After weeks of scrutiny inside Council Chambers and on professional and social media, Lee's Summit City Council member Diane Forte has resigned her post as Council Liaison to the Parks Board.
The liaison position is an appointment made by the Council's Mayor Pro tem. Forte was recently re-assigned the position by new Mayor Pro tem Rob Binney. But the assignment was quickly protested by newly elected Council member Chris Moreno after he was informed, Forte's business, Diane Forte Enterprises, had been retained to provide services for the Parks Board.
According Missouri law, elected city officials are prohibited from doing business with the city in which they serve, unless the amount is less than $500. If the amount exceeds that limit, a public competitive bid process is required.
Forte's business filled two orders from the parks department for trophies given to volunteers, one in 2015 for $768 and the second in 2016 for $1,170. Forte said she has filed both transactions with the Missouri Ethics Commission. In her statement, she said the violation of the state law was a misunderstanding of the rules and that she was resigning the liaison post, because this issue was becoming a distraction to both the work of the Council and the Parks and Recreation Department.
You can view the full segment of last week's Council meeting concerning this issue here.
Because the dispute has sparked a slew of attention from area media and social media outlets, Mayor Randy Rhoads chose to open the Council session by reading a statement aimed at refocusing the body's attention to other matters and efforts to keep the City's image in a positive light.