer editing. So, before you begin attacking others, please research how to use commas in a sentence properly. While you are at it, review your sentence structure. You might look into how the judicial system works while you are at it. Move along now. Good day.

Anonymous said...

If you think this is comical, then you have a warped sense of humor!! This is sad...three solid, not connected, fairly elected Board members are struggling through this morass of b.s. to take care of the School District's business, and all they get is political, cronyism crap put in their way. Tell me...what do any of these three people have to gain for themselves in this situation? What do the Commissioners, Banwart, Landis, Huff, Steele, and their buddies have to gain???? The answers are quite clear to intelligent person looking at this from a logical standpoint. Watch the special meeting tonight...the power grab is on!!!

Anonymous said...

Anyone who wants to put a stop to this nonsense, attend the Board of Education meeting tonight...let your voice be heard and let them know that you want to take the direction of the school district back from the small group of people who want to use it for their own good and not for the good of the children. The time has come to say "enough" - tell these power mongers that you will not let your taxpaying money line their pockets - Banwart needs to be stopped, it's time the legal system set her and her buddies straight, the people have had Koch, Fort and Martucci, they really do have your children's best interests at heart and are in this fight for the right reasons...crucifying them is not the answer, they didn't start this mess, it started the day CJ Huff was hired...

Anonymous said...

11:12 well put. They didn't create it. Just VOTED IN TO STOP IT.

Anonymous said...

Oh but those 3 did start this mess you thouhts and comments are truly emotional and based on turners twisted articles. If you think for one min that them pushing so hard to get Jim k on the board doesn't scream "agenda" you are blind. You now have 3 new people on the board that wont put up with all this crap. Every keep saying "heavy hitters" guess what hope you're ready to play ball!!

Really? said...


Please have someone translate for you. We are all intensely interested in what you have to say.

Anonymous said...

I hope you are not a product of the Joplin School System. Because your English teacher really let you down.