UPDATE: Nixon reinstates DNR director

Friday, October 16, 2009 | 12:58 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon fired a longtime aide and reinstated Missouri's environmental chief Friday while announcing that an investigation revealed repeated state failures to protect the public from contaminated waterways.

Nixon took responsibility for poor decisions and communication within his administration, but asserted that Missouri's Department of Natural Resources has "long-standing, institutional problems with the handling of water quality issues."

An internal review found 10 cases over the past three years — half of which occurred this year — in which public beaches at state parks were not appropriately closed despite high levels of E. coli, Nixon said. In 14 other cases since 2005, the Department of Natural Resources apparently kept quiet the fact that high fecal coliform bacteria levels existed in the Lake of the Ozarks, Nixon said.

"For years, the department has ignored and failed to inform the public of troubling water sampling results. But for the first time, people are being held accountable," said Nixon, a Democrat who took office in January.

The governor announced he is rescinding the appointment of Joe Bindbeutel to the state Administrative Hearing Commission, because Bindbeutel was "the chief decision-maker" in delaying the release of E. coli test results earlier this year when he was deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources.

But Nixon said DNR Director Mark Templeton would be reinstated to his job next week after being suspended for more than two weeks without pay.

"Mark has served a just punishment," Nixon said. "He has faced reproach from the public and the press. He has spoken at length about his own failings on this matter; he has paid a price for the department's mistakes."

Nixon's administration has been under fire since July 16, when The Kansas City Star revealed that the DNR had waited until late June to release the results of a May water quality test showing high E. coli levels in numerous parts of the Lake of the Ozarks.

The governor said Friday that he didn't become aware until that report that the DNR had delayed the release of the results. Testimony by DNR employees to Senate staff investigating the delay has revealed that top department administrators and members of Nixon's staff were told of the results in late May.

"Clearly the communication could have been better, crisper and more accurate here, and regardless of whether any of that is my fault or not, it is my responsibility," Nixon said.

The governor did not suspend or fire anyone who works in his office.

Nixon ordered the internal review of the department on Sept. 30 while revealing that the agency had failed to close a public beach at the Lake of the Ozarks despite high E. coli levels in May — and then had provided him false information indicating the beach had been closed.

On Friday, Nixon stressed that Missouri's problems with protecting the public from poor water began long before he became governor. He distributed information showing five failures to close beaches and a dozen instances when the public apparently was not informed of high bacteria levels during the administration of his predecessor, Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.


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steven reed October 17, 2009 | 10:20 a.m.

Springfield (Mo) At the October 12, 2009 City Council meeting the city ignored public comments about whether the City may not be adhering to State Statutes and that they are using Home Rule to make up ballot language saying a ballot tax issues will not end until 100 % of the Police and Fire Pension fund is paid.

Steven Reed was told to stop when he brought up Case No. 09-5926 in the Supreme Court concerning the 1st Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution and violations of State and Federal Law by the City of Springfield over write in candidates and now the ballot language of a November 3, 2009 election.


Steven Reed says he finds it disturbing that the City of Springfield even left his name off the official city record as speaking and it is a “COVER UP”. Also upsetting is all the local media has been given paperwork and copies of cases sent to the US Supreme Court on the case that is pending. Reed says: “the media appears to be looking the other way.”

Home Rule for cities started in Missouri and spread to Texas and then nationwide. Reed says: “allowing cities to violate state or federal statutes and laws by making their own election laws or ordinances not in line with their state or the federal government is a power grab.” Reed also says: that can lead us down a slippery slope of cities pushing the envelope and making their own laws until they are reigned in and that is why this case is ripe for the Supreme Court since Home Rule cities across the nation can be effected by this issue, it is sort of like federal supremacy in reverse and could make a mockery of state legislatures and the US congress.
Please Forward this e-mail to as many people as you can, also the media and blogs! Please call and leave a message for William K. Suter Clerk of the Supreme Court and Mr. Baker 202-479-3011

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