Duquesne mayor’s job uncertain
Update 9/11: Members of Duquesne’s Board of Aldermen say they are going to contact Missouri’s Attorney General for advice on seeking an independent investigator to look into allegations of misconduct by the Mayor. Mayor White did not attend last night’s Board meeting and says he will not resign as Mayor.
Aldermen in Duquesne, Missouri are meeting tonight to discuss the future of their city’s mayor. All but one of the city’s five aldermen have recently voted for the mayor to submit his resignation by today. That resignation hasn’t come, but the Mayor says he’s done nothing wrong.
In a little city just outside of Joplin is a big issue that confuses some residents.
“From observation, not from anything else, but from observation, it’s very personal. It’s a matter of people’s feelings got involved when they probably shouldn’t of,” says Duquesne resident Andrea Holseth.
Duquesne City Pro Tem Roger Bone admits it may seem personal feelings are getting in between Mayor Denny White and other City Board members.
“Councilwoman Daugherty ran for the mayor’s position two years ago for the election, and they do not communicate hardly at all. They’re not civil,” says Bone.
But Bone also says there are legit reasons for calling for White’s resignation.
Bone says the Mayor told a city worker to tear down a city-owned garage, knowing that the garage had asbestos. Bone says tests showed the garage did indeed have asbestos.
“That’s very serious, because asbestos is a known carcinogen, cancer-causing agent,” says Bone.
In a latter to City Board members, Mayor White’s attorney says during the tear down process, the Mayor became aware that a small portion of the structure potentially contained asbestos. Mayor White, at that point, did not further direct the City worker to continue to work on the structure.
The majority of City Aldermen also say the Mayor told a City worker to mow a private home owner’s lawn.
“That is a liability issue for the City,” says Bone.
The Mayor’s attorney defends this action, saying the Mayor helped this resident by working together for the betterment of the City.
The attorney also says Mayor White has endured an extremely serious medical condition, but did not elaborate on that condition.
The Mayor Pro Tem says White has checked out of his job to the city, preventing Duquesne from moving forward. Bone says White has missed the past three City Board meetings.
“We need to fix it somehow,” says Bone.
“Nobody seems to be understanding that everything in government has a process,” says Holseth.
And some residents feel that due process is being ignored.
The only alderman who voted against asking the Mayor for his resignation was Frank Herron. Mayor Pro Tem Bone does not think he or other aldermen have the power to oust the mayor. Bone thinks the aldermen could instead seek a vote of no confidence in the mayor.
There were other accusations towards the Mayor, such as assigning duties to a City worker rather than going through the City’s street commissioner, and failure to replace police vehicles that were damaged by Duquesne police officers in a high speed chase. To read the full statement from Mayor White attorney, click on the documents.