THE CHICKEN LITTLE ARGUMENT
When Charlie McElyea tried to justify his actions in suspending the Sunshine Law, he gave Leslie Chamberlin a particular example of how his invoices could be potentially damaging. In that example, he offered the case of “John Smith”, who might be damaged as a result of McElyea’s billing statements becoming public. It was a curious example, particularly in light of recent events inside the Camden County Courthouse.
Consider the case of recently resigned Camden County Planning and Zoning administrator, Don Hathaway. On Wednesday, March 19, one day after McElyea’s suspension of law, Hathaway, who left a clear pattern of abuse of his position and an ignorance of the very ULC he was being paid to administer, offered his resignation to the County.
Hathaway’s reign over Camden County P and Z was highlighted by a two-week suspension he served from October 25 through November 15, 2013. Local media reported on this suspension. No official reasons were given for Hathaway’s being placed on unpaid leave.
Hathaway spat a string of allegations at Second District Commissioner Cliff Luber before he scuttled out the door. In that tirade, Hathaway seemed to set the stage for litigation.
Camden County Planning and Zoning Administrator Don Hathaway announced his resignation last night, citing public “slanderous” comments by 2nd District Commissioner Cliff Luber and others as the reason.
Hathaway read his letter of resignation to the P&Z Commission at the Wednesday, March 19 commission meeting. Luber as well as Camden County Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken were in attendance.
Hathaway pointed to constant “back handed insults, interrogation and reprimand” and the “defamation of [his] character” in the media by Luber. He stated Luber’s comments in the media were typically infused with “self interpretations of the facts that shows a lack of total respect for due process and the authority of others.” “His lack of knowledge in the subject is apparent as he seeks to interpret rules and codes to the selection of his agenda,” Hathaway said.
In the letter, Hathaway also said:
“I have weathered the storm of criticism and budget restrictions. But it is impossible to manage a department without proper staff in which to fulfill the needs of the community. My goal here was to work with all residents of the county to build a better system of land use control. Implementation of Code revisions and adoption of modern technical specifications that meet the needs of this community were quickly identified as necessary priorities, along with achieving compliance with the regulatory laws of this state and the federal government for which we are governed.
“The task here is difficult enough to insure consistent code interpretation that is not arbitrary and capricious, without a hostile work environment being created by Luber, on a regular basis.
“It is because of Mr. Luber, and the continued harassment of me and my staff, that I submit my notice of resignation. I am unwilling to work in a position that cannot realize the necessary goals we set out to achieve. I will not work with a man who has engaged in misuse of his powers to thwart the efforts of this administration, and myself, in our duties and obligations to the people of Camden County.
“My frustration over the last year has diminished the quality of life I sought to maintain here for my family in your employment.”
Hathaway has been employed with the county for two years, six months and according to county policy he will work 30 days after submitting his letter of resignation.
After reading the letter, Hathaway said, “My thanks to the planning commission for their service – it has been a pleasure serving with you all.”
Hathaway, in reading his resignation letter, attempted to deflect the blame for his abominable performance as P&Z administrator toward Commissioner Cliff Luber. The language chosen by Hathaway, the use of terms such as “defamation of character”, “slanderous” and “Due Process” are not chosen by accident.
In his unmitigated arrogance, Hathaway would seek to set the stage for a lawsuit against Camden County for his needing to resign due to stress inflicted on him because a Camden County Commissioner was asking him to do the job he was hired to do! This notion, for the tax payers of the county, is both laughable and offensive.
It is also the ‘Chicken Little’ logic McElyea seeks to use to hide his billing. The sky is falling! The sky is falling! Hathaway could potentially sue the county! Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
It is fear mongering the citizens of Camden County and parents and taxpayers in the Camdenton school district are all to familiar with. Jackie Schulte parroted the same ‘Chicken Little’ logic during a recent Q and A with the Lake Sun. It is steeped in flawed legal arguments made by attorney’s who would seek to assume authority in our institutions. It is the same ‘logic’ peddled by snake oil salesmen from the law firm of Mickes, Goldman and O’Toole and lawyers for the unelected, private organization, the MSBA (Missouri School Board Association) in our lake area schools. The ‘Chicken Little’ argument is being used to assume authority not granted under law.
HATHAWAY’S REVISIONIST FAIRYTALE
If former Planning and Zoning administrator Hathaway, with his rich history of abusing his office and county employees and his obvious ignorance of the ULC itself, wants to file a lawsuit to and blame Camden County for his resignation, let him.
In his resignation letter, Hathaway desperately attempted to point the finger of blame at Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber. Hathaway pointed to “back handed insults, interrogation and reprimand” from Luber.
With regards to claims of “interrogation and reprimand”, it would seem that Hathaway didn’t care for anyone asking him to follow the ULC and the rule of law. Nor did he want anyone questioning his actions. He didn’t want the elected representatives of Camden County to interfere in his ‘administration’ of Planning and Zoning.
What Hathaway neglected to mention, is that several citizens, business owners and prospective developers have registered complaints about his lawless behavior. Local business owners Theresa Townsend, Gary Prewitt and Herb and Barb Morris have all taken complaints and documentation before the County Commission regarding the administration of Planning and Zoning.
More recently, the Monday before Hathaway gave his resignation, a developer who has been stuck in Hathaway’s P and Z purgatory met with Kris Franken. This developer had serious complaints regarding Hathaway’s treatment of him through Planning and Zoning. It is unclear if this is the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.
Hathaway’s selective, punitive, abusive ‘administration’ of Planning and Zoning was not confined to his department. In the case of Theresa Townsend, it was extended to, and took root in the Camden County Sheriff’s Department.
Hathaway also went on to claim, as reported by Lakeexpo.com:
…”defamation of [his] character” in the media by Luber. He stated Luber’s comments in the media were typically infused with “self interpretations of the facts that shows a lack of total respect for due process and the authority of others.” “His lack of knowledge in the subject is apparent as he seeks to interpret rules and codes to the selection of his agenda,” Hathaway said.
Apparently, criticizing gross negligence by a government entity or agent can be translated as “defamation”. Cliff Luber, as the elected representative of the Second District of Camden County, referred to the case of Sugarloaf Winery, as one of many reasons for concern regarding how P&Z was being administered under Hathaway.
Hathaway claimed Luber’s criticism and “self interpretations of the facts that shows a lack of total respect for due process and the authority of others.”
These claims are at odds with the record. In fact, it was Commissioner Luber who, as a result of a recent unilateral attempt to rewrite Article 800 by Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken, presented articles related to the procedure of any modification of the ULC. This presentation of articles related to proposed revisions to the ULC, and subsequent editorials, clearly show a desire for both “due process” and respect for the “authority of others”, despite Hathaway’s assertions to the contrary.
Prior to the February 19th P&Z meeting, the Planning & Zoning Administrator complained to Commissioner Thomas regarding the manner in which Art. 800 was being introduced by Mr. Franken, in particular coming from one commissioner rather than the Planning Commission. The Planning & Zoning Administrator then stated a sudden reversal in the P&Z meeting and claimed to have asked Commissioner Franken to write it, months ago. (See audio from February 19th P&Z Meeting) Since the P&Z Administrator now “claims” he requested Commissioner Franken rewrite Art. 800, and the anticipation of receiving such a re-write, when does P&Z anticipate the forming of a review committee?
Art. 1402 of the ULUC states: Whenever a request to amend the Unified Land Use Code or the Zoning Map is initiated by the County Commission, The Planning Commission, or the Board Of Adjustment, the Planning Administrator, in consultation with legal counsel, shall draft the appropriate language and present it to the Planning Commission so that a date for a public hearing may be established.” It appears evident Mr. Franken does not have the authority to request/submit a change to the ULUC without a request/vote by the County Commission. There was no such meeting or vote.
Section 1402, subsection (2) does allow for a citizen to request a change to the ULUC, providing they fill out the proper Planning & Zoning paperwork, and pay a ridiculous fee of $1,000.00. Given Mr. Franken is an elected official, I do not believe he qualifies as a citizen in respect to requesting a change through that venue.
In Art. 1402, It appears the P&Z Administrator does not possess the authority to request of a Commissioner, or anyone to rewrite any portion of the ULUC. It states the Planning & Zoning Administrator, in consultation with legal counsel, shall draft the appropriate language and present it to the Planning Commission.
The ULUC requirement for a County Commission, Planning Commission, or Board Of Adjustment, to make such a request to the Planning Administrator, is intended to not allow a government of one to submit a unilateral request that could be either beneficial or negatively prejudicial on a citizen(s) or business in this community. These three entities are each a board and there is a reason it specifies such. It’s called checks and balances.
Clearly, Luber is not dismissing the “authority of others” or “due process”. He is instead attempting to preserve the checks and balances that are established in the ULC.
Hathaway went on to say the following about Commissioner Luber:
“His lack of knowledge in the subject is apparent as he seeks to interpret rules and codes to the selection of his agenda.”
This is an ironic statement, coming from the former Planning and Zoning administrator. In one example of Hathaway’s ignorance of the ULC, the P&Z department, under Hathaway, cost the county tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees pursuing anonymous complaints. This is an action specifically prohibited by the Camden County ULC that Hathaway was paid to adhere to.
To claim that Luber has an “agenda” in insisting that Planning and Zoning be administered equitably and according to the rule of law, is ridiculous. It is a desperate attempt to deflect attention from the campaign in which Hathaway has only played a bit part, the role of willing thug for special interests.
During Hathaway’s dramatic resignation, he went on to say:
The task here is difficult enough to insure consistent code interpretation that is not arbitrary and capricious, without a hostile work environment being created by Luber, on a regular basis.
Here, Hathaway attempts to paint a picture of a brutish Commissioner, creating an untenable environment in the workplace. He points the finger of blame for an a “hostile work environment” at Cliff Luber. It is, according to Hathaway, Luber’s fault that the P & Z department he leaves behind is toxic.
What Hathaway didn’t mention, but what the historical record shows, is that more than one former employee of the Camden County Courthouse can dispel this claim. According to their accounts, a “hostile work environment” in Camden County Planning and Zoning existed under administrator Don Hathaway prior to Cliff Luber ever being elected to office.
Hathaway went on with his fairytale:
It is because of Mr. Luber, and the continued harassment of me and my staff, that I submit my notice of resignation. I am unwilling to work in a position that cannot realize the necessary goals we set out to achieve. I will not work with a man who has engaged in misuse of his powers to thwart the efforts of this administration, and myself, in our duties and obligations to the people of Camden County.
A rough translation of this double-speak from Hathaway:
Because Cliff Luber refuses to allow me to continue my ritualistic abuse of office, I quit. I cannot work in a place where I am not allowed to disregard which parts of the ULC I see fit, as I see fit. I cannot work in an environment where I am supposed to be held accountable! These demands for honesty, integrity and fairness have made it impossible for me to fulfill the wishes of Lord Sausage, Joe Roeger and Kim Krostue and his PAC of hyenas, Citizens for a Better Government. I will not work with a man who demands openness, transparency and accountability in my department! It is outrageous!
Particular emphasis should be placed on this statement, made by Hathaway:
I am unwilling to work in a position that cannot realize the necessary goals we set out to achieve.
As previously mentioned, Hathaway was placed on unpaid suspension last October. When he returned to administer his brand of Planning and Zoning ‘administration’, he had a section of cheerleaders. A rally was held in support of Hathaway and the abusive practices he had engaged in while serving as administrator of Camden County Planning and Zoning.
All of the Usual Suspects were in attendance that November morning. Kim Krostue was there. So was Lake Area Chamber ambassador and Bridge Corporation representative Joe Roeger. As were other members of the newly christened PAC of hyenas. This PAC functions in part as a vehicle with which to funnel money to candidates willing to sell their services to the highest bidder.
Kim Krostue, a part-time Lake of the Ozarks resident and prominent member and office holder in the Camden County Republican Club announced the formation of his Political Action Committee. This hyena PAC quickly set about trying to silence anyone who would question the status quo.
The PAC sent a letter to the ownership of Viper Communications, parent company of 97.5 KRMS. KRMS, a talk radio show that has long featured segments with Camden County Commissioners Luber and Franken, heeded the threats written between the lines by Krostue. They wanted Luber’s questions to stop. They made a clear effort to conceal questions and problems in Planning and Zoning that currently finds the department the subject of an inquiry by the State Attorney General’s office and the Missouri Ethics Commission.
This was not the group’s only example of media manipulation. Last Tuesday, a forum for candidates running for Camdenton school board was sponsored by the Camden County Republican Club. Suzie Johnson, the Porto Cima Princess, told Lake TV’s Shawn Kober that there was no such event scheduled. She hadn’t heard anything about it. As a result, Lake TV did not cover the event, where in status quo candidates and Lake Area Chambers of Fascism darlings Selynn Barbour and Jackie Schulte focused on fundraisers and social events, maintaining the illusion that everything is hunky-dory in the district.
As discussed in ‘Camdenton, Missouri School Districts About Local Control’, the hyena PAC of the usual suspects represents the both the march and machinery of local fascism. By endorsing government officials and departments that are being used punitively and aggressively against the citizens of Camden County and by seeking to silence those who would question this abuse, Krostue, Roeger and their PAC have identified themselves clearly.
They stand in clear support of government that would overreach. They stand in clear support of those who would abuse their offices in order to ensure the ‘status quo’ is maintained, regardless of the cost.
They stand in support of the jaw-dropping atrocities committed against the Lagares family, as many of the government entities and officials supported by the PAC, have been named as Defendants in a Federal lawsuit, filed under ‘color of law’.
Amy Wilson of the Lake Sun took special note of the PAC and their cronies, huddled together during Hathaway’s resignation:
Near Hathaway sat Franken and some members of the political action committee, Coalition for Better Government.
The PAC of hyenas were firmly in support of the tactics displayed by Hathaway during his controversial time in office, to the bitter end. This comes as no surprise. The arbitrary application of rules and laws is what has paved the way for projects such as the proposed 242 expansion, while leaving glaring problems in other communities and areas to wither, such as the west end of Osage Beach and the Key Largo intersection.
Hathaway was the perfect administrator for this type of arbitrary application of Planning and Zoning. He had no reservations about using his office and department to advance the agenda of special interests at the Lake of the Ozarks. The record he has left in his wake clearly demonstrates a dereliction of the duties he was paid to perform. As mentioned previously, this history is highlighted by the unpaid suspension Hathaway served last October/November.
As reported above and in ‘County Attorney Threatens Lawsuit Against County…?’, Charlie Mac floated as one in a flurry of excuses for his breaking the law, the idea that if a bill contained an employee’s name, they could sue the County. If his office were ignorant enough to put an employee’s name on a billing statement, subject to Sunshine Law, then Charlie Mac would find himself in hot water. It would be his lack of legal foresight and disregard for confidentiality that would lead to the county being inadvertently exposed in this way. That type of legal malpractice could end in serious repercussions, beyond the relatively minor crime of unilaterally suspending Sunshine Law.
The taxpayers of Camden County would certainly hope that a partner in the law firm of Phillips, McElyea, Carpenter and Welch would know better than leaving this type of information available to the public.
Taking McElyea’s “John Smith” example and applying it to, Don Hathaway for example, might make for some interesting reading.
Unfortunately for the Citizens of Camden County who would like to read a saucy tale of government corruption and scandal, they would be disappointed to find that Charlie Mac apparently has a lick of legal sense.
The billing statement below, one of dozens reviewed by Theresa Townsend and Leslie Chamberlin, reflects some interesting dates and information. For example, it shows several calls regarding ‘PERSONNEL’ between McElyea and Commission, both individually and as a whole between November 18th-19th. Unfortunately for the rumor mill, the statement does not identify who these calls were about, nor does it detail what the calls regarded.
While there is an entry of ‘CONFERENCE CALL DON HATHAWAY RE:COMPLAINT’ also listed on the 19th of November, there is no further information given. It does not discuss what type of complaint this conference call was regarding. It does not indicate who, other than McElyea and Hathaway, might have been on this call. There is no reason to assume this is anything but part of the normal course of business for Planning and Zoning. Complaints relating to Planning and Zoning have been endemic during Hathaway’s tenure, a fact he acknowledged in his resignation:
“I was informed at the onset of my employment that my position was historically one of debate and controversy.”
An entry on November 20th bears a similar notation from McElyea, again mentioning Don Hathaway.
As all of these calls took place after Hathaway’s reinstatement from his unpaid suspension, it is difficult to say with any degree of certainty that any of the calls listed on this invoice had to do with poor behavior on Hathaway’s part.
McElyea regularly billed the county for calls with Hathaway with respect to Planning and Zoning. In fact, the P and Z department had an immense budget overrun in legal fees in 2013. Thousands of dollars were hemorrhaged during Hathaway’s tenure.
None of these many conference calls uncovered the fact Planning and Zoning were racking up extra fees pursuing anonymous complaints, unfortunately.
This example of the ‘concerns’ McElyea expressed with his “John Smith” fears and ‘Chicken Little’ logic appear to be unfounded. Charlie Mac is competent enough to not expose the county with damaging details of employee misconduct in his billing statements, as one would hope. McElyea has served as the attorney for Camden County for many years…
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