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Rohr Speaks Out After City Council Votes in Favor of Terminating Him

Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr says goodbye to a role he's held for more than nine years.
JOPLIN, MO.--- Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr says goodbye to a role he's held for more than nine years. Council members voted to terminate him in a late-night council meeting Tuesday. That decision came after the city heard results from a special investigation into city council members. Rohr called Private Investigator Tom Loraine's findings incomplete and inaccurate. He said the city hired Lorraine to look into other issues, but somehow the discussion turned to his role as city manager.

"I find myself again a focus of attention in a successful attempt to complete what was not accomplished last August," said Mark Rohr, Former Joplin City Manager. 

Mark Rohr fires back after the Joplin council's 5-4 vote to terminate him. Rohr's contends the council knew about the contents of the report before the closed session. He says Councilman Benjamin Rosenburg talked to another council member ahead of time about the report and his role in it.

"There's a lot of things that went on that don't pass the smell test in terms of people knowing about things ahead of time when it was supposed to be an objective investigation. Which results were supposed to be presented this evening. Why was there a resolution already drawn up?" Asked Rohr. 

The city hired an outside investigator to look into ethics allegations about council member Bill Scearce, as well as whether he had taken information on a sticky note off of Rohr's desk. Rohr believes Lorraine didn't take that part of the investigation far enough.

"I'm wondering why that was made the issue and not the theft of the post-it note, I don't understand why that was the issue and that's been glossed over," said Rohr. 

Rohr says his firing was a political decision and that some council members were following their own agenda rather than the original purpose of the investigation.

"Those were the original three things, but somehow it morphed into a discussion about me," said Rohr. 

Rohr says he told Tom Lorriane he did a poor job on the investigation.

"He was not charged with responsibility of looking into anything else, other than those three things. He strayed into areas he didn't belong in and he drew conclusions that he had no right to draw," said Rohr. 

Assistant City Manager Sam Anslem is now interim city manager. Rohr says the council's decision to select him was a good one. He called Anslem "honest and hardworking."

JOPLIN, MO.--- The former Joplin city manager will look into legal opportunities after the city council fires him. Rohr believes the resolution to terminate him was drafted prior to the city council knowing the results of the investigation. He says he does not understand what has happened saying what he's accomplished in the last nine years should speak for itself. Former City Manager Mark Rohr could not believe what happened at the end of Tuesday's nearly 7 hour long special council meeting. He stormed off after the council voted 5 to 4 in favor to fire him from his position.

"I find myself again the attention in an attempt, a successful attempt to complete what was not accomplished last August," said Mark Rohr, Former Joplin City Manager.

The former city manager is strongly questioning the reasoning behind the vote. Rohr says the council's decision to fire him was decided before the meeting last night.

"Councilman Rosenberg, who made the motion, contacted another city council member the week before last, and told him there would be things that would be brought up in the investigation in respect to the city manager and to keep an open mind," said Rohr. 

Tuesday's  special meeting was scheduled to look into an investigation into the possible connection of Bill Scearce and a man convicted of having a gambling operation on property he was renting from Scearce.

"I think there is three people who had an agenda, and the other two people went along with it because they are impressionable and they follow their lead.  And that's where we are now," said Rohr. 

Rohr says the council tried to force him out in August, and the mayor told him he needed to work on "six or seven things" - which he claims he did.     

"All of those have been addressed and are being addressed. In October, I get a merit raise, yet here we are in February. So you figure it out, you figure out what is going on in your town," said Rohr. 

Amid controversy, Rohr thanks the people of Joplin for what has been accomplished since he was hired as city manager in 2004.

"I've been overwhelmed with the number of people that have approached me and thanked me for what I have done for the city of Joplin. It's very heartening and I very much appreciate that," said Rohr. 

Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean issued a statement earlier today saying the city will not comment on Rohr's termination because it is a confidential personnel matter. She adds the city will continue moving forward. Former Assistant City Manager Sam Anselm is now the acting city manager after a six to three council vote last night. This comes after the council rejected a motion from Bill Scearce to name City Attorney Brian Head as interim city manager, it failed by a 5 to 4 vote.
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