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Council appoints hearing examiner for Fisk allegations

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Springfield City Council last night voted unanimously to appoint retired Webster County Associate Circuit Court Judge Kenneth Thompson as the hearing examiner for allegations against Councilwoman Jan Fisk.

The appointment stems from multiple claims by retired litigation paralegal Linda Simkins, who has blown the whistle on Fisk’s potential personal gain in contracts with the city related to her ownership in J. Howard Fisk Limousines Inc. and private interest in Galloway Village blight legislation. Allegations also involve tax payments on properties Fisk owns with her husband and son, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

“Although I must recuse myself because this resolution is about me, I fully support it and I look forward to resolving this,” Fisk said last night, reading from a statement.

Fisk, who is not seeking re-election in 2020, was the only council member who did not sign off on a Sept. 24 request to refer the allegations to a hearing examiner. She did sign the initial letter for review given to Mayor Ken McClure before the March 25 council meeting, when the body started investigating Fisk’s alleged conflict of interest related to Fisk Limousines, according to past SBJ reporting.

“From the beginning I have requested a hearing to address the original complaint,” she said in her statement. “This is the procedure that I believe will resolve any remaining issue.”

Thompson is slated to review allegations of misconduct by Fisk regarding personal financial interest statements and possible financial gain in the sale of any services to the city. He will be paid $225 per hour for his services.

St. Louis attorney Kevin O’Keefe was hired as outside counsel after Springfield City Attorney Rhonda Lewsader and her staff recused themselves. He submitted a memo to the city on Sept. 24 that dismissed some allegations against Fisk — except those related to the nondisclosure of a city contract with Fisk Limousines, resulting in the appointment of Thompson.

“I am pleased with the exonerating conclusions of the attorney that was hired by the council to evaluate the complaints against me because they showed there was no basis for any of the allegations,” Fisk said in her statement.

A public hearing was not opened before the vote last night to appoint Thompson, causing council to circle back to reopen and revote on the resolution later in the meeting. There were no speakers during the public hearing.

Additionally, Fisk called for an update to city charter.

“Our city charter hasn’t been updated in decades and needs to be reviewed and updated to reflect the 21st century,” she said in her statement. “We need clarification in the meantime so what I’ve gone through doesn’t happen to my fellow colleagues on council or any employee of the city of Springfield.”


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