board appointees have attendance issues
Clark, Bart Bradley have missed majority of
meetings in past year
For most employees of any well-run corporation
or organization, missing eight out of 13 important meetings
would likely lead to dismissal.
One may think attendance would count even
more when it comes to those holding a publicly appointed
position a citys park and recreation board
that has the authority to direct spending decisions
involving taxpayers money, for instance.
In Platte City, however, two parks board
members with poor attendance records earned reappointments
by the mayor. Marsha Clark and Barton Bradley were reappointed
by Mayor Dave Brooks last week. At the same time, the
mayor appointed two new board members, Steve Sampsell
and John Kurtz.
Thrust into the media limelight after
Brooks angrily lashed out at The Landmark for reporting
on a letter to the parks board soliciting volunteer
labor, both Clark and Barton have taken public stances
on the way the board is being represented by their president,
and how the story of the incident has been reported.
The mayor's letter, sent in late April
,was ignored by the park board, but both Clark and Barton
maintain that they wanted to respond to it, an allegation
the board president, Dick Stephens, has repeatedly denied.
In two tersely worded letters written
to an area shopper publication, Barton and Clark characterized
The Landmark story as "insignificant" and
questioned why Stephens' version of the story was given
merit. Barton even asked readers to contact the board
at their 400 Main Street location, in the event that
they had any questions regarding the board and its actions.
This week, The Landmark took him up on
the offer, using Missouris Sunshine Law in an
attempt to acquire the boards minutes from the
past year. After learning that the records were not
readily available, City Clerk Tanya Bates and Park Director
Dannie Stamper were able to retrieve and supply the
records roughly 72 business hours after The Landmark's
A quick perusal of the attendance portion
of the records revealed that the most active letter
writers of the board were also the least likely to attend
meetings: from the June 2, 2003 meeting through the
April 5 meeting of this year, Clark has missed seven
of the 13 meetings and Bradley has missed eight of the
Clark, an appointed public official who
claims she hasn't read a local newspaper in more than
two decades, took issue with Landmark Publisher Ivan
Foleys suggestion that Clark should make motions
at meetings for record keeping purposes and to guarantee
action (motions, just like attendance, are included
in minutes from public meetings). She then challenged
that "if Dick Stephens was allowed to make comments,
then Foley should have made sure the parks board had
made a motion for Dick Stephens to speak on the entire
However, the bylaws of the park board
specifically state that it is the presidents duty
to represent the board at public affairs. In addition,
the president of the board is routinely the person of
contact for media inquiries about board action.
Clark did not return phone calls for this
When asked why he missed the majority
of park board meetings over the past year, Bradley replied,
"I got sick." When asked about his reappointment
and a possible run at board president, Barton said only
that he hadnt made up his mind, adding that he
and the mayor "have talked several times about
When questioned if the mayor had specifically
asked him to run for the board presidency, Barton replied
with "no comment.
Although the mayor (with the consent of
the board of aldermen), has the power to remove any
members of the park board for neglect of duty, his reappointment
of the two often-absent board members at last weeks
meeting of the Platte City board of aldermen dispelled
any such notion.
The appointments did, however, raise eyebrows
when Brooks slid the appointments through the no-debate,
consent agenda portion of the meeting. Alderman Ron
Porter objected to the move, which Brooks later explained
was necessary due to the boards June election.
Brooks said it was important to get his appointees on
the board as soon as possible so that they may vote
in the election of officers next week.
Brooks could not be reached for comment.
All nine positions on the park board are
now filled for the first time in recent history. The
full roster and when their terms expire:
President: Dick Stephens, 2005; Vice-President/Secretary:
Bart Bradley, 2007; Members: Steve Sampsell, 2007; John
Minyard, 2007; Tom Wooddell, 2005; Chris Wallen, 2007;
John Kurtz, 2007; Marsha Clark, 2006; Susan Wallen 2006.