umerous incidents over the last two years brought the Weatherby Lake Board of Aldermen to publicly reprimand its mayor at last month’s board meeting.
The board of alderman passed a resolution for censure on Feb. 21 after identifying numerous occasions when Mayor Mike Henderson did not consult with the board or directly opposed the board’s clear direction.
Alderman Mike Moratz commented about the board’s decision to publicly reprimand Henderson.
“It’s something that’s been accumulating over some time,” said Moratz. “We’re not happy to have to wash our laundry out in public, so to speak. Despite our discussions in public at board meetings, the mayor decided to ignore or counter the decisions of the board of aldermen.”
In a letter to the Platte County Commission dated Feb. 23, City Clerk Juretta Goode noted several situations that have occurred since Henderson has been mayor
• June 17, 2004-“Command decision” to retain previous city clerk for two additional weeks against the board’s clear directive otherwise.
• May-August 2004-because of the mayor’s lack of attention to employee health insurance contract, board of aldermen had to pass the same ordinance twice, once each in July and August.
• Delayed writing a letter to KCMO Mayor/City Manager/Public Works Director in regard to the U Cove sewer lift station. Ordinance to send letter to them passed July 20, 2004, however the letter wasn’t sent until the last week of September.
• Dealing privately without board of aldermen’s knowledge with the developers of Sonoma Ridge.
• Ambulance District: Board of Aldermen consensus was negative when given the financial facts. Lack of communication to the board of aldermen and petition signers that the city would be included in a possible district even if citizens vote against it. Mayor did not give the city a “Riverside Option” to opt out initially, and be able to opt “in” later.
• Lack of leadership in the city hall office resulted in a long delay in implementation of the bi-monthly water billing and overage of hourly employee work hours, affecting the budget.
• Not responding to an e-mail dated Jan. 25, 2006 insisting that he do what the board of aldermen instructed him to do in rectifying the above-mentioned subject.
• Lastly, dealing with Jim Owens, a developer, for a second time after the board of aldermen specifically told him not to do so last June 21. The Board of Aldermen instructed the mayor to include it in any further dealings with Owens in the future, and then voted 4-0 on a resolution to oppose his development.
The mayor was seen in Shelter Haven, riding in Mr. Owens’ truck with him before the Platte County Planning Commission meeting of Feb. 14, 2006. At the meeting, the mayor spoke under oath, as the public official that he is and implied that the city approved of Owens’ latest plat, without consulting the board of aldermen.
Henderson told The Landmark he felt as though the board’s timing of the censure was political in nature, with a mayoral election upcoming on April 4.
“I have a board that thinks the legislative branch of the government runs everything and there is a separation between the legislative, executive and judicial,” stated Henderson. “I think everyone knows that. That’s how we were set up.
“It’s not coincidental that the censure was done before the election. It’s a totally political move, and in my opinion, it’s not warranted.”
Henderson, however, would not speak specifically to the individual instances that were outlined in the letter by Goode.
According to Moratz, Henderson’s statement that the board’s decision was politically motivated does not explain the issues at hand.
“It doesn’t address his being responsible for what he’s done,” said Moratz. “My point of view is he’s done all these things in full public view and now it’s come back on him.”
Henderson is currently seeking his second term as mayor of Weatherby Lake in the upcoming April 4 election. He will face Alan York, who fulfilled a term as mayor in Weatherby Lake after Pauli Kendrick resigned. York stated he believes the board did what they felt was necessary.
“I feel they were sending Mr. Henderson a strong signal. (That signal is) they expect him to communicate with them effectively and to not unilaterally do things without including them in the discussion,” stated York.