Archive for Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Mayor Mike Vestal resigns

July 28, 2010, 12:54 p.m.

Updated: August 3, 2010, 7:03 p.m.

A week after Mayor Mike Vestal resigned when it was learned he sent an inappropriate e-mail from a computer he uses in his duties with the city’s answering service, the man first in line to succeed him is undecided about taking the job.

Tonganoxie City Council President Jason Ward said Tuesday he was still considering his options. In an e-mail to The Tonganoxie Mirror, Ward said he would announce his decision at Monday’s city council meeting.

Vestal resigned July 28, two days after admitting he sent an obscene e-mail for his city-owned answering service computer.

“That’s my decision,” Vestal said. “I did it for the betterment of the city. The focus needs to be on city business.

“I gave this a lot of thought and talked it over with my minister. I will devote my life to Christ. I want to continue on the economic development committee I started. I’m excited about that.”

Vestal admitted at the July 26 Tonganoxie City Council meeting that he sent the obscene e-mail. The admission came after Councilwoman Paula Crook twice referred to the e-mail.

Crook said that Vestal did the right thing in resigning.

“I wish Mike the best,” she said. “I’m sure he’s doing what’s best for him and the city of Tonganoxie.”

Vestal brought stability to the City Council and helped the community focus on its needs, Councilman Tom Putthoff said.

“To me, it’s a sad day for Tonganoxie,” he said. “He tried to be a good leader. Nobody’s perfect, but he did move us forward in some areas.”

According to city code, Ward would become mayor if that was his choice. If Ward declines the position, the council would elect a mayor from among its members.

City Counsel Mike Kelly said the new mayor would then appoint a new council member, subject to confirmation by the council. The seat of the appointed council member will be contested in next April’s election.

Vestal’s four-year term was also to expire next spring. He defeated incumbent Mayor Dave Taylor, 365-341, in April 2007 to win the position.

In September of that year, Vestal apologized and offered to resign when it was learned that he sent an e-mail from his answering service computer with a picture of women with naked breasts and the words: “Next Monday is National Female Breast Appreciation Day” and “Beats the (expletive) out of Martin Luther King Day! Doesn’t It?”

Comments

Heavy100 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm sorry to see this happen, one council person with a vendetta against the mayor from the get go. That doesn't make what Mike did right. It just makes for a very sad City government. I'm sorry to see Mike resign. He's a good man and has been a good leader for Tonganoxie.

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charlie 3 years, 8 months ago

Seems he needs to do more than talk and devote his life to Christ. vendetta or not, it should never had happened period. And twice????

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straightup 3 years, 8 months ago

Vendetta? The Mayor did this all on his own! When he did this the first time. What did he say? I will never, never do this again. The citizens gave him a second chance. You shouldn't blame anyone but him. He hasn't shown good leadership!!!

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nonbeliever 3 years, 8 months ago

Vendetta-what vendetta?Cannot understand why this issue has been turned around as one person wanting to cause Vestal "public embarrasment"..From reading past council minutes in the Mirror-Vestal's job is a duplication of service Tongie receives from the county--more than one member of council and city hall staff suggested ending this $1100(?) a month expense as a way to reduce the budget...Unfortunately Vestal's personal problems & continued use of city furnished computer to pursue them had to be brought to light and the cost saving issue got lost in the glare of his disgusting emails. The job of city dispatcher should be eliminated-bring the city's computer back into the police dept. where it belongs. If this had been done in September of 2007 Vestal's actions and the disgrace he brought on to the city would not have happened. Just think-he would not have to had to resign--and could have continued doing all the good (?????) things he has done for the city. Whatever you want to do in your life is your own business--but if it involves city owned equipment paid for by the residents of Tonganoxie--that's different story---it would be like a city police officer using the police car to go to the strip club while the officer was on duty.

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asugrads 3 years, 8 months ago

I would love to see Jason Ward accept the Mayor position. He would bring education, ability and professionalism to the position...that's been missing for a LONG time. It's too bad that the former Mayor didn't resign years ago when he FIRST did this. We do not need a Mayor like that to represent our city.

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dryaylor 3 years, 8 months ago

let us not forget that Jason Ward is one of three councilmen who filed suit against the 200 or more citizens that signed the petition against county rd 1. these people were actually served summons over their signatures. if this is what you consider stability and professionalism , God help us. The mayor did the right thing by stepping down. the bigger issue in my opinion is the coverup by the three councilmen who knew this had been going on.

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

When I look at the millions of dollars of debt the CIty acquired in the last few years between real estate, a new pool, and a new CIty shop, not to mention new vehicles, the cost of a dispatcher looks pretty piddly. And when you factor in the human element of this person having done this job for what, 35 years?, and you have any compassion at all for a handicapped person that has served this community all those years, I'd say any costs to taxpayers that you're talking about is small. There's more to this issue than that. Anyone that wants to yank this away is mean spirited and heartless. Bigger tax dollars get wasted everyday from here to Washington. Save your energy for bigger fights with better results. .

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straightup 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree with you on one point. There is alot of money being spent in town. You think the city should keep the dispatching service? The community is paying for 911 service plus this dispatching service. Don't they do the same thing? What does the dispatching or the answer service do for the city? Is it a answering service for the police dept. and he answers the phone for the dept. so the police clerk or anyone else in the office don't have to pick up the phone? What are they doing and why should we pay them? If the dept don't pick up won't 911 pick up? Is this service dispatching out police calls and running the tags? Isn't that what 911 does? Maybe 35 years ago we needed this service because we didn't have 911. But now we do have 911 and we have had it for at least 20 years. You say tax dollars get wasted every day from here to Washington. That doesn't make it right. This is the reason the community is questioning about this service. Do you think tax dollars should be wasted on the human element of this person having done this job for 35 years and the community need to have compassion because he is a handicapped person? This is why it is OK to waste tax money? I think the community does have compassion for this person.That why they have kept it so long. But that doesn't make it right. There shouldn't be any tax money being wasted small amounts or large amounts of tax money.

If this service is really needed, there is a big trust issue with this person being allowed to use the city computer. Do you think the community should forget about the emails? Do you think the community should forget about this persons bad judgments and behaviour? Do you think the community should trust that this person will not misuse the city computer again? Do you think if this person said he wouldn't do this again he would be a Man of his word? Do you really think that anyone that wants to yank this service away is being mean spirited and heartless or is it really just a trust issue? Do you think its OK to waste tax money because tax money is wasted from here to Washington all the time? Do you think the community can or should trust him?

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

Does anyone know if city council members have to be drug tested? Just wondering. I think they ought to be since they're spending our money. I think all elected officials should be, again, from here to Washington. Too bad there's not an ethics test.

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

I believe that the whole picture needs to be looked at, and not just the corner of it. Yes, I would put trust and compassion above money for a fellow Tonganoxian. I believe the whole picture of Mike Vestal is bigger than a snapshot of his errors. I believe in a community that is bigger than this. We're not a big, impersonal city. We are Tonganoxie. Team Tonganoxie, remember?

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straightup 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm looking at it and it is not just the "corner" of it. Are " You or Team Tonganoxie" going to help EVERYONE in the city with paying theirs extra property tax that the city and county wants to raise it to. Maybe help put grocery on EVERYONES table because they have gone up or help to pay EVERYONES utilities bills because they have gone up, maybe help keep the young couple down the street and EVERYONE else in this city from losing their home because the economy is making it harder for them keep up with all of their bills. Because they have taken a pay cut or some have even loss their jobs. The City, County, State, and Government keeps taking more and more out of our pockets. I wish you could look at the whole picture.

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

Putting one person out of work is going to fix all of those things? Putting someone out of work puts them on the taxpayers payroll anyway, you just don't get any work out of them in return. It's called unemployment, welfare, and food stamps. No, that won't increase the mill levy, but we all subsidize it just the same with our federal and state tax dollars. I understand where you are coming from. I actually agree with you on everything except being unable to forgive and help one of our own. Maybe you're not from around here. You actually sound kind of bitter. I hope you're able to find happiness.

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straightup 3 years, 8 months ago

I'm not a bitter person at all and I'm very happy. I'm just tried of the local and state and government wasting our money on thing's we do not need. I do see that you are a caring person and that you would hate to see for this man, your friend to lose his job. I don't like it either but to me if it is not needed they shouldn't keep it. Simple as that. It has nothing to do with forgiving this person. I just do not like for our hard earned money being wasted.

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straightup 3 years, 8 months ago

This sums it up When they knowing waste our tax money it just like stealing!

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

I feel the same way in most circumstances. But, sometimes my heart has to override my brain. I know there will be great pressure to release the answering service contract. I have no idea how it will end. I just wanted my perspective heard. Thanks for the listening.

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

And by the way, yes I would give money to anyone here that needs it, if I had it. In fact, I do donate when I don't have it. No, I'm not a liberal democrat. I'm a conservative Republican. I don't do hand outs. I do hands up.

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kdaug2010 3 years, 8 months ago

I hope Jason Ward decides to accept the position of Mayor. This is the type of person Tonganoxie has been needing in this position for a long time, a true professional.

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wtf7343 3 years, 8 months ago

I personally feel that we should keep the dispatch, when we call the police station we get Mike who can take the time to take our call. When we call 911 we get a dispatcher who is taking care of all of Leavenworth County. There has been many times that I haven't called things in because of this. Not that they don't do there job but because I want to speak to someone who knows Tonganoxie. What he did was wrong but I feel we can cut expenses somewhere else.

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teatime 3 years, 8 months ago

YES! That's how I should have said it all along. I totally agree with you. Thank you.

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tonganoxie 3 years, 8 months ago

This problem stemmed from something that should have never happened in the first place. You do not put someone in a job who is also the boss of the person they report to. (i.e.--answer service reports to police chief reports to mayor) It is called a conflict of interest. This was knowingly admitted at the council meeting.

Agreed this person made a serious error and should be punished. This would have led to dismissal in most workplaces, but not all. The fact that there was a cover-up can be disputed. Personnel matters between an employee, their employer, and a contracted business are not always going to be public record. But that is beside the point. He should have never held that position to begin with. That would have saved us the embarrassment of someone viewing pornography on a city machine, questioning the efficacy of a duplicitous answering service, and the ruination of a good man.

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tonganoxie 3 years, 8 months ago

This problem stemmed from something that should have never happened in the first place. You do not put someone in a job who is also the boss of the person they report to. (i.e.--answer service reports to police chief reports to mayor) It is called a conflict of interest. This was knowingly admitted at the council meeting.

Agreed this person made a serious error and should be punished. This would have led to dismissal in most workplaces, but not all. The fact that there was a cover-up can be disputed. Personnel matters between an employee, their employer, and a contracted business are not always going to be public record. But that is beside the point. He should have never held that position to begin with. That would have saved us the embarrassment of someone viewing pornography on a city machine, questioning the efficacy of a duplicitous answering service, and the ruination of a good man.

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whatever 3 years, 8 months ago

Mayor Vestal did do wrong by sending the pornography emails that he thought he was sending to his friend,  Mike that so called friend is what I would call a back stabber!!  At least the mayor was big enugh to step down. It just gave one of our not so grate council members another reason to bring this city a little more unwanted and not needed attention.  This city has way more problems that the ex-mayor.  Look at one of our city council members always tiring to make the city look bad. WHY??? You the council member are the one's who are making the decisions for us the community, why is there always that one who has to always bring this city down?? I don't get it!!! I'm with “Teatime” on do the council members have to have drug test?  Way good question!  I think they all should  have  back ground checks, Yes criminal history checks and drug test.   It shouldn't  cost money we do have a police department  in this city that could run the back ground checks. We also have 3 Dr. office's in this town that could do drug test.  I also have lots of questions about the hiring process in this city??  Can someone help me out with that? I've only lived here close to 6 years so Im not sure how this works, seems kinda messed up to me.  Why do all departments promote within except for the police department? So are we going to pass up someone within if there is a qualified applicant?  All other departments seem to have qualified applicants....I guess it's all who you know, who you are, and who you go to lunch with.

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