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Morning Sun
  • TOP 10 OF 2012: Many changes at the top for municipal government

  • There was plenty of change in civic government, and most of it was right at the top.



    While Frontenac was relatively quiet, the others more than made up for it.

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  • There was plenty of change in civic government, and most of it was right at the top.
    While Frontenac was relatively quiet, the others more than made up for it.
    Girard had one major kerfuffle when it fired Fire Chief Dustin Johnson in April. It wasn’t until July that the details came out — Johnson failed to submit certain reports, failed to contact the city attorney for certain expenditures, failed to keep a treasurer’s bond on the Girard Firefighters Relief Association and took out a loan on the cash value of the life insurance policy. He was replaced by Chase D. Waggoner, from Lebanon, Mo., in October.
    Arma changed mayors from Chris Pommier to Buddy Bualle and filled the council seats of Pommier and Don Zornes. City Manager Troy Graham also left for a position at the City of Pittsburg and the council decided not to replace him and to instead divvy up his duties among the city council members.
    But the biggest changes were in Pittsburg.
    Interim City Manager John Van Gorden retired as planned in May, and a public utilities building was named in his honor for his decades of service to the city.
    The Pittsburg City Commission chose former Ulysses city manager Daron Hall to succeed him, this time without the “interim” in the title.
    Toward the end of the year, it was the departure of three department heads that caused a bit of a scramble.
    Fire Chief Scott Crain retired effective mid-December, and the city will seek a replacement. Mike Simons is serving as the interim fire chief until then.
    Economic Development Director Mark Turnbull also retired the same time as Crain. The city commission decided not to fill that position, but to instead hire the Pittsburg Area Chamber of Commerce President, in this case Blake Benson, to serve as the city’s economic development wing as an independent contractor.
    Finally, Finance Director Jon Garrison left for a job in Fort Scott. The city is looking for a replacement, with Jamie Clarkson serving as interim finance director.
    Finally, we would be remiss if we did not mention the death of former mayor, city commissioner and city employee Bill Rushton from cancer in March. Rushton had worked his way up through the Pittsburg Police Department before turning to politics.
    “The city’s lost a good friend in Bill,” said city commissioner Patrick O’Bryan.

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