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  • Last modified 25 days ago (Sept. 27, 2017)

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Council overrules mayoral picks for board

Staff writer

City council members Monday night expressed consternation over a letter from Mayor Larry Larsen appointing Marion County Community Economic Development Corporation board members without a vote by city council.

Larsen, a paramedic, did not attend the meeting because he was summoned to transport a patient from Emporia to Topeka.

Larsen said Monday morning he was acting upon a letter from MCCEDC interim president Russell Groves, hand-delivered two days after the council’s Sept. 11 meeting, when he wrote his Sept. 14 letter to Groves.

Groves’ letter said Peabody must nominate two board members by Sept. 15.

In Larsen’s letter to Groves, he wrote that he and the city council “unanimously appoint Chris Hernandez and Bob Knapp” to serve on the permanent board.

Council members were taken aback by Larsen’s wording that the appointments were “unanimous.”

Council president Steve Rose pointed out there had been no vote. Other council members agreed.

“So do we scrap the letter and go with who we want?” councilman Tom Spencer asked.

County commission chairman Randy Dallke, having gotten a call from Groves early Monday to tell him Hernandez had been picked by Peabody, attended the meeting because Hernandez was Dallke’s first pick for the county, although he’d nominated his second pick during county commission meeting that morning because of Groves’ call.

Dallke said a comment from Marion about wanting city administrator Roger Holter on the corporation’s permanent board “started a round of behind-the-scenes stuff.” The corporation board changed its bylaws so Holter could stay on the board, then their lawyer “made it go back the way it was supposed to be.”

Hernandez and Knapp weren’t council members’ choice. After much discussion of who council members thought would do a good job, they chose Morgan Marler, who has a background with Peabody Main Street, and Hannah Bourbon, a loan officer for Vintage Bank whose parents operate a local bed and breakfast.

Council members also discussed a $7,000 invoice from corporation treasurer Jared Jost for 2017 dues.

The council during its Aug. 28 meeting decided not to pay its $7,000 dues until they had an explanation why corporation bylaws had been amended to allow government employees and elected officials on the board.

Councilman Rick Reynolds said he opposed sending money under current circumstances of changing corporation bylaws.

“Until there’s a written, set-in-stone contract, I’m not ready to send money,” Reynolds said.

In other matters, council members:

  • Heard from librarian Rodger Charles about bringing high-speed internet to the community. Charles proposed one meeting with council members followed by two town hall meetings to discuss moving the community forward into current technology.
  • Heard ideas from NM Patton about raising money to replace playground equipment at the city park. One idea Patton suggested is allowing community members to add a small donation to the amount they pay for water service.
  • Discussed what appears to be a business operating out of a basement at 611 N. Olive and directed police chief Bruce Burke to determine what was going on.
  • Decided to notify the state that Peabody would cancel participation in the state Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance policy and check into other healthcare insurance.

Last modified Sept. 27, 2017

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