Basehor council fills seat
The Basehor City Council is sporting a new face.
Julian Espinoza, an independent financial planner, has replaced Bob Vervaecke, who has purchased a house outside of the city.
Mayor John Pfannenstiel appointed Espinoza at the council`s November meeting. Espinoza`s term expires June 30. His seat will be up for election in the April general election.
"That was one of the factors I considered in making the appointment so quickly," Pfannenstiel said. "If it were a longer term, I probably would have taken a slower approach."
The other was that the mayor was concerned the five-member council might have difficulty having a quorum, which would be three members.
"Typically, I like to put the word out and give people an opportunity to apply," Pfannenstiel said. "In this case, I wanted to get it done quickly."
Vervaecke has been a member of the council since 1995 and had served on the city`s planning commission before that.
"We`ll certainly miss him," Pfannenstiel said. "He`s been very experienced. He had a clear philosophy and hasn`t hesitated to provide leadership and direction."
Vervaecke also was serving as the city council president, and Pfannenstiel said a new president would be selected at the council`s Dec. 18 meeting.
Espinoza, 41, said he`s not sure whether he`ll run for election to the seat he`s filling. He served for several months on the Edwardsville Planning Commission before he and his family moved to Basehor two years ago.
He said his main concern is ensuring the city runs effectively.
"I try not to make any rash decisions," he said. "I try to make them with my head rather than my heart."
Pfannenstiel`s concerns about lack of a quorum stem from a criminal case that is pending against him. Pfannenstiel faces three charges in Leavenworth County District Court alleging he had unlawful sexual relations with three inmates at Lansing Correctional Facility, where he had worked until August. The mayor has pled not guilty to the charges, as well as a fourth charge of bringing contraband into the prison. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 29.
In August, Vervaecke and council member Joe Odle urged Pfannenstiel to take a leave of absence from the mayorship. And Odle said he wouldn`t return to his council seat until Pfannenstiel removed himself, at least until the criminal matter was settled. Pfannenstiel has refused to step down, saying he can continue to serve effectively as Basehor`s mayor.
Odle missed the September and October meetings, but did attend the November meeting.