disagree over who filed first for local mayor
A Platte City mayoral candidate is questioning the definition
of one simple word in a city ordinance.
According to Melody Doescher, absent and unavailable,
as referred to in city Ordinance No. 1272, do not signify
the same meaning.
Doescher has been in communication with city officials
since filing for mayor about the terminology they have
chosen to use in their declaration of candidacy policy.
At the center of the dispute is ballot order of candidates.
Ballot order in city elections is determined by which
candidate's filing candidate was completed and accepted
by city staff first.
Incumbent Mayor Dave Brooks will be at the top of the
ballot. Doescher will be listed second.
According to Doescher, city hall may not accurately be
representing Ordinance No. 1272, which appoints City Collector
Amy Hubbard as Deputy City Clerk in the case of City Clerk
Tanya Bates absence.
Ordinance No. 1272, Section 2 states, Whereas,
from time to time the City Clerk, who also serves as Election
Official under Section 110.070, may be unavailable, the
Deputy City Clerk is authorized, in the absence of the
City Clerk, to perform the duties of City Election Officials
including but not limited to accepting declaration of
candidacy for City office.
The ordinance was passed on Nov. 12, 2002.
According to Doescher, when she filed her declaration
of candidacy with the city, Hubbard was the one to take
her declaration while Bates was in the office.
Doescher states that Bates was not busy at the time she
was completing her paperwork for candidacy, nor was she
with anyone when Doescher entered city hall.
We have ordinances for a reason and let's follow
those ordinances, said Doescher. I dont
think they should interpret the ordinances the way they
want to interpret them, but follow the ordinances the
way they are stated.
Tanya is the city clerk and she should have been
the one to accept the declaration of candidacy. I dont
have a problem with Amy accepting declarations if Tanya
is absent,' however if she is not, I would expect
her to follow the citys ordinance.
However, according to City Administrator Keith Moody,
after discussions with both Bates and Hubbard, he has
determined there was no inappropriate action taken.
My understanding is Dave Brooks filed prior to
Melody Doescher and thats been confirmed by both
Amy and Tanya. The time and date at which both applicants
placed their application was placed on the application,
so they each saw the date and time, said Moody.
Moody does not deny that Bates was in the office when
Doescher was there to file her candidacy, however he indicates
she was busy processing Brooks' declaration.
Amy is also named as a deputy so she can also receive
declarations of candidacy. For the sake of customer service,
allowing Melody to go ahead and file as soon as possible
instead of waiting for her to complete Daves filing,
Amy went ahead and handled it, stated Moody.
According to our city attorney thats appropriate
and per our board of alderman, they dont feel any
clarification of establishing Amy as deputy is necessary.
Hubbard said, We followed all city ordinances and
applicable election rules in accepting declarations of
candidacy and we have confirmed that with legal counsel.
City Attorney Keith Hicklin sent a letter to Doescher
stating that the two words, absent and unavailable, do
mean the same in the context of City Ordinance, No. 1272,
Section 1 states, Amy Hubbard, City Collector for
the City of Platte City, is hereby appointed to serve
as Deputy City Clerk under Section 110.070 of the City
I have now received a copy of a letter from the
city attorney stating that the word absent doesnt
really mean absent, it also means unavailable. I have
looked for these words in three different dictionaries
and not one of them show the word absent means unavailable,
I think I would like to see the city attorney put
out an explanation on all the other ordinances and laws
in this city that might have hidden meanings or represent
something the common person would never think.
Doescher said she just wants to see city hall take responsibility
for their actions and respect their own ordinances.
They need to follow ordinances at city hall. I
want them to do their jobs and do them correctly,
My whole reason for running for mayor is for the
citizens of this town. We want a city hall thats
a fair city hall and that follows their policies and regulations.