Olathe keeps finance director; mayor quits

The mayor of Olathe has resigned over a dispute involving the town’s finance director, the town manager and the rest of the Town Board of Trustees.

Don Perkins said he resigned after the town board voted 6-1 to reinstate the town’s finance director, who had submitted her resignation to Town Manager Scott Harrold.

“I don’t believe she is qualified for the job she is in, but I won’t go into why.” Perkins said.

The situation started several weeks back, according to Perkins, 58.

The town manager had asked the finance director, Pamela Woods, to resign, or he would terminate her. Woods chose to submit her resignation, Perkins said.

The following Monday, Woods changed her mind and appealed to the board of trustees. The board voted 4-3 not to accept her resignation, Perkins said.

But the town manager, according to Perkins, still wanted Woods fired. Woods appealed again to the board, asking it to usurp the town manager’s authority and keep her employed.

On June 23, the full board conduced a hearing on the matter. The board voted to keep Woods on the job. The former mayor was the only one who supported the city manager’s decision to terminate Woods.

“From the evidence given to me, at that hearing, I agreed with the town administrator,” Perkins said. “Right after the meeting, I shook her hand and said, ‘Congratulations, I guess.’ ”

The next day, Perkins submitted his letter of resignation, saying he was no longer effective in his role as mayor.

“The next day, I said there ain’t no use in me hanging around, there just isn’t,” he said. “I have better things to do on Monday evening than bang my head against the wall. ... We hired the city manager to run the town.”

Perkins, who works for Grand Junction Pipe, served four years on the town’s Board of Trustees a decade ago. He was parks director for the city for eight years and was elected mayor in April 2008, he said.

“I was elected mayor April 1,” Perkins said with a laugh. “It should have been a warning.”

None of the other members of the board chose to comment on this story.

Woods said she has retained an attorney in the matter but declined to comment further.

The dust-up in Olathe’s Town Hall is sparking conversation on the World Wide Web. The Olathe Messenger weekly newspaper has several blog postings on its Web site.

“The citizens of Olathe should be outraged,” a posting stated. “Pam Woods has done a good job here and in no way deserves the treatment she is getting.”

Still another posting reads: “I thought Ahmadinejad was President of Iran, not Mayor of Olathe.”


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