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New alderman sworn in, another resigns

By Dennis Minich

A vacant seat on the Harrisonville Board of Aldermen was filled Monday night, but another seat remains open as Ward 3 Alderman Clint Miller resigned, effective Jan. 1.

Sandy Franklin was nominated by Mayor Judy Bowman for a Ward 3 seat vacated last month when David Dickerson resigned his seat.

Franklin has been active in a variety of roles, including two years on the board of the Love the Square organization and more than a year on the Harrisonville Park Board. She ran against Dickerson for the Ward 3 seat last year, but lost by 10 votes.

“I am very happy to have someone who has a proven commitment to the city of Harrisonville,” Bowman said. “By her involvement, she has demonstrated a love for the city and she is very engaged with the citizens.”

After being sworn in during the regular meeting Monday night, Franklin said, “I want to thank everyone for this vote of confidence. I am excited to be here.”

Dickerson resigned from his seat last month. He had been the subject of an investigation by a disciplinary committee for a series of alleged violations of codes of conduct. The board had voted to hold a disciplinary hearing, but Dickerson resigned before it was held.

There was no information whether Miller’s resignation had anything to do with actions of the board or if there was some other reason. He submitted his resignation to city staff Dec. 30, but did not speak with either Bowman or City Administrator Brad Ratliff concerning his decision.

Miller did not return a call for commentfrom The South Cass Tribune.

Bowman said she had been unaware Miller was considering resigning.

“I was surprised, but more so, disappointed,” Bowman said. “Brad and I were there and staff asked him if he wanted to talk to us and he said no.”

Miller was the only member of the board who did not vote in favor of holding a disciplinary hearing for Dickerson. He abstained. The pair were seemingly at odds with the current board on several occasions.

Miller and Dickerson were the only members of the board to vote against the removal of Brad Bockelman from his Ward 1 seat in January of last year. Bockelman was removed for violating the board’s attendance policy.

Miller and Dickerson had also objected to the recent board-approved decision regarding increased sewer rates, which were being used to finance a number of sewer related issues; including a new line in the southern part of the city, a state-mandated UV disinfectant system in the city sewer plant, improvements to two lake dams in City Park and a flood retention pond.

Bowman said it was disturbing if the resignation was because of dissenting opinions.

“Elected officials have a responsibility to those who elect them. To resign without reason is disappointing and to allow personal feelings or friendships get in the way of upholding what is legally, morally or ethically right is unsettling,” she said.

She noted Franklin was the only resident to apply for the opening created by Dickerson’s resignation and currently has no applicants, but said she would make a recommendation to the board in the near future.

In other business, the board voted to reenter into a Community Assistance Program with the Missouri Department of Conservation. The contract outlines the management plan for the program, but added to the new program is an agreement for the department to establish a winter trout fishery in Lake Luna.

It was also noted the next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Jan. 19, not Monday, Jan. 18, as was misreported in the “Harrisonville Happenings” newsletter. The city offices will be closed that Monday for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.

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