At the February 5 Augusta City Council meeting, Council Member Justin Londagin made a motion to remove Rob Chandler from the Park Advisory Board two months before his term expired. Londagin cited Chandler’s poor attendance as the reason. The council voted 5-2 to remove Chandler and replace him with Clair Carpenter. Carpenter is the daughter of former 75th District State Rep. Will Carpenter, R-El Dorado. She will serve the rest of Chandler’s term and a term expiring in 2020. Click here to view video of the meeting. Discussion of the matter begins at 2:05:38. Chandler sent the following e-mail to the council:
Dear Mayor Childers and Augusta City Council,
I want to take this time and honestly thank you for allowing me to be apart of the process of continually serving my fellow citizens of Augusta. It has been an honor to be involved with a board that advised a city council that looked further down the road for improvements in a community that I have spent my entire life in. I’ve seen a lot of changes and been apart of those changes. Changes that have brought people and pride into Augusta. This email will have a lot of “I’s” in it and I apologize in advance. I’ve never liked to toot my own horn or publicly broadcast my acolytes but I’m cashing my chips in and laying them out for all to see.
It’s sad that I even have to do this for such a menial action but I feel I have to defend my character since this action occurred in a public venue and was broadcast live and archived for public viewing. This is of concern because I work in law enforcement and people see me on a daily basis. There are certain standards that apply to my agency and others that require a good moral character that the public needs and expects. When there are accusations made that reflect poorly on my character I need to defend myself. People need to know that they can count on me to be there for them in time of need. I fear that this untimely public display of arrogance might reflect poorly upon me and have consequences in my ability to have the trust of the people I serve. Being that I did not have the opportunity to defend myself I feel that it is necessary for me write this email.
I was informed by Cody Sims on February 07, 2018 at approximately 0845 that the city council had voted to remove me from my position on the Park Board. I was shocked to say the least. I realize that it’s a volunteer position that comes with a three year term. It might seem insignificant to the common person but I can tell you that I took great pride in serving. I enjoyed knowing that I was apart of something that improved the daily lives of my kids, their friends and families, and those that I don’t know. I can’t tell you how many times people that knew I was on the board would complement the accomplishments of the city. It would always make me smile.
Cody stated that it was his responsibility to inform me of the action of removal. I don’t want to include everything that was said between Cody and I for the fear of reprisal from the council. He did not speak ill of anyone or cast council in a negative spotlight. Cody is a fine man and does a wonderful job. I’ve always enjoyed visiting with him. I will say that Cody was taken back, as well as others, by this action.
I’ve learned that Councilman Justin Londagin took this action upon himself. I assume he wanted to put some friend of his in my place but couldn’t wait until my term expired in April. Why the urgent action is beyond me unless there is something stewing that we aren’t aware of. Londagin publicly stated that since his election he has only seen me one time. If this was truly the case I would have personally vacated my seat with respect. I can tell you this is not the case. I have missed meetings but have made almost all the joint meetings with the city council. For Londagin to say this was very dishonest and disrespectful. I would have expected more from a public servant who I actually voted for.
Park Board meetings a very infrequent and there is not a calendar with set meeting dates. These meetings are set up maybe 2 weeks in advance. I get my work schedule a month in advance so I know when I’m available. We are sent an email asking what days we would be available to meet. I’ve always confirmed my availability. There were two times when the date I said I was available was not chosen because of the availability of other members. So I was unable to attend. If members that confirmed did not show up for the meetings then that was not my fault. That fault lies directly on those members. I missed September 29th, 2016 because I was graduating from the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center. This process is somewhat flawed but until another model is constructed it will have to work.
My volunteer work in Augusta started in scouts and proceeded through high school when I donated my collection of Civil War artifacts to the museum for temporary display. I worked on the log cabin when they need assistance reconstructing it. I put countless hours in the construction of the Play Park. I’ve been a little league coach for football, softball, and baseball for twenty years plus. I’ve coached middle school and high school sports for countess amount of youth for three different districts in Butler County. I volunteer my time on the baseball board. I’ve sat on the Conservation Board. I currently sit on the Staff Parrish Board at the First United Methodist Church in Augusta and up to the last council meeting I sat on the Park Board. I now serve the people of Butler County in a law enforcement capacity. I don’t think I’ve ever requested recognition for those act but I will defend my actions.
I know the vote was a 5 – 2 decision to remove me. I don’t hold ill feelings to those who voted in favor. But let this be a lesson in politics and life. Don’t be too quick to take action when you aren’t told the whole truth. It would have been nice and appreciated to finish my term with honor and respect. Instead of the way you treated an honorable and selfless citizen. For those members that won’t fall on their sword when they are wrong then you need to check your hubris indicator.
Mayor Childers keep up the good work. We are proud of you.