A small St. Francois County municipality was left with only four employees on Monday morning.
Police Chief Dustin McKinney, Municipal Court Clerk Cyndee McLeod, recently-hired City Clerk Shauna Million, Municipal Prosecutor Joe Goff Sr., and Municipal Judge Scott Reid have all resigned from the city of Leadington.
It was reported last month that the municipal judge and prosecutor were going to resign effective June 30 as they both just felt it was time to focus on their private practices. Both Reid and Goff Sr. said they had no ill feelings toward the city whatsoever.
McLeod gave her resignation and her last day of employment with the city was on Friday. In addition, City Clerk Shauna Million resigned effective immediately at the end of the day on Friday. Chief McKinney tenured his resignation effective immediately as of Monday morning.
According to a source, a special closed session Board of Aldermen meeting was to be held Monday night at 6 p.m. to discuss personnel issues.
Chief McKinney had been employed by the city for 12 years, five of those serving as chief of police. McKinney said that due to a recent picture circulating that accused him of being inappropriate on duty he feels that it would be more comfortable for himself and his family if he stepped down from a public role.
McKinney said that this photograph was of him having some innocent horseplay with some adult co-workers. McKinney said the photo was several years old and admits that he was in uniform and on duty when the photo was taken.
“I do regret that I behaved in such an unprofessional manner,” said McKinney. “This was the only time in my 12 years of employment that I was reprimanded.”
McKinney said that he was in fact reprimanded for this incident three times – a verbal reprimand, followed by a written reprimand, which was followed by yet another verbal reprimand.
“It seemed I was going to be reprimanded every time the incident was brought up,” said McKinney.
In McKinney’s resignation letter he stated that he had no ill will toward the citizens of Leadington.
“The citizens of this great city have treated me and my family like their own and I can’t thank them enough for their support,” said McKinney.
“I worked very hard to change the reputation of the Leadington Police Department and make the department more community-involved and more trusted by the citizens. The negative social media attention is one-sided and doesn’t present all of the facts. I encourage my fellow citizens to look at the big picture behind all of the ‘smoke and mirrors’ being presented.”
McKinney closed by saying that he had loved his job but can no longer endure the politics and drama that come with it. He also stated that the turnover in the city during the past year has made it almost impossible to function in an efficient and timely manner.
“I pray that everything works out for the city and I pray for the safety of the Leadington Police Department and Leadington Fire Department as they fight the everyday battles of their duties.”
The Daily Journal attempted to contact Mayor Dustin Winick for comment Monday afternoon. The police department also advised that no one was in city hall today.
There has been some tension in Leadington in recent weeks. The last board meeting was a heated meeting where one alderman ended up storming out.