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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Pleasanton mayor hit up with suggestions for council pick

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

PLEASANTON – Despite three “votes” from both public-forum speakers and even the city attorney, Pleasanton Mayor Mike Frisbie did not move forward with his pick to replace former councilman Joe Whitaker at the Dec. 27 council meeting. Once the mayor makes an appointment, the council must ratify it.

Whitaker resigned earlier in December after notifying the council that he had, at least temporarily, moved outside Pleasanton city limits and was no longer eligible to serve as a council member.

City Administrator Teresa Whitaker, who is married to Joe Whitaker, said in a separate interview that after selling their home in city limits, they moved to an apartment outside of city limits at least temporarily because nothing suitable was available in the city. City employees are not required to live within city limits.

Theresa Miller and Sandy Ward, both of whom spoke during the public forum, and City Attorney Burton Harding each told the council that Angelina Randall would make a good council member.

“A lot of us would like to see somebody who has some experience,” Miller told the council. She went on to say that Randall is a former military policewoman, is retired from the Fort Scott Police Department, is from Pleasanton and knows everybody.

“I just feel like a lot people just get on (the council) and don’t get anything done,” she said. Because elections for the council post won’t be anytime soon, Randall would be a council member who would represent the people, she added.

Miller, who with some frequency used the council meeting’s public forum to air concerns, complained about a water test notification, lack of progress on cleaning up the city, signage that made it appear that the city was a haven for a motorcycle gangs, and the inaction of some members of the city council.

Saying she is on the board of Linn County Rural Water District No. 2, Miller took issue with a water department warning of a situation that occurred in February. However, she noted that city water customers received a notice of the problem in November, and it was difficult to understand.

Apparently, Joey Morrisey, public works department supervisor, was late in taking the February water test sample for the city. He subsequently also failed to meet the deadline for the March test as well, and each missed deadline required notifying all water customers.

Morrisey, who was at that time fairly new to his post, notified the council during open session shortly after the mistakes were found. He also spoke to the council last week, again acknowledging that taking the tests in a timely manner was his responsibility and accepting full responsibility for the mistake.

He did clarify, however, that while he missed the test windows, the water quality was up to state standard for both of those months.

In her time at the podium, Miller said that by having the sign promoting the Thunder on the Street rally up year round, those not familiar with the city got the wrong impression. She said a woman, apparently a former Pleasanton resident, who works at a hospital in Johnson County brought that point home to her.

“She said, ‘What’s with the motorcycle gang?’” Miller said, adding that she soon realized it was the sign that had been up since last summer.

“Now, even though all of us know what it is, no one else does,” she said. “I don’t personally like the motorcycle thing up there all year long underneath ‘Pleasanton.’ That isn’t all we stand for.”

“That’s the first impression of Pleasanton,” she added. “To me, that’s important.”

A consistent complaint of Miller is that the council doesn’t do enough to clean up the city and seems resistant to her suggestion that volunteers could be used to do it. Her presentation was laced with suggestions that the council wasn’t responsible.

However, Councilwoman Melanie Staton took exception to that litany of dissatisfaction. She compared Miller’s offer of volunteering to bringing the council a steak dinner but serving it on a trash can lid.

Staton chided Miller for her hostility toward the council, citing the way she presents herself and her body language.

“No, no, no,” Miller said. “It’s businesslike and factual, and I know these days people don’t like that.” They want to do things sweet, she added, saying that she wasn’t like that.

Mayor Frisbie noted that there has been no decision made on who to appoint to fill the vacant council post. He said he had talked to a few people about the post, but had not seen much interest for those he asked.

In other business, the council:

  • Learned from Administrator Teresa Whitaker that 68 area children had received Christmas gifts through the Angel Tree project.

  • Learned that the city was looking at the cost of running utilities to lots on either side of Tucker Road south of the Sixth Street intersection with an eye toward developing those lots.

  • The city will receive 300 gun locks from the Veterans Administration to be distributed for free.

  • Learned from animal control officer Charles Stokes that the dog-catching pole was inadequate and needed to be replaced. He also suggested the city look at sending him to chemical immobilization training to become trained in using a tranquilizer gun.

  • Approved a bid by Kelly Electric for $2,750 to repair faulty wiring from City Hall to the flagpole in the parking lot in front and to the city’s show-up building east of Pleasanton High School.

  • Renewed the liquor license for Linn County Liquor.

  • Approved a $1 an hour raise for Policeman Mason Roberts for completing his law enforcement training.

  • Reappointed Reta Spence to the Housing Authority board.

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