Statement by Basehor’s mayor
Editor's note: This is the text of this week's Mayor's Report by John Pfannenstiel, Basehor's mayor.
I am sure, by now, most Basehor residents have heard about the criminal charges filed against me. For those who haven't, the charges allege that I introduced contraband into the Lansing Correctional Facility, where I have been employed since 1986, and that I have engaged in sexual misbehavior with two inmates there. I have hired an attorney and we are preparing to answer these allegations. That is all I can really say about the matter at this time; however, because I have always been a "public" person, and as mayor, have tried to be open and straight forward about matters affecting Basehor city government, I feel compelled to address the citizens of Basehor about the personal and especially the political ramifications of this situation.
There are two points I want to make clear. First, I will deal with this matter as honorably as I have tried to deal with every thing in my life, both public and private. Second, in all matters concerning Basehor city government, I will put the interest of the citizens of Basehor above my own.
On a personal level, I want to say that, under the circumstances, my family and I are doing very well. Many people have asked me in the past, how I manage to devote as much time as I do to the office of mayor. I usually respond that I have a very understanding wife. I did not realize just how understanding. Nannette is an angel, sent to me by God, and as long as she is beside me, it does not matter what the rest of the world thinks, or does.
The telephone calls, messages, prayers and comments we have received from members of the community have also been heartwarming. We have heard from people from all over Leavenworth County and beyond. Many people have expressed their support, unconditionally. It does not matter to them whether the allegations are true or not. My family and I are sincerely touched and grateful for all the concern that has been shown us.
As far as the political ramifications go, there immediately arises three questions: Must I resign? Should I resign? Will I resign? As with virtually every decision in my life, I have approached these questions with logic and reason. To the question of, must I resign? The answer is clearly, no. Kansas Statutes do not require an office holder to resign upon the allegations of a felony offense. To answer the questions of, should I resign and will I resign, I considered, what is in the best interest of the citizens of Basehor. I will share my thought process.
For me, holding public office has never been about satisfying my own ego. It has been about using the talents that God has given me to help my community. I believe, because of my leadership, we have made tremendous progress in Basehor city government over the past three years. I have spent a significant amount of time writing things down and developing plans that will help us continue to make progress in an orderly and efficient manner; however, as I have said many times, we have much more to do.
Certainly, I am not alone on the governing body. There are five capable council members who have helped to shape the progress we have made in the past three years. I am sure they would agree; however, that I am the one who has provided the leadership, and most of the legwork, to achieve our successes. The question must be asked, if I were to leave office now, would the progress we are making be slowed or, in some cases, come to a stop all together?
I suppose, it would be easiest for me to withdraw from public life, put a "for sale" sign in my yard, and retreat to "lick my wounds." Those who know me well, though, know that I am not inclined to do what is simply the easiest. I make decisions based upon what I think is best; therefore, after careful consideration, and consultation, I conclude it would be best, for the citizens of Basehor, for me to remain in office and continue to work to move our city forward.
So, to the questions of should I resign and will I resign as mayor of Basehor, the answers are again, no. At this time, short of being convicted of the felony charges against me, and being incarcerated for those felonies, I intend to remain in office, and ask the citizens of Basehor to re-elect me to a second term, as mayor, next April.
Members of the community are certainly at liberty to individually, or collectively, ask me to resign. They may communicate their desires through any method they choose. Letters to the editor, letters to me, petition, telephone calls, or even marches in the streets. Upon any request, I will again consider, what is in the best interest of the citizens of Basehor?
I believe that a person's character is demonstrated by how they deal with the toughest situations in life. I again say that I will deal with this matter as honorably as I can. I humbly ask for continued prayers and support from the citizens of Basehor, and from people throughout Leavenworth County and elsewhere. I am sincerely sorry for the disruption, and the embarrassment, this situation has brought to our city. I recognize that, due to my position, this matter affects a large number of people. I will work to have it resolved as soon as possible and I pledge to work as hard as I can to remain focused on the business of Basehor city government.
I ask citizens not to bother city staff with this matter. I may be contacted in writing at 3108 N. 157th Street., or by e-mail at JohnP1986@AOL.com, or by telephone at 724-2818. I will respond as I can.