Hiring decision questioned

By Dennis Minich

The Harrisonville Board of Aldermen voted on Sept. 16 to hire Mike Tholen as an interim city administrator through the end of the year. But the reappointment of Tholen to the position was not without controversy at the meeting.

At its Aug. 5 meeting, an executive session was held in which members of the board were informed City Administrator Happy Welch had resigned. Four members of the board did not attend the executive session: Matt Turner, who was ill and missed the meeting, and David Dickerson, Clint Miller and Brad Bockelman. The three who attended the meeting voted no to the session and left as it started. Dickerson and Bockelman stood outside city hall talking to others who had attended the meeting.

While no vote was taken and minutes of executive sessions are closed documents, it appears that after discussing Welch’s severance package, the board was briefed on the availability of Tholen to fill in the position.

When questioned, Patterson said even with the increased electric bills, Harrisonville will still be cheaper than area cities served by Kansas City Power and Light.

Most of the aldermen appeared to understand the need.

“We’ve sat too long waiting for something catastrophic to happen,” Alderman Marcia Milner said. “I think it is the responsible thing to do to plan ahead and not just sit back and wait for something to happen.”

Alderman Matt Turner said, “We have to take a big bite. People expect our services, but they also think we have an endless supply of money, which we don’t.”

Mayor Judy Bowman said setting up the future increases on a fixed percentage is the responsible thing to do.

“It is responsible because it is easier for our residents to budget and plan for. Knowing what is ahead is fair and responsible,” she said.

Get more stories like this delivered weekly! Subscribe today!