Cuba MO board of alderman split on legality of new appointment

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CUBA, MO (KPLR) – Tuesday’s board of alderman meeting in Cuba, Mo came to an abrupt end. Three of the six board members said they will not participate in any votes until a legal dispute is resolved.  Without a quorum, the meeting was adjourned.

The three board members want to know if the recent appointment of a new member was legal.  Mayor W.R. Mortimeyer made the appointment to fill a seat vacated by a board member citing health problems for his departure.  That outgoing member cast a vote in favor of his replacement.  Without that vote, the appointment would have failed.

“I will tell you it is a very complex question,” said city attorney Lance Thurman.

The question is whether the outgoing member should have been allowed to vote.

“I will certainly give a written opinion, and hopefully we get this answered as soon as possible,” said Thurman.

The latest controversy comes as the city is divided over the firing of 4 Cuba police officers.  The firings came after an investigation into Police Chief Paul Crow was completed.  The chief was accused of threatening an alderman.  The investigation found no crime was committed. Some feel the firings were retaliation for officers raising concerns about their chief, and were more about politics than performance.

Christina Sherman is the wife of one of the fired officers.  She describes the situation in Cuba as, “Unbelievable.”

“These guys just want to go back to work,” said Sherman.  “They want to do what they love.”

The firings have prompted protests.  Some protestors are calling for the police chief to resign.

Crow said he could not comment on the firings because it was a personnel matter.  He told critics the investigation into his actions found no crime.

“I would tell them they need to read the highway patrol report and the transcriptions,” Crow said.

Crow supporter Doug Rutz said without evidence to prosecute the chief, the city should move forward.

One of the fired officers accepted an offer to return back to work, pending the outcome of an investigation of his firing.  The other three officers are represented by an attorney and declined to comment on their firing.