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      1-23-08  

 

 

 

 

 

A SPLIT DECISION
Board votes to fire Moody

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

A motion to terminate the employment of Keith Moody, longtime city administrator, was approved by a majority of the Platte City Board of Aldermen Tuesday night.

The decision to fire Moody was made on a split 4-2 vote. Aldermen voting in favor of dismissal were Aaron Jung, Ron Stone, Andy Stanton and Kenneth Brown. Voting against were Marsha Clark and Todd Sloan.

An official announcement of the action taken during Tuesday night's closed session is expected to come from the office of Keith Hicklin, city attorney. Hicklin had not returned phone calls from The Landmark by press time.

The motion passed by the board calls for the city to “enter into negotiations on a severance package and date of termination” for Moody. Based on the wording of that motion, it appears Moody is free to continue to perform his duties while a severance package is negotiated.

Alderman Marsha Clark confirmed the action in a conversation with The Landmark Wednesday morning. She confirmed that she and Sloan voted against the dismissal of Moody.

“I don't know what to tell you. I felt sad about it. He's done a lot for Platte City. I've just been an alderman for a short time. I haven't had any negative reports or witnessed any negativity from him. I don't know how the people of Platte City feel about it,” Clark said.

Reached on his cell phone, Mayor Dave Brooks didn’t deny the action in a conversation with The Landmark. Asked if he had a comment on the dismissal of Moody, Brooks responded:
“I don't have a comment for you. Over the years (The Landmark) have never given Keith or I a fair shake about anything. So I don't have a comment for you.”

Brooks then hung up the phone.

Moody was reached shortly after noon on Wednesday. “I can’t comment on personnel matters,” he said.

“It was like a bomb dropped on me,” Clark told The Landmark. “What I've seen of him is that he's been very nice to me. I think he knows a lot of information that helps us. We had his evaluation and what puzzles me is that there were no dissatisfactory marks. The only marks against him--and we discussed them in the meeting--is that he needs to get along better with the people that come to talk to him.”

Aldermen Ron Stone and Andy Stanton were reached by phone but both denied comment. Aaron Jung had not returned a phone message at Landmark deadline. Todd Sloan politely declined comment, and Kenneth Brown said he had no comment “at this time.”

State law requires the city to make available the news of any such action within 72 hours of the decision, which means the minutes from Tuesday night’s closed session must be made available within 72 hours. State law does not require that the city wait the full 72 hours before doing the news public.

Moody has been city administrator for 12 years. His current salary is $72,946. The vote to fire him came during a closed session involving his annual performance evaluation.

In the past he has been criticized by some business owners for perceived selective enforcement of certain city codes and has been criticized for a perceived lack of public relations skills. He was at the forefront during failed involuntary annexation attempts in recent years, and during his time the city has been successfully sued for violating the state's Sunshine Law covering open meetings.

Moody's supporters in the past have praised his ability to work with numbers and overall budgeting skills.

The Landmark reported two weeks ago that word had circulated in municipal circles that Moody had applied for at least one other position, that being with a city located in Clay County.

“I hope they give him some kind of good package. They could have talked to him more about it. I'm trying to look at all sides,” Clark said.

“I understand 12 years (on the job for a city administrator) is long enough but the mayor told everybody stability is good,” Clark added.

Clark indicated she feels Moody is not to blame for past involuntary annexation failures.

“They (those voting for dismissal) brought up the annexation. From what I gather, it was past aldermen who told him what to do and he keeps getting blamed for it,” she said.

When an official press release from the city is issued on this topic, The Landmark will update the story on its web site at plattecountylandmark.com

 

 
 
 

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