The abrupt departure of longtime Pacific Police Chief Matt Mansell, has left city official scrambling to find his replacement.
City Attorney Bob Jones briefed aldermen at their June 16 board meeting regarding the official process of replacing Mansell, who announced his unexpected retirement, effective June 27. Since he is an elected official, his replacement is governed by Missouri State Stature
Missouri law (79.280) provides as follows: “If a vacancy occurs in any elective office, the mayor or the person exercising the duties of the mayor shall cause a special meeting of the board of aldermen to convene where a successor to the vacant office shall be selected by appointment by the mayor with the advice and consent of a majority of the remaining members of the board of aldermen…The successor shall serve until the next regular municipal election.”
A Pacific ordinance mandates the city marshal/police chief live within the city’s limits; must have been a Pacific resident for at least one year; and outlines the level of education and experience that professional should have.
While Mansell had expressed his wishes that Pacific Police Capt. Don Locke serve as assistant police chief and leader of the force until the next public election in April 2022, Locke does not reside within Pacific’s city limits.
“This is a retirement and development we weren’t anticipating. While the ordinance related to the public election of the marshal can’t be changed to include anyone outside of the city’s limits, we are committed to securing candidates with the highest level of education and someone who fits with the culture of Pacific,” said Pacific Mayor Steve Myers.
In other action during the meeting, recently elected city representatives were sworn in including: Dan Leslie, municipal judge; Butch Frick, Ward 1 alderman; Herbert Adams, Ward 2 alderman; and Drew Stotler, Ward 3 alderman.
Ed Gass, former alderman whose recent term ended with this year’s municipal election, was recognized with a proclamation at the same meeting. As a lifelong resident of Pacific, Gass has firsthand knowledge of local matters from multiple perspectives, after serving as a Pacific city employee for 41 years — 30 of which as public works commissioner.
He left the city’s payroll in 2007. After five years of retirement, in 2012 he ran for the Ward 1 seat on the board of aldermen, and was elected that April.
He was re-elected in 2014. He did not seek re-election in 2016, but ran again in 2018 and won.
Myers said Gass began helping the community when he was 15 or 16 years old by setting up the first playground equipment near the city’s pool. Pacific City Administrator Steve Roth said Gass has been an excellent resource to him and trust he will remain so in the future.
Alderwoman Carol Johnson said Gass was “the most hands-on person” the city’s ever had. “You will be missed, but we know where to find you,” she quipped to him.
Celebration on June 27
Sporting the theme of “Stay Strong Pacific,” organizers confirm the Pacific Partnership group will host a Summer Block Party Saturday, June 27, from 4 to 11 p.m. Live performers will be Out by 9 and the Jeremiah Johnson Band. Food will be available and city fireworks follow at dusk.
A public forum is scheduled for Monday, June 29, at 6 p.m. at Pacific City Hall, 300 N. Hoven Drive, to review the planning consultant’s initial recommendations for city parks. This meeting was rescheduled after the original March 24 meeting was canceled due to COVID-19.
“We attempted to proceed in an online capacity but didn’t get the level of input we wanted, so rescheduled that March forum for this date,” said City Administrator Steve Roth.
No Ballpark Parking
Aldermen passed an ordinance on June 16 that expands the existing “No Ballpark Parking” area near the Pacific Youth Association complex to include the section of West Pacific between Sixth Street and the BNSF railroad tracks. However, city officials are looking into other areas to possibly increase ballpark parking.
A resolution was passed that authorizes Pacific city staffers to apply for $50,000 in funding from the Franklin County Transportation Grant program. Funding would be used for the 2020 Preventive Pavement Maintenance Program (Lamar Parkway and Payne Street). Roth said the application is due by June 30.
Aldermen authorized the mayor to enter into a service agreement with nonprofit Pacific Partnership representatives to conduct the city’s annual rodeo event Oct. 2-3 at Liberty Field Park. Following the rodeo’s completion, the agreement indicates Pacific will provide $2,500 to the Partnership for managing and producing the event.
From the city’s general fund, Pacific officials will pay directly for the following rodeo-related costs: bleacher seating, fencing, stage, stage lighting, musical sound system, advertising costs up to a maximum budget of $2,500, and musical bands or performers up to a maximum budget of $1,000.