Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2000

Vervaecke resigns city council seat

November 30, 2000

Basehor has a new city council member following the resignation last week of Robert Vervaecke. Vervaecke was president of the council.

He told his fellow council members he planned to move outside the city limits and would have to give up his seat. Shortly after the announcement was made, Mayor John Pfannenstiel appointed Julian Espinoza to fill the position.

Although he would have liked to have allowed more time for the vacancy to become known to the public before appointing a new member, Pfannenstiel said, he worried it would be difficult to have a quorum with only four out of the five council positions filled.

Council member Joseph Odle missed several meetings the past couple of months, but did attend the last council meeting, a week ago.

Odle and Vervaecke called for Pfannenstiel's resignation two months ago when the mayor was charged with felony crimes.

Pfannenstiel is scheduled to stand trial early next year on two counts of unlawful sexual relations with an inmate. The mayor was working at Lansing State Correctional Facility when the crimes allegedly occurred. He also was charged with smuggling contraband into the prison.

Shortly after the charges were made public, Odle announced he would not attend another council meeting until Pfannenstiel left office. The councilman apparantly had a change of heart and has since attended a council meeting and a council workshop.

Vervaecke has not missed any council meetings since the charges were announced, but the council president publicly called for the mayor's resignation. Pfannenstiel refused to resign.

The council has not yet selected a new council president. Pfannenstiel said he expected that to happen at next week's meeting.

Espinoza will fill the position until Vervaecke's term is up in April 2001.

Pfannenstiel said the fact that Vervaecke had only a few months left to his term also played into his decision to fill the position quickly.

"I figured we should get someone in there as soon as possible. For one thing, so we will have a quorum every time. Mr. Odle came to the last meeting but had missed several in a row," he said. "But also because there's not much time left on the term."

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