One single vote has put Lee’s Summit City Councilman Rob Binney in the crossfire.
And other council members may not be far behind.
Binney’s recent “yes” vote on the Wal-Mart development drew an immediate response from a small group of anti-Wal-Mart residents, prompting talks of a recall.
All over one vote.
Based on the discussions going on, you would think Binney voted to de-annex Raintree or cancel snow plowing service to his district. He didn’t do either of those things.
Along with five of his council colleagues, Binney voted to approve a new location that Wal-Mart brought to the city.
Supporters of the recall will say they’re well within their recall rights based on Binney’s vote, which, they claim, flies against what the majority wanted.
Binney says his vote is justified based on feedback from residents near the proposed development.
Both are probably correct. Binney did hear from those both for and against the Wal-Mart. Therefore his vote needs to be also based on information provided during the public hearings and on what will benefit Lee’s Summit.
While I don’t question the mechanism of the recall, using it against one councilman on one vote he’s made is irresponsible. It shows a lack of understanding of city government and desperation to change a vote that only some didn’t approve of.
I would hope our residents would want to ultimately judge elected officials on something more than one vote.
Binney and fellow councilman Derek Holland have only been in office 11 months. And each has brought a tremendous amount to the dais in that time – in fact setting the bar for future newcomers to the council.
Being a steward of city policy and city funds carries with it a tremendous responsibility. Therefore, a recall petition should be used with caution and prudence, not thrown about each time a group dislikes a vote.
Recalls should be saved for ongoing malfeasance or for particularly egregious behavior by a council member.
If we take to shouting for a recall with each vote we perceive as unjust, our council members will vote less and less their conscious and not in the best interests of the city at large.
Many of those involved in this recount probably do not know Binney on a personal level. And really, they don’t have to.
They do not need to be aware of the countless hours he’s spent volunteering around Lee’s Summit and in our downtown core or that he’s getting ready for a bold head shave as a fundraiser for Hope House this weekend.
Forcing a recall when it is unwarranted is a dangerous practice. It’s reactionary.
If we’re a better city with higher end governance, we need to expect more from those that disagree with the votes of our council.
And we certainly need to dispel the notion that single-issue recalls are at all a wise use of time.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.