Harrisonville Ward 4 Board of Alderman Bill Mollenhour is stepping down from his elected position after seven years in office.
Mayor Kevin Wood announced the resignation July 21 at the city’s regular board of aldermen meeting.
The alderman’s term was set to expire next April, but in a letter to the city staff and other aldermen dated on July 8, Mollenhour, 65, said he is moving to Richmond.
“It is with regret that I tender my resignation as alderman,” said Mollenhour, in the letter. “I have enjoyed a productive seven years which could have been even more so were it not for the negative (in most cases incorrect) information spread with regard to items such as the sales tax initiatives and combined city hall/police station.”
In the letter, Mollenhour said his wife, who works as an art teacher in Richmond, has been unable to find work closer to the area.
“We have decided for safety (maybe sanity) it would be better for her to reside in Richmond,” he said. “I plan to drive up there after work on Thursdays and return Tuesday mornings to continue to treat patients in my Garden City office.”
Mollenhour, a dentist, said he plans to move his family back to Harrisonville in about two years.
During his most recent years in office, Mollenhour was the target of several disgruntled citizens over a nagging question about his residency, as one of the requirements listed in the Missouri Revised Statutes Section 79.070, states an aldermen must be “an inhabitant and resident of the city for one year next preceding his or her election, and a resident, at the time he or she files and during the time he or she serves, of the ward from which he or she is elected.”
Mollenhour never defended the allegations, at least publicly.
Last summer, Harrisonville resident Walter Cook challenged the city’s aldermen to submit photocopies of their driver’s licenses to City Clerk Kim Hubbard to prove their residency within Harrisonville.
“I would like to see if any of the elected officials would be willing to show their driver’s license and make it a part of the official record,” Cook told the alderman.
Cook’s challenge stemmed from more public documents he found that Mollenhour has listed his residential address outside of the city.
Cook provided a copy of a marriage application to the Cass County Democrat Missourian from the Bates County Recorder of Deeds Lucille Mundy, completed by Mollenhour on Nov. 9, 2012.
In the application, Mollenhour stated his address as 34504 E. 271st St., Garden City.
Harrisonville resident Errol Durbin was also public about the issue. He brought forth a lawsuit against Mollenhour, alleging residency discrepancies and impersonating a qualified candidate.
In court documents pertaining to the case, Mollenhour’s address was listed in Garden City. This is the same address that was listed as a single family/owner occupied property on the alderman’s 2011 tax receipt, as well as the address he gave the court during a paternity suit in the same year.
However, Mollenhour’s Declaration of Candidacy to run as an alderman signed on Jan. 10, 2011 lists his residence as 501 Pheasant, Harrisonville.
The case was eventually dismissed in court.
Cook had also previously filed a complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission about the residency issue.
The commission dismissed the case as the allegation was unsubstantiated and the investigation did not show reasonable grounds for a violation of Section 79 by Mollenhour as there was no evidence that he did not meet the residency requirements of the law.
In his letter, Mollenhour did leave a question to his residency in the past few years.
“We continue to seek a suitable and acceptable home within the city limits of Harrisonville. We do this because this is the town in which we would like (to) raise our daughter and the excellent educational system from which she will graduate,” he said. “On a positive note for us, we will not be constrained to Ward 4 in our search as we have been for the past three years.”
Wood said an announcement of Mollenhour’s appointed replacement will be made soon.
“We will miss him,” Wood said. “If you see Bill, thank him for his service.”