Poplar Bluff city manager fired - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff


Poplar Bluff city manager fired

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - There is a big shake up in Poplar Bluff.

After just nine months on the job, we've learned City Manager Heath Kaplan has been fired. Mayor Betty Absheer released this statement on Wednesday:

"On May 12, 2015, the city council voted to terminate its employment contract with City Manager Heath Kaplan. The council made the decision based on the best interests of the city of Poplar Bluff and Heath Kaplan. The council is eager to move forward and to continue to serve the needs of the community."

Assistant City Manager Mark Massingham will serve as interim city manager.

The next council meeting will be Monday, May 18.

"I'm just looking forward to moving forward the agenda of the council," Health Kaplan said last August when asked him about his plans for Poplar Bluff.

But now, Kaplan is apparently gone. Unnamed sources confirm Kaplan called Tuesday night his last night on the job.

Behind closed doors, the council met to discuss personnel and litigation.

Exactly what happened, will be made public soon. Councilman Ed DeGaris said just last month, he told the council hundreds of citizens have reached out to him, saying they are "quickly losing confidence in city government" and in Kaplan's ability to do his job.

"People weren't afraid to speak out and give their opinion," said DeGaris. "And we appreciate it. That's who we represent and we need to hear what they want."

While he wouldn't go into detail about those concerns, some locals told Heartland News it's a conversation repeated around town.

"Oh yes. I've heard many opinions," said Leslie Hathaway. "I work the public and I hear many opinions. (Are they good or bad?) Bad. I really don't think I've heard anything good."

But the council is now focused on moving forward and working to restore the trust of their constituents.

"We live here," said DeGaris. "We love our town and we back our citizens. We realize that's who put us here and we're here to do their will and do what's best for the city."

Kaplan is a Michigan native who came to Bluff after serving in Muskegon County.

He took over for Doug Bagby, who had been fired after 11 years on the job.

We will continued digging on this story and bring you any updates as they become available.

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