by Ivan Foley
Bill Knighton last week resigned his position as alderman for Ward 1 in Platte City.
Mayor Dave Brooks attempted to move quickly to fill the seat at a special meeting held Tuesday night. Brooks nominated Marsha Clark for the position, but aldermen voted to table the matter, with some expressing a desire to meet Clark before voting to approve or disapprove the nomination. Any appointment by the mayor must meet with the approval of a majority of aldermen before becoming official.
Clark was not present at Tuesday night's special meting. She is expected to be in attendance next Tuesday, May 22 when her nomination is scheduled to be discussed again.
As first reported last Wednesday evening on The Landmark's web site at www.plattecountylandmark.com, Knighton submitted his resignation last Wednesday.
In a letter addressed to "City of Platte City," Knighton wrote:
"As of May 9, 2007 at 8 a.m. this is notice of my resignation as alderman of Ward 1.
"Due to Jody (his wife) and I wanting to sell our house and relocate outside of the city limits of Platte City. This period of notice will allow a replacement to be appointed to complete my term.
"Best regards to the city staff and employees in the future as it has been an honor to serve both you and our citizens.”
Knighton's term will expire in 2008. His early exit sets up a potentially interesting clash. The aldermen and mayor have been at odds over some of the mayor's most recent attempted appointees to various boards and committees, with the aldermen rejecting several of the mayor's possibilities.
Knighton was first elected without opposition in 2002. In 2004 he was reelected over Tom Marquis. In 2006 he was elected unopposed for a third term.
Knighton was the last remaining board member who was a political ally of Brooks. Three others--Lee Roy Van Lew, George McClintock and Jim Palmer--were handily defeated in the April election.
Newly-elected board members Ron Stone, Andy Stanton and Todd Sloan have generally sided with second-year board members Aaron Jung and Kenneth Brown on many issues since being elected.
At Tuesday night's special meeting, Brooks nominated Clark by saying she is "deserving of strong consideration." Clark has lived on Main Street in Platte City since 1976 and runs a company that delivers luggage for the airlines.
Clark has served on the park board for five years. In 2004, she sided with Brooks when the mayor moved to have Dick Stephens voted out as park board president.
Her attendance at park board meetings has been spotty. In a special report done by The Landmark at the time of the 2004 controversy, the newspaper determined by reviewing minutes of park board meetings that at that time Clark had missed more than 50% of meetings in the preceding year.
Strangely, Brooks brought up gender in making his nomination. The mayor said he hoped aldermen wouldn't oppose Clark "because she's a woman. I'm sure that there's none of that from this board.”
Stone said he views Clark as "a very nice lady, very knowledgeable." Stanton said Clark rents business space from him and he thinks she's "a good candidate." But Stanton added he was hoping other aldermen would have a chance to meet Clark before voting on the appointment.
The mayor preferred not to wait.
"I'm asking you to approve her and get on with it," Brooks said.
Sloan said: "I personally have never met her and would have difficulty voting either way. I would have to abstain if we vote on it tonight.”
After brief discussion, the decision was made to table the matter until next Tuesday's regular meeting.