Friday, Dec. 07, 2012
Harrisonville BOA appoints new alderman
Reece leads discussion on proposed disorderly conduct ordinance revisions Reece leads discussion on proposed disorderly conduct ordinance revisions
By Bethany Bashioum
Lifelong Harrisonville resident Marcia Milner has been appointed to fill the shoes of outgoing Ward 2 Alderman Donna Pfautsch.
Pfautsch submitted her resignation during the regularly-scheduled Board of Aldermen meeting Dec. 3 due to her newly-election position of representing residents in the newly created District 33 seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Milner received the nomination from Mayor Kevin Wood, and the board approved the appointment that will last through the remainder of Pfautsch’s term, which will be up in April 2015, at the meeting.
“Currently, the greatest challenge we face is trying to climb out of our gloomy economic doldrums, and we must work together, starting at ground level, to build ourselves back up,” Milner said. “Jobs, economic development and housing are key to our recovery. I feel it’s the duty of the Board of Aldermen to listen to citizens and get their input. Then we must work with our local businesses as we forge forward to build a better city in which to live and raise our kids.”
Milner is an alumna of Harrisonville High School and currently serves as a board member of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, the Harrisonville Chamber of Commerce and the Harrisonville Schools Bright Futures Council.
“I’m the kind of person who feels that everyone is entitled to voice their opinion, but that, by itself, is not enough,” Milner said. “We must also be willing to work hard to make a difference and improve our situation.”
Wood praised Milner’s service to the city through a variety of organizations and boards.
“Marcia has demonstrated that she is dedicated to building a strong foundation for Harrisonville that will help our city move forward,” he said. “I’m delighted that she will be joining us on the Board of Aldermen.”
Harrisonville Ward 2 resident Brian Hasek expressed his disappointment for not being appointed at the meeting.
Hasek, who lost to Pfautsch in an April 5, 2011 municipal election by six votes for the Ward 2 seat, according to certified election results from the Cass County Clerk, expressed his interest in the seat Nov. 8 to Wood following Pfautsch’s state election win.
In other business during the Dec. 3 meeting, the board presented service awards to Robert Weiss for 15 years of service and Janelle Pence-Arney for 25 years of service.
Aldermen also elected to cancel the board’s regularly-scheduled Monday, Dec. 17.
Following the adjournment of the meeting, the Harrisonville Public Safety Committee met to review the proposed disorderly conduct ordinance presented to the aldermen Nov. 19.
The disorderly conduct ordinance, proposed by Police Chief John Hofer, was drafted to help police officers in situations when a subject is acting inappropriately in public but doesn’t fall in line with an existing City of Harrisonville ordinance to do so.
The ordinance listed 16 bullet points of disorderly conduct that could be enforced, such as acting in a violent or tumultuous manner whereby property is in danger to being destroyed or damaged, making unreasonably loud noises, using profanity or obscene words, and wandering upon the private property of another, or peeking into the window or door of a habitable structure.
During the November meeting, Ward 3 Alderman Bret Reece, who also serves as chairman of the Public Safety Committee, suggested to the board to delay acting on the measure until more input can be gathered.
While developing the proposed ordinance, Hofer said he incorporated different sections from other ordinances in surrounding municipalities to enable law enforcement to deal with potentially violent situations.
The ordinance had been reviewed and recommended by Municipal Court Prosecutor Joe Cambiano, yet the majority of the aldermen felt that the ordinance needed to be more specific during the November meeting. During the Dec. 3 meeting, Reece led the committee through a walkthrough of the proposal and initiated some wording changes to clarify Hofer’s intent with the bill.
The usage of profanity in public and whether it should merit an arrest was the most controversial subject of the discussion.
“Generally speaking, I don’t want someone to say a curse word in front of my kid at Walmart, but I don’t know if it should be illegal,” Reece said. “If I leave my keys in the car and I shut the door and I don’t say ‘Shoot,’ but say a different word, the way it’s worded, I think I just committed a misdemeanor.”
Hofer assured Reece that the ordinance isn’t for the accidental slip of a swear word.
The Public Safety committee eventually came to an agreement that the resolution should read something to the effect of, “Addresses abusive language or obscene gestures to any member of the City Police Department or other authorized office of the City, who is engaged in the lawful performance of his or her duties, or any other person. Words or gestures causing displeasure, annoyance or resentment are not prohibitive.”
The committee also grappled with the wording of a section of the ordinance regarding fights and the verbal exchange of “fighting words.”
The resolution will go back to the municipal court prosecutor for review before the Board of Alderman will take any further action.