ASH GROVE, Mo. — Greene County Commissioner Bob Cirtin held the first town hall in a series of meetings scheduled for the next couple of months.
Although the purpose of these meetings is to inform citizens about projects in their neighborhoods, inevitably, questions came up about the investigation of county leaders and how they handled a sales tax that passed last year.
Two voters showed up with clipboards prepared to collect signatures to petition for a public audit.
During the meeting, Commissioner Cirtin talked about the jail expansion, a family justice center planned for the county, and $200,000 a year that will be set aside for projects in municipalities.
“All the things we wanted to do with the tax revenue that voters passed last November,” Cirtin said.
But during the meeting, questions came up about the investigation by the Missouri Ethics Commission.
“That’s the point of doing this,” Cirtin said. “Those things that I can talk about, I definitely want to respond to any questions anybody has.”
Harold Letner, a Greene County voter, was collecting signatures demanding a public audit.
“And then the auditor gets blocked from coming in and that bothers me,” he said.
During the meeting, he asked why the Commission didn’t allow the State Auditor to investigate.
“We decided to go straight to the one state agency who is mandated by statute to investigate these kinds of complaints,” Cirtin responded.
The Commissioner said he is cooperating and the facts will soon come out.
“We have given them every document that they have asked for. We have given them every person that they asked for, including me,” he said.
Some voters attending the meeting said they are confident in the Commission’s transparency, but Letner says he’s not.
“I think he’s a good politician. He has the right answers,” he said. “I am not convinced.”
He says what’s more disappointing, though, is the number of people who are not getting involved.
“We are talking about county officials, a local election, a local situation. No matter which side of the issue they are on, they should be here and stand up. This is local. This is our county,” he said.
Commissioner Bob Cirtin is running for re-election, currently against State Senator Bob Dixon and former Representative Sarah Lampe.
Cirtin will be holding several of these town hall meetings in the coming months. The next one will be in Springfield next Thursday.