Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dispute in election of president, vice president highlights first meeting of new Joplin R-8 Board

In their final advice to their successors, outgoing Joplin R-8 Board of Education members Debbie Fort and Lynda Banwart lightheartedly recommended that the newcomers bring jackets or sweaters to deal with the air conditioning.

It wasn't the air conditioning that was providing the chill, however, as the new school board began its activities.

The division became apparent with the board's first vote.

When Superintendent Melinda Moss asked for nominations for president, Lori Musser quickly nominated Jennifer Martucci. "She has served wonderfully as vice president for the past couple of years and I believe it is her time to step up," she turned to Martucci, "if you like and if you are so willing."

In his first action as a board member, Derek Gander nominated Jeff Koch, who has served as president for the past two years. "He's done a great job."

Martucci voted for herself, then new board member Brent Jordan paused for a long, uncomfortable moment before saying, "No.

Musser voted for Martucci, then another new board member, Deborah Gould shook her head, not offering a verbal response. She was told she needed to say her vote for the record and she voted "no.'

Gander provided the third vote against Martucci.

"Yes," Sharrock Dermott said, evening the vote.

Koch cast the fourth vote against Martucci.

Koch and the three newcomers, Jordan, Gould, and Gander, voted for Koch, with Musser and Martucci voting against him and Dermott abstaining, putting Koch in charge of the board for a third consecutive year.

The division continued with the vote for vice president.

Martucci nominated Musser. "She served on the board last year. She knows how the board works and I think she would make a terrific leader of this group."

Koch nominated Gould.

As the discussion began, Martucci explained why she thought Musser's experience, both on the board and with her years as a district administrator made her the right person for the leadership role.

Koch said it was important to have new leadership on the board. "Besides this year, she (Gould) has two more years to serve. If we nominate someone who has more time (Musser is serving the second year of a two-year unexpired term) she'll also have an opportunity to serve later. Jennifer, you already have a year's experience understanding the inner workings."

"I've been on the board two years," Martucci said.

"As an officer, that side of it."

"I've been on the board as long as you have."

"Right, so you have that, I have that. We nominate someone who has more time who will have an opportunity to serve later on, it will be two years worth of service."

Martucci responded, "You're serving the last year of your term and you want to be president for a third year, so I can't see this being a thing."

"I don't know if this is a debate," Koch said.

"I'm just throwing it out there."

"I'm trying to share comments. You had an opportunity to share comments."

Koch explained why had he had nominated Gould rather than Jordan or Gander., noting that Jordan had 20 years of experience in school districts. Turning to Gander, he said, "Mr. Gander, there are other places you might be able to serve to start.

"I need to make sure we have a great team in place."

Koch asked Dermott if he had an interest in serving as vice president.

"No, I do not," Dermott immediately responded.

The vote was 4-3 against Musser with Martucci, Musser, and Dermott voting for her, while Koch, Gander, Gould, and Jordan voted no.

The same four voted for Gould, with Martucci and Musser voting against and Dermott abstaining.


While the new board era opened with a dispute, after a brief break following the officer election, the board returned to business as usual, conducting a meeting that lasted less than 45 minutes. (More information about the rest of the meeting will be posted later today.)

The evening began with a seven-minute session of the old board with the former interim superintendent Norm Ridder, who is working with Moss until the end of June, presenting plaques to outgoing board members Debbie Fort, Lynda Banwart, and Chris Sloan.

Fort and Banwart offered advice to their replacements.

"Always vote your conscience," Fort said.

Banwart said, "You were elected as an individual, vote as an individual."

As the session came to a close, Banwart quickly left as an individual, while Fort and Sloan remained for the new board's first meeting.

(Photo: Deborah Gould, Brent Jordan, and Derek Gander are sworn in as Joplin R-8 Board of Education members.)


Anonymous said...

Gould,Gander and Koch are all good buddies that also go to church together. Nothing will be fair with this board as they will all vote together as a group. Nothing with this school district will ever change.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Koch, the new Annie Sharp/Mike Landis/Randy Steele! He is totally obsessed with power. Why else would he want to serve as Board President for three years? Jeff Koch clearly participated in a well orchestrated April election -- to benefit only himself and his quest for total control. In fact, he worked so diligently to secure this power that he recruited four members from his church (Christ Community United Methodist) to run for the Board with the help of Pastor Chris Sloan. (I might add the least talented pool of candidates in recent history. So much so Dr. Ridder asked other members of the community to run against these controlled bumps on a log).

He clearly worked to put into place an apparatus that would serve himself and his special interests. That is why his first order of business with the newly elected Board was to put an unknowing easily controlled church friend (Deborah Gould) in the place of veteran Board of Education members Musser, Martucci, or Dermott. Plus, to re-elect himself. He needed someone to do his bidding, be clothed in secrecy, shut out those who ask hard questions, and to fall back into lock-step in MSBA (as his predecessors have). He got it! Congrats, Jeff, if you are reading this. Hopefully you will be out on the unemployment line next April, because it is unhealthy for an organization to be the ruler for three consecutive years. You may have the power for a year, but then you will be gone. A real candidate will run against you, but you wouldn't know what that entails (unlike the hated Annie Sharp, and Lane Roberts who was not running at all. Sorry, your election was not a mandate like Fort or Martucci's. It was a joke! You ran against a gentleman who was seeking the office, and a hated incumbent. The prior year, you got your butt kicked by Fort, Steele, and Banwart. ha!)

The NEA, stakeholders, and community are watching. Buckle up new members, it will be one long year for you all. I hope it feels good doing the bidding of the United Methodist Church, and your leader Jeff Koch!

Anonymous said...

This vote shows that Gould, Gander and Jordan are nothing more than puppets, and Koch, the self appointed puppet master, is pulling their strings. They all voted exactly how Koch told them to vote so he could stay in power and have a vice president who will be nothing more than a "yes man/woman" to him. Koch said it is important to have new leadership on the board, yet he was not willing to step down as president? What a hypocrite. What kind of leader is that? We now have the same president for a third consecutive year being enabled by a first year vice president who is inexperienced, knows nothing, and will yield to Koch's every whim because he orchestrated her election with their other church buddies. To my memory, we have never had a board President for two consecutive years, let alone three. Maybe Koch is trying to make up for the fact he was rejected by the public in his first bid for school board, and then rejected a second time by the school board itself when he applied to fill a vacancy. Koch was only elected a third time when there were two seats open with three candidates running -- one of whom was the phantom Roberts (who all but removed himself from the election after being appointed to a State position), and Anne Sharp who could have been beaten by anyone because of the public outcry for new board blood. Keep this in mind Koch-- you are running for reelection next year while you are board president. The last two board presidents who ran for re-election were soundly defeated. You may just meet the same fate, unless you can get more of your church cronies to protect you, as you have now done on the board itself.

Concerned citizen said...

It's not the church connection it's Koch's inflated ego..he obviously maneuvered for continuing as president...he acts more as a member than Board leader..hope he does NOT run again...

Anonymous said...

It looks like the NEA is in good shape! We endorsed six of the seven current board members. Now play nice :)!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this is great! All of you out there who praised Koch for his leadership and getting rid of Huff are now turning on him. I absolutely love it. This is what you bunch of clowns deserve. Nothing will ever be good enough for you and you will always need something to bitch about. This is wnyertaining....and what's more I called it! Let the fun begin!

Anonymous said...

All hail.. King Koch!!

Anonymous said...

Does this mean Koch can now usher in school prayer, or does a little thing called the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution prevent that still?

Anonymous said...

I like Jeff Koch a lot but I can't stand Gould. Her answers at the forum were terrible and she lacks basic knowledge of what the hell is going on in this community. Martucci would not be a good choice for President and shouldn't have been voted in anyway. Do her kids even go to school in the Joplin district? Last I heard they went to private school.

Anonymous said...

What exactly has Koch done in the past two years that you are all so upset about that you wouldn't trust him to lead for one more year? Who even knows if he will run again at the end of his term? Comparisons to Sharp, Steele, Landis or any of the others seems a little premature, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

7:22 AM - sounds more like you have a personal beef with Koch than a professional one.

Anonymous said...

Gould, Gander and Jordan to Koch: "What is thy bidding my Master?"

Anonymous said...

That goofy broad martucci shouldn't ever be elected a president of anything let alone the Board of Education. And what is that safe for her when she seemed to want to be president for some reason but then when she had the opportunity head vice president she seem to want to nominate someone else and wanted no part of it? I have to really question her character in the first place and her ability to work with others.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. Watch around the 6:06 mark, when the vote for President is taking place. Jordan seems to be struggling with what to do, he looks at Koch. Watch Koch. You will see him shaking his head no and then Jordan votes no. Dr. Moss even notices and looks at him! Things that make you go HMMMMMM.

Anonymous said...

To 11:03 AM

"Goofy broad"? Obviously you are not married - never will be-- and do not have a girlfriend -- never will have.

Anonymous said...

Here are a few reasons Jeff Koch has not only done a terrible job as President, but that he is underhanded as well. He is a shadow leader, not the upstanding guy he portrays to the community and the "church".

1. Jeff Koch was a vote to pay CJ Huff the exorbitant amount of cash he wanted in his settlement. Martucci and Fort were the only two Board member to vote against.
2. Jeff Koch tried to appoint Jim Kimbrough by intimidating Pat Waldo by ordering her to administer the oath of office to him.
3. Jeff Koch has publicly supported raising the tax levy, without the vote of a people - as the Bond allows the Board to do but he campaigned on not doing.
4. Jeff Koch loves to hear himself talk in Board meetings, and is the "Father" of three hour Board meetings. He is obsessed with hearing his own voice.
5. Jeff Koch supported Betsy DeVos (Sec. of Ed) and has expressed public support of voucher systems in Missouri. He is not a defender of teachers or public education. He took the NEA endorsement he received and stomped on it, and stomped on it, and stomped on it.......
6. Jeff Koch has spoke negatively about the past of newly elected Board members. He has called one "as bad as the teacher at North Middle School (who was arrested for having sex with her students). He used him last night as a vote for himself, knowing very well that he does not support him. He only used him for his power-trip that he is obsessed with.

Do I need to go further? The guy is not who most normal people would want as the leader. Look at the comments, the anger from the teachers. It will only get worse. Folks, you have been duped! Facism came to the Board with a Bible in one hand, flag in another, and his whole church behind him.

Anonymous said...

Watch the video at 6:06. Jordan is obviously struggling with how to vote and he looks at Koch. Koch shakes his head "no" and then Jordan says "no". The new Supe even notices and looks at Koch. What a piece of work - real ethical!!

Vern Bosley said...

Vern Bosley writes.....Detractors may say what they will regarding the "church's" influence on the board. However, I believe a community and a school system such as Joplins' should have school administrators and board members that have an affiliation with a church. Be they Baptist, Catholic, Episcopalian, Pentecostal, Methodist, or any other God fearing group is a plus in my view.
I believe that the local, state and federal governments have tolerated the erosion of Christian values which has contributed to the decline of our schools.
As a parent and grandparent I am pleased with a school board that has a strong moral and ethical compass.
I am confident the board members have the integrity and the maturity to set differences aside and perform the duties they were elected to perform.
I too am a member of the church in previous posts. We are all members of the church; the world church of believers are we not?
CCUMC is fortunate to have men and women that are willing to give of their time and talent for the benefit of the children of our community.

Anonymous said...

Married, educated, family, successful.....unlike yourself. Move along troll. ;)

Anonymous said...

I am telling you this is great entertainment! Fist the Huffie haters don't like the old board, namely Landis, Steele and Sharp, even Kimbrough. Then, Koch gets on and is attacked by the Huff supporters. Then negotiates the buyout of Huffs contract and is supported by the anti-huffies that say "well we had no choice, it was either that or another year of CJ". Now those who cheered and supported are turning on him after he slayed the Huff dragon and got rid of him. You can see the tide turning as now the heathens surface to create a laundry list of items they are displeased with. You couldn't make this up!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What in the hell is Martucci's deal with that nasty attitude? Why attack Koch as he was trying to talk? They have problems now? Her smirking, laughing and shaking her head in the background was an embarrassment to this meeting. She needs to go!

Anonymous said...

And all you Kochsuckers who thought he was sooo wonderful. He is nothing but an ego-driven, incompetent, unfriendly, anti-social little man who MOST of you Turnerites voted for! Then you ran to the polls to vote for his religious zealot goon squad. You can also thank the impotent and vile leadership of the JNEA for their "wonderful" recommendation. Like I always say when they endorse someone, "Now I know who NOT to vote for"! You all replaced idiots for morons, ENJOY IT! This district will be run by the state within 3-5 years.

Anonymous said...

Anyone thinking of moving to this community, would really be impressed by the maturity of our Board of Education. What role models for our students.

Unknown said...

I am not in the Joplin School District; however I serve with Mrs. Martucci in the Parks & Rec Board; and she is a wonderful, contributing member, and would have been a tremendous President of the Joplin School District Board,
Anyone who says otherwise, doesn't know what they're talking about!

Harvey Hutchinson 303-522-6622 voice&text

Anonymous said...

To whoever asked if Martucci's kids went to Joplin Schools: two of them are graduates of the Joplin School District. This is a wonderful family and Martucci knows Joplin, having seen two great kids go through it. She understands the workings very well. Do I think she should have been president? Personally, no, she's very good as a second in command.

(Personally, I've never seen Koch as a presidential type, but has proven me wrong two years in a row for the most part)

As a graduate myself of Joplin and son of an employee of the district, this kind of infighting reminds me of the ending days of Huff when Fort got in and fought for change. This doesn't feel the same, this is infighting for gains, to what will the fighting gain? Only time will tell. I hope this board does great things, Joplin Schools deserves the best and needs to best to run it.

Anonymous said...

The crazy part of this whole thing is the fact that 2-3 years ago, the public rushed to support Jennifer Martucci after she AND Deb Fort from vicious public attacks by CJ Huff. He did this both during board meetings as well as on Facebook.
Now Jennifer Martucci let her emotions get the better of her and she speaks rudely to Deborah Gould and Jeff Koch during the board meeting.

I like you Martucci. I voted for you. But you acted the same way Huff and Landis did to you. Remember how that felt? It was awful for everyone then and it was awful on Tuesday.

I'm very disappointed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:39 -

That simply did not happen. Stop stirring the pot.

Anonymous said...

Take another look - it most certainly did.

Anonymous said...

6:24- looked several you're a moron, that's a total fabrication. Put down the crack pipe.

Anonymous said...

Hypocrites...every one of you! If the board votes 7-0, its a yes sir board. If the board is divided, it's a board in disarray.

Anonymous said...

Incredibly disappointed in Mrs. Martucci. That's embarrassing behavior for a school board member. She should know better, she should have learned this from the previous board and how unprofessional they were. Try to remember back at how that looked and do not become a part of the problem. Regardless of what I or others might think about Mr. Koch, she stood out as very unprofessional and was an embarrassment during this meeting.