Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Mike Landis, seven years after arranging golden parachute for C. J. Huff, files for Joplin R-8 Board

Mike Landis, who resigned from the Joplin R-8 Board of Education seven years ago is attempting a comeback.

Landis has filed for a three-year seat on the Board, offering his reasons in a post on his campaign Facebook page:

After stepping away from his previous elected role in Joplin Schools, Mike has remained an active participant in aiding the Joplin School District. He has led fundraising efforts to benefit the Joplin Football program, Girls Basketball program, capital improvements to district facilities, and the Bright Futures program.

Mike has one motivation for running for a term on the school board. His goal as a board member will be to educate every single child to their fullest ability every single day.
Nowhere on his page does Landis mention the circumstances of his 2015 departure from the board, which was covered in the Turner Report and reviewed when Landis announced his unsuccessful bid for Jasper County presiding commissioner in 2018.

Landis resigned from the Joplin R-8 Board of Education in May 2015 with almost a year left on his term, when things were not going his way, but not before arranging a golden parachute package for former Superintendent C. J. Huff and providing a poison pill to remaining board members by coordinating his resignation with Randy Steele's and the position left vacant by the election of former Joplin Police Chief Lane Roberts to force the use of an arcane law that allowed the County Commission to appoint three board members.

A Turner Report investigation revealed that Landis and Huff worked with Bartosh, Commissioner Darieus Adams and Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney (now judge) Dean Dankelson to coordinate the maneuver.

Documents obtained through a Sunshine Law request to the Commission show that on May 27, one day after Randy Steele resigned, Superintendent C. J. Huff, obviously aware that Landis was planning on resigning as well, called the Missouri School Boards Association (MSBA) to find out what was necessary to get the Jasper County Commission to appoint replacement board members.

Susan Goldammer, senior director, employment and labor relations for the MSBA, e-mailed the information to Huff, "Any vacancy occurring in the board shall be filled by the remaining members of the board, except that if there are more than two vacancies at any one time, the county commission, upon receiving written notice of the vacancies shall fill the vacancies by appointment."

Goldammer was unaware that anything was in the works.

"As you can see, it takes three or more vacancies for the county commission to get involved. That has only happened once since I have been at MSBA. The Board will need to fill these two," she said, referring to Randy Steele and Lane Roberts.

Huff forwarded Goldammer's e-mail to Landis at 12:36 p.m. May 27. At 9:38 p.m., Landis forwarded the e-mail to Commissioner Darieus Adams.

Jasper County Prosecuting Attorney Dean Dankelson's recommendation that the Jasper County Commission appoint three replacements to the Joplin R-8 Board of Education appears to have been an unnecessary dog and pony show put on for the public's benefit.

Documents the Turner Report received following a Sunshine Law request, indicate board member Mike Landis was working with Dankelson and Commissioners Darieus Adams and John Bartosh.

In a June 3 e-mail from Landis to Bartosh and Dankelson, the former board member writes, "We voted in April to accept Lane Roberts' resignation from the Joplin BOE. Thanks, Michael D. Landis." 

From that e-mail, it appears that Landis had sent Dankelson word that he, Randy Steele, and Roberts had resigned and that he wanted the County Commission to appoint replacements and that the prosecuting attorney had questions about Roberts' resignation.

Dankleson responded the following day in a message that is headed "Subject: Document May 28, 2015," and was sent to Bartosh, as well as Landis:

"Would you be able to provide an affidavit to the commission confirming your intent to resign from the Joplin School Board effective May 28 and that you have no intent to withdraw that resignation? I am assuming from this e-mail you have no intent to withdraw it."

Since the Sunshine Law request pertained only to documents received or sent by the three county commissioners, it did not include Landis' original e-mail to Dankelson.

That same day, the Commission received petitions containing 65 signatures asking it to appoint new board members, with the signers including Landis, board member Lynda Banwart, and numerous contributors to the Joplin Progress Committee.

Before his departure from the board, when it became apparent that Huff was not going to remain as superintendent, Landis, Steele and fellow board member Anne Sharp, who was soundly defeated in her bid for re-election, padded Huff's contract adding an extra year even though it was apparent by that time that he would not be around until the end of that contract.

By a 3-2 vote with Landis, Steele and current Board President Jeff Koch voting in favor and Debbie Fort and Jennifer Martucci voting no, the board approved Huff's "retirement" providing him with a package that included $262,000 in pay, a $50,000 consulting contract (to help with the lawsuits Huff had helped cause for the district), and a glowing letter of recommendation, which praised Huff's "heroism' after the May 22, 2011 Joplin Tornado and referred to Joplin as an "unengaged, apathetic community" before Huff arrived and changed that.

(Note: I imagine most Turner Report readers are aware that Landis was one of the seven R-8 Board members who fired me in June 2013, but since more than nine years have passed and because it should be mentioned in every post I make about Mike Landis, I am mentioning it.)


Anonymous said...

Mr. Landis is an evil villain who screwed the people of Joplin and he is not an honorable man. His business, his role on the school board, his role at the ball field all are cohesive in his egotistical, he's more special than everyone else! Many of us will fight feverishly to defeat this weak man who comes up short!

Anonymous said...

Still whining about being fired for cause, I see.

Anonymous said...

Why cannot the Citizens of Joplin - WAKEUP and see the Writing on the Wall - - Are you Guys just Plain Stupid or Just Dumb - - Why would you ever let Landis - Run for Anything - - He is a Snake in the Grass - - Waiting to Prey on the Citizens of Joplin again.

WAKEUP - - -

Anonymous said...

Randy is just showing he might be biased. Thanks for owning up to it Randy. Just good journalism in my opinion

Anonymous said...

Nobody wears a weasel suit as well as Mike… 😂

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for the location of the Columbus (un)safe room in spite of research showing it was the worst location due to former mines on the property? No one paid for that selfishness and self righteousness - except the students, staff, and patrons of Joplin Schools. Millions down the toilet for a building that couldn’t be safely used.

Did someone’s own company make money on some of that contracting?

Its only other peoples oney said...

Mike Landis on the R-8 Board again?

What could go wrong?

It's not like it ended all that badly last time!

Both he and Huff were gone.....

Anonymous said...

Absolutely no. I remember the mess. No.

Anonymous said...

Mike must be doing something right and must have changed. He is supported on his Facebook by Jim Kimbrough, Debbie Fort, and Lori Musser. I respect and support all of them.

Anonymous said...

We know that Facebook is the most reliable source. LMAO

Anonymous said...

Hey No9w!

This anonyous crowd is rough.

Doesn't Mr Landis need to find a new way to make friends and influence people again?

His job with Billy Long is over, and so this R-8 Board seat probably seems like a natural good fit.

“There are all kinds of opportunities that pop up in life and you need to be outgoing, aggressive and try to get them.”

Anonymous said...

Tell me Riley Hartwell, how are you going to spin this for Mike Landis ??
I bet dollars to doughnuts you are behind this campaign. All your mentors are openly supporting him. We all know you want to get a voting block on the BOE -

Anonymous said...

Just wait until local big time politician Congressman Billy Long throws his weight behind Landis for R-8!

Anonymous said...

I think you are confused with the Christ Community United Methodist Church voting block made by Jeff Koch …. Jeff Koch, Deb Gould, Derek Gander, Brent Jordan, Pastor Chris Sloan. Hell the whole church has served on the board at some point in the last 5 years.

Anonymous said...

who voted on the golden parachute?

Anonymous said...

Maybe Paul Barr can come back also. He could authorize and cover up all your wasteful spending.

Anonymous said...

@9:22. Bless your heart. Deflect much ?

Anonymous said...

But, he did great things. We are looking at 3 candidates that want to ban books or decide to nit teach history. MIKE IS NOT ONE OF THOSE PPL.