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Springfield council member cleared of allegations of misconduct

Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 11:08 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - After nearly two years a Springfield city council member has been cleared of any wrong doing.

Several complaints were lodged against Jan Fisk, including a conflict of interest involving her private business.

Last year complaints filed by Linda Simpkins were reviewed. The state ethics commission and an attorney hired by the city found that many of those complaints, including conflicts of interest regarding rental properties to late property tax payments didn’t have merit.

The last complaint, violation of the city’s charter, was also unfounded.

“I was more than happy to start the process,” said Fisk.

The last of a series of complaints filed against her was reviewed by retired Webster County Judge Kenneth Thompson at the city’s request. At issue was an accusation that when a Kansas City limousine company outsourced its contract with the Springfield city government to Fisk Limousines, which is owned by Fisk and her husband, it was an indirect conflict of interest for the council member.

“We were told when I came on council that there was not a conflict of interest to provide occasional bus services to the city, like we have for years. City staff at that time that it is okay to provide service. But then, two years ago, a citizen complained that there was a violation of the city charter,” she explained.

Fisk says she supported efforts to clarify the matter.

She said, “I was very happy to begin the process, to go through and to prove my point, that we were told that there was no conflict of interest.”

A review of the charter, the investigation and Fisk’s cooperation found this to be true, according to city officials.

Fisk says she agreed to pay back any money collected for services that could be mistaken for an unethical transaction.

“I asked the city to give me a figure so I could return those funds to the city. They gave me the amount of $3,400. I was happy to return that,” she said.

In turn, council unanimously agreed to terminate the services of the hearing examiner, effectively ending the investigation.

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure released this statement:

“After considerable investigation into the matter, and subsequent voluntary actions taken by Councilwoman Jan Fisk, we are pleased to have reached an agreement. Based on these actions, Council members have unanimously signed a withdrawal of the letter of referral (to an independent hearing examiner) and City Council wishes to conclude the hearing process without further expense to the City. This is fair to the City, its citizens and Councilwoman Fisk.”

“It was a very arduous process to go through but my colleagues on council were very supportive. That meant a lot to me,” said Fisk.

The investigation cost the tax payers an estimated $117,000

At Monday night’s meeting council agreed that the city’s charter needs to be reviewed and updated to avoid these types of situations.

Fisk says she’s ready to put this behind her.

She will not seek reelection for office next year.

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