Mayor Ross, along with the majority of our city councilmen, are working together to effectively handle the large and small issues of city government in Blue Springs.

Mayor Ross, along with the majority of our city councilmen, are working together to effectively handle the large and small issues of city government in Blue Springs.

Our council is most efficient when all of our elected leaders are respectful to each other and are willing to listen to each point of view on every issue. It is through careful consideration and thoughtful evaluation of all available information that great decisions take place on behalf of our citizens.

Our city’s charter defines three geographic districts from which our city councilmen are elected. Two councilmen are elected to serve the residents of each district. Councilmen are expected to respond to issues within their own district and to seek the advice of our professional staff. As a matter of protocol and courtesy, information is typically forwarded to the appropriate district councilmen if they are contacted on issues outside of their own district.

The primary issue at the Nov. 16 council meeting resulted from a citizen complaint regarding a potential code violation. A permanent outbuilding, in place for several years and constructed from what appeared to be a former portable container, was the basis for the complaint.

 While the issue itself was relatively minor and easily addressed, the larger discussion was how the complaint was brought to the attention of the city and how it was handled by the District 3 councilmen, Ron Fowler and Sheila Solon, who represent the southern part of the city. The property in question is in the far north end of the city, an area represented by our District 1 councilmen, Jeanie Lauer and Lyle Shaver.

E-mails copied to the city clerk and comments made in the council meeting suggest that our District 3 councilmen directed staff to take action regarding this issue, without involving the District 1 councilmen. When Mayor Ross requested an explanation from Fowler and Solon as to why the issue was not directed to the appropriate councilmen, their answer was ambiguous at best. What is very clear to me from their comments is that our District 3 councilmen believe that it is their job to personally address issues not only in their district but throughout the entire city. This line of thinking is disrespectful to the voters who chose their elected representatives.

Our District 1 and District 2 councilmen addressed this issue in a professional and respectful way. Councilman Kent Edmondson was again a calm voice of reason in the meeting, despite Councilman Fowler’s repeated interruptions. Our city attorney, Bob McDonald, showed patience and restraint as he explained the legal basis for his response.

People who are willing to serve, to give of their time and work positively for the common good are sometimes difficult to find. In Blue Springs, our councilmen are compensated for their service, both with salary and benefits. It is our responsibility as residents to ensure that we are getting what we are paying for in our representatives. Candidate filing for the April election of a councilman for each of the three districts begins Dec. 15 and ends Jan. 19.