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City says violation of state law, local
ordinance led to firing
Stamper files appeal, to be heard Sept. 25

by Ivan Foley
Landmark editor

Platte City’s dismissed parks director has appealed his firing and the board of aldermen is scheduled to hear his appeal at its meeting on Sept. 25.

Dannie Stamper, parks director since 2002, was fired by the aldermen effective Aug. 29 “due to violation of state statutes, city ordinance and city employment regulations related to public employees’ ethical requirements,” says DJ Gehrt, city administrator.

The aldermen also authorized the hiring of a forensic accountant, who is also an attorney, to conduct an analysis of the parks department’s financial transactions.

That forensic review is expected to start later this week, Gehrt said.

Stamper has not returned calls from The Landmark seeking comment.

Stamper’s firing is not the only personnel change within the parks department. Jimmy Thatcher, parks maintenance worker, notified the city on Aug. 24 that he was submitting a two week notice to leave city employment. His last day was Sept. 7.

Thatcher had worked for the city since 2008. He declined to participate in an exit interview, Gehrt said.

The exits of Stamper and Thatcher have prompted the city to temporarily assign day-to-day park maintenance to the public works department, at least temporarily. The public works director has assigned one maintenance worker (Brian Kear) to focus on parks maintenance.

Additional public works maintenance employees are available to be assigned to parks maintenance tasks as necessary, Gehrt said.

The city administrator said Thatcher, the outgoing parks maintenance worker, “was very helpful in transferring information and transitioning to the incoming staff.”

Travis Anderson, a recent hire, is the city’s recreation coordinator. Anderson has been temporarily moved to City Hall “to have more direct access to administrative support” from Gehrt, city officials said.

Recreation program duties have not changed. Anderson is currently working on fall sports of soccer and volleyball and upcoming special events such as Pedal for Platte and the holiday lighting ceremony.

Gehrt said any recruitment action for a new parks director will not begin until the forensic analysis of the department’s financial transactions has been completed and reviewed. Gehrt said it is not yet known how long the investigator’s analysis will take.