Scott City, MO police chief reinstated after mayor, city administrator resign

Scott City Mayor Ron Cummins (courtesy: KFVS)
Scott City Mayor Ron Cummins (courtesy: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)
(Source: Mike Mohundro, KFVS)

SCOTT CITY, MO (KFVS) - A longtime city council member in Scott City, Missouri is acting as mayor after the mayor and city administrator resigned.

According to City Councilman Gary Spinks, the two resigned on Monday, August 14.

Longtime City Council member Norman Brant has taken over the position of mayor. He said former mayor Ron Cummins and Diann Ulmer contacted him late Monday afternoon.

Brant said Cummins felt the way the city has been torn apart wasn't going to get any better if he stayed in office.  He left, Brant said, in hopes of the community healing and coming back together.

State Representative Holly Rehder said she is waiting to discuss the matter with council members before going forward with an investigation into Cummins.

"I'll wait and discuss with the council members, incoming mayor and chief of police and go on their wishes," Rehder said.

Tuesday night City Council meeting

A meeting took place on Tuesday, Aug. 15 where the council discussed political turmoil in Scott City and tried to calm the chaos.

The City Administrator followed up with the council on pay due and where items are for a state audit that could be coming to the city.

The police chief who stepped down one week earlier was re-instated and he said that he's excited to get back to police work and his officers are happy to have him back. He also discussed how with the possible changes coming to the city he can be a steady prescense.

"Thank you for reinstating me," said Chief Leeman. "I believe not only the city but the department needs some stability moving forward and I think I can be a big part of that."

In the closed session the council will also look into hiring new officers to replenish their police force.

Some people continue to question the former mayor Ron Cummins and said they would like to see Scott City stop playing political games.

Was the mayor of Scott City overstepping his bounds?

Currently, he's facing a petition to have him impeached and a call for state police to investigate.

Former Mayor Ron Cummins said he's bringing positive changes to Scott City, and not everyone likes it.

"I was elected on the basis that there needed to be change and improvement," Cummins said over the phone. "Anytime you take action to change things, there's always resistance."

"Seems like our town has gotten out of hand," said resident Cindi Davidson Brashear. "It's scary because a lot of us have a lot of pride in this town. And it's my hometown."

Brashear organized the petition effort calling for Cummins to be impeached.

Since Cummins took office in January, several long-term city employees have suddenly resigned or retired.

City records show former City Administrator Ron Eskew actually signed a resignation letter someone else wrote for him.

"I've been told by multiple sources that the police chief was told if he didn't resign, he was going to be fired," said State Representative Holly Rehder.

Rehder said she's received numerous complaints about ordinance violations, voided tickets, and misuse of city money.

"For all of these different types of concerns coming to me from my constituents, to me I think that it's very important to have it investigated from an outside source," she said. "Investigate this. See what's truth, what's not. And bring justice to it."

Rehder reached out to the Attorney General's office and Scott County Sheriff Wes Drury, calling for a highway patrol investigation.

Drury said Scott City remains four police officers down, which makes public safety his top concern.

"And when you start being short officers they will look at us for back up," he said. "And we don't mind backing up, but we've got 17 cities and village in this county that we help and assist as well."

When I asked if he thought he was overstepping his bounds, Mayor Cummins said, "the mayor takes responsibility for the actions of the city and with that I have a wonderful support crew, city administrator, a great council and city attorney. They direct me on how to handle things."

The current Scott City Administrator, Diann Ulmer, left a letter detailing steps to appoint an interim Police Chief following the retirement of Chief David Leeman and the effort to hire additional officers.

However, Ulmer also made mention of a Human Rights Complaint filed by two former city employees.

While she could not comment on the complaints, her letter confirmed they had been filed.

Another big change in Scott City, the move to one council meeting a month, and one monthly payment to city vendors.

Joyce Roth at Roth Hardware said after she questioned Cummins about it, she heard this from city board members.

"We were told not to do business with you anymore," said Roth. "And to go to Cape if we need to purchase anything. I thought, why?  Just because I disagreed or asked the mayor questions?  That don't make sense."

Mayor Cummins said the city is still doing business with Roth Hardware and he hasn't terminated any employee since he took office in January.

"And I believe employees understand when I entered office that the people of Scott City wanted to see positive change."

Cummins believed a small group of citizens opposed to his election win are behind what he calls "misinformation" being spread about him and his actions.

Representative Rehder said she has heard from people on both sides of the political fence, along with former and current city employees concerned about what's taking place.

We will continue following developments in Scott City and bring you updates as they are made available.

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