Prop 1 seeks Bland voter approval to make marshal’s job by appointment

By Roxie Murphy, Staff Writer
Posted 1/15/20

Bland aldermen are asking citizens to vote “yes” on Proposition 1 this April that would move the city marshal’s position from an elected one to an appointed one.

The ballot …

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Prop 1 seeks Bland voter approval to make marshal’s job by appointment

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Bland aldermen are asking citizens to vote “yes” on Proposition 1 this April that would move the city marshal’s position from an elected one to an appointed one.

The ballot language reads, “Shall the Board of Alderman of the city of Bland, Missouri, provide by ordinance for the appointment of a marshal as provided for by the Statutes of the State of Missouri?”

Alderman Diana Mayfield said the requested change stems from not being able to make the officer patrol the city, which has resulted and zero local police coverage.

“As far as the marshal goes, we need somebody to serve as chief of police, but if they are elected, there is no control. We can’t make them do anything or make them come in,” Mayfield explained. “There needs to be some kind of checks and balances. That is why, if the council can appoint someone, they can make sure something is being done.”

The marshal’ position, which is currently empty, paid a $100 monthly stipend according to Mayor Lee Medlock, and receives a dollar amount per call out. That amount is set by ordinance prior to the election and was last changed when the city moved their police services to county.

“If appointed, the council can make sure something is being done,” Mayfield said. “I didn’t understand that for years. We need to have protection in the city, we can’t just elect somebody to do nothing.”

Medlock agreed with Mayfield and said they are welcoming people to come to the monthly city meetings to ask questions.

“We are going to try to educate everybody in town,” he said. “We can’t do more or less. We have to go about it the right way when we hold town hall meetings or ask people to come to the city meetings.”

Medlock explained that it is hard to find someone who meets the requirements to hold the marshal’s position, which include living in the city limits, being certified and bonded within six months of taking office and being up-to-date on taxes. It is even harder to find someone who meets all of these qualifications and is willing to work for $100 a month.

“It would be so much easier if the board could appoint that position,” Medlock said. “You have a lot more control of the person that’s doing the job, versus elected, and you can ask them to do something.”

Since the previous marshal, Patrick Boatman, stepped down in October, aldermen were unable to appoint someone who met the qualifications of marshal. Instead, they hired a part-time officer to patrol the town.

“If we can make the position appointed, we could probably hire someone full-time,” Medlock said.

Right now, the board feels they do not have a big enough police force to patrol the city.

“I think we will get something out there before the April election and let everybody know what is going on and have them voice their opinion,” Medlock said.

The next city meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 10, at the John L. Baxter Administration Building.

The elected marshal position is still on the April ballot. If the request to appoint the position fails, any qualified candidates who filed, or were written in, may take the open seat.

Incumbents sign up

While no one has filed for the marshal’s position yet, Medlock has re-filed for the mayoral seat and Alderman Jane Vandegriffe, who was appointed to finish the term of former alderman Josh Jarvis, has filed for a two-year term. One alderman-at-large seat is still open without a candidate.

Any persons living within the Bland city limits and is up-to-date on taxes may file for candidacy with the city clerk through next Tuesday (Jan. 21) at the John L. Baxter Administration Building.

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