Two sitting Neosho City Councilmen will be under the spotlight when the Neosho Ethics Board meets in special session at 6:30 p.m. today in council chambers of Neosho City Hall.
The Ethics Board of Dr. Andrew Hamby, Lee Duran and Tim Lewis will first appoint a chairman. The agenda then includes a review by the board of an ethics complaint. That complaint, filed by Derek A. Snyder of Neosho, features 51 points of contention against councilmen David Ruth and Steve Hart.
Ruth is named in the first complaints of improper dealings with employees and agents of the city, for allegedly directing city employees to disregard city procedures and a directive given by the city manager.
Both Ruth and Hart are named in a complaint that they directed special counsel for the city regarding the Neosho Transportation Development District without authority of the council or permission from the city manger in an attempt to acquire information that is the property of the city. That complaint alleges their actions increased legal fees and distracted the special counsel during the appeal process, wasting taxpayer monies.
The complaint further states that both Hart and Ruth made public statements in an open session about their opposition to the appeal of the NTDD, violating their duties to not reveal confidential information, and increasing the likelihood of added costs to the citizens for appellate preparation.
The complaint accuses Hart of violating his duty not coerce the city manager or other city officials, and to not influence the city’s selection of, or its conduct of business, concerning the installation of a streetlight. Ruth is also accused of coercion of the city manager, and an improper polling of council members to give the appearance that his opinion represented that of the entire council, regarding the demolition of a structure.
Hart is also alleged to have physically assaulted Troy Royer while demanding he distribute funds to an entity without a consensus of council.
According to the city charter, if the board determines that a city official has violated the provision of this code, the ethics board may recommend to the city council that the official be subject to disciplinary action. In addition to any other penalty herein or otherwise provided by law, a violation shall be cause for suspension, discharge or removal of office or such other disciplinary action as may, by the appropriate city authority, be deemed necessary and proper, and consistent with the city charter, code and/or state law.