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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • Special council appointed during Neosho City Council meeting

  • Special counsel has been appointed to help guide the Neosho Ethics Board in its ongoing deliberations on several ethics code violations lodged against Neosho City Council members Steve Hart and David Ruth, though the council must still finalize an agreement.
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  • Special counsel has been appointed to help guide the Neosho Ethics Board in its ongoing deliberations on several ethics code violations lodged against Neosho City Council members Steve Hart and David Ruth, though the council must still finalize an agreement.
    Steven Hays, who recused himself from the case last week after Bruce Copeland, the attorney for both Hart and Ruth, had brought up a possible conflict of interest because of the possibility that Hays could be called as a witness, advised a special session of the city council Monday afternoon that he had contacted three attorneys in an effort to find someone to replace himself, and only William “Bill” McCaffree, Nevada, was agreeable.
    Discussion then ensued about enacting a financial cap, as Neosho Mayor Richard Davidson, expressed that the council must set some boundaries to avoid unlimited liability. Since Hays did not discuss financial specifics, council approved a motion to only appoint McCaffree to the position.
    Davidson said the motion provides council approval for Troy Royer, city manager, to contact McCaffree,
    “And get the necessary documents he would need if there is any contracts and any billing schedules. Once those documents have been received to bring them back to council for final approval.”
    Since council does not meet again in regular session until May 6, Davidson said another special session could be called to provide final approval of McCaffree as the special council, as the ethics board awaits that appointment in order to proceed. Both Hart and Ruth voted against the motion to appoint McCaffree.
    Council also voted Monday to accept the resignation from Timothy Lewis, the former chairman of the ethics board, who submitted a letter last Friday announcing he was stepping down from the post. Council may consider replacing him on the board.
    Leaving just two of the three-member board in place, Nora Houdyshell, city clerk, said that board can still proceed.
    “Once special counsel has been appointed, they can proceed as is without having to appoint a third person to that board,” she said. “Because we have a three-member board, the two members are a quorum.”
    Houdyshell continued, “It sounds like, based on what the mayor said in this meeting, that they may consider whether they want to proceed with letters of interest at this point, or if they are just going to leave it as the two since we’re already part of the way through the investigation.”
    She said that is a consideration still to be determined by council.
    The council also approved a resolution designating newly appointed mayor pro-tem Charles Collinsworth as a new signatory on city of Neosho checking accounts held at First Community Bank.

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