City employee served as elected official in past

Outlook managing editor

The question remains: How will the city resolve the election of Dave Waggoner to the mayorship of Laurel? Several members of the council have objected to swearing in Waggoner because he is a city employee. They have said it’s a conflict of interest and against the city charter.

Although a few things—including the city charter—have changed in the past 30 years, squabbling over election outcomes isn’t one of them, and neither is a city employee being elected to the council.
In 1993, after working for Laurel in a variety of capacities for seven years, John Minch was elected as the Ward IV councilman. Remarkably, he wasn’t the only candidate in that election that was a city employee. Although beaten by Donna Kilpatrick in the fight for the Ward II seat, Brad Krause worked in the water and sewer department where he had been employed since 1989. Kilpatrick was the incumbent and had planned to retire. She threw her hat back into the ring because she didn’t think two city employees should sit on the council. Only one did.
Minch beat out incumbent L.D. Collins to take the seat and although his employment was brought up as a possible conflict of interest, no one challenged his win.
Prior to the election, he told the Outlook he wanted to run for council because he had too many unanswered questions. “By getting on the council maybe I can get some answers,” he explained. Minch promised to do the work necessary if elected. He said he did not feel there would be a conflict.
“If I see that it is becoming problem, I will resign,” he said. “But it would have to be for the right reasons.” Minch did say his city employment would prohibit him from serving on any committees that had a direct influence on his job.
In the case of Waggoner, Councilwoman Emelie Eaton requested discussion of the steps Laurel will need to take if a mayor is not sworn in on Jan. 2. That discussion will be on the agenda of the Dec. 12 meeting. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.




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Wednesday, July 17, 2019
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