BRANSON, Mo. — The Mayor of Branson, Missouri promised transparency at Tuesday night’s Board of Aldermen meeting after the board held two closed sessions in one week and put the City Administrator Stan Dobbins on leave.

The board voted to put Dobbins on leave on April 19, 2022 after the board’s first closed session of the week. Dobbins was scheduled to retire on April 30. Lisa Westfall, the city clerk, was been named the Acting City Administrator. 

A second closed session was held Friday, April 22.

The board was also informed that week that two members of the city’s Finance Committee were fired, including Finance Director Jamie Rouch.

The board’s first regularly scheduled meeting after the closed session was held Tuesday, April 26. It was during that meeting that former Branson Alderman Bill Skains spoke.

“The staff that you got out there are all worried if whether they’re going to have jobs,” Skains said. “I think there needs to be statements of confirmation from you all as a group. I think you all know everyone out there is trying to do their best.”

Skains served as Ward One Alderman in Branson between 2018 and 2022. In April 2022, voters elected Marshall Howden to serve in that seat. Howden is one of three new members of the Branson BOA. Skains said he is concerned about what the new board has done since April.

“Branson does not need this,” Skains said. “Gentleman, you three were not elected to conduct business like this.”

Branson Mayor Larry Milton said personnel matters fall into the list of reasons the board can go into executive session. The Board of Aldermen can go into a closed session to discuss personnel, legal, and real estate matters.

“If you worked for a Company and the company wanted to discuss your salary, discuss your performance, talk about anything personal, firing you, I don’t think any one of you would want to sit in front of the stage and have this discussion in front of the entire company,” Milton said at Tuesday’s meeting. “And I hope you agree with that.”

Milton said the Board of Aldermen had nothing to do with the termination of the employment of Rouch and the other finance employee.

“The city administrator notified the board and by direction of legal counsel, took the action that city administrator and city legal thought was appropriate,” Milton said.

Though Milton said he believes the topics discussed in executive sessions are personal, he does want to make sure transparency is a focus of Branson’s BOA.

“This board is committed, and I mean committed, to open transparency to the public and actions speak louder than words so over time you will see this board being more and more transparent,” said Milton.