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Leadwood parts ways with judge, prosecutor

In a unanimous vote, the Leadwood Board of Alderpersons severed ties with its municipal judge and city prosecutor. 

During an executive session Tuesday evening, the board discussed and eventually voted to remove Municipal Judge Kimberly Whittle, an attorney based in Clayton. The group also cut ties with Municipal Prosecuting Attorney Brad Van Zee, based in Potosi. 

Mayor Dennis Parks said the idea of ending the judge’s contract early, and parting ways with the prosecutor as well, came up during the meeting and was discussed further and acted on in closed session. 

Alderman David Henry made the motion to sever ties with both Whittle and Van Zee. 

Parks said there were only three board members in attendance at the meeting. He said of those in attendance, no one argued to keep the judge and prosecutor in place. Henry made a motion and a second was offered by another board member. After some discussion, a vote was taken and it was unanimously decided to void the contracts.

The mayor said the judge’s contract was set for renewal at the first of the year anyway. While he said he didn’t have any major complaints on the work of either the judge or prosecutor, the discussion of the group indicated that several felt it was time for a change.

Both Whittle and Van Zee were informed of the board’s decision following the meeting, and the city has already begun the process of advertising for a new municipal judge and prosecutor.

In other actions, the board accepted an application for a mobile home to be moved into the city limits, and learned of another permit application. At this point the city does not have zoning restrictions, but city ordinances require anyone wishing to install a mobile home onto a lot to submit an application to be approved or denied by the board on an individual case basis.

During last month’s board meeting the mayor had brought up the idea of adding similar restrictions and a permit process for anyone wishing to build or locate an off-site-built “tiny home” on a city lot. 

Parks said Wednesday that the tiny home permit requirement was added to the existing mobile home permit requirement ordinance during Wednesday evening’s meeting. Eventually the board will look at adopting an ordinance dealing specifically with “tiny” homes. 

The “tiny home” movement continues to gain momentum across the world, where people are opting to forego the traditional mortgage and large home in favor of living in very small structures with fewer belongings and at less cost. 

Parks said he’s researched tiny home guidelines from other communities and state and federal agencies, and the board and legal counsel will eventually likely use those findings to establish some written guidelines moving forward.

The board is scheduled to meet next on Jan. 28. 

It looks like Leadwood Alderman David Henry, right, will be the new mayor, receiving 47 votes. Also pictured, current Mayor Dennis Parks, received 30 votes for mayor while Aaron Penberthy received 46 votes. 

It looks like Leadwood Alderman David Henry, right, will be the new mayor, receiving 47 votes. Also pictured, current Mayor Dennis Parks, received 30 votes for mayor while Aaron Penberthy received 46 votes. 

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