A concerned citizen from Springfield has filed an affidavit asking for a petition to have Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Cirtin removed from office.
In the request delivered to Greene County Circuit Clerk Tom Barr, Linda Simkins is first asking Greene County Prosecutor Dan Patterson to disqualify himself from this process and appoint a special prosecutor to initiate any action. Simkins says this is due to a potential conflict of interest since Patterson was copied on many of Cirtin's emails.
At issue is whether Cirtin crossed legal lines while advocating for a half-cent general revenue sales tax that was passed by voters in November 2017.
Greene County Circuit Clerk Tom Barr tells KTTS News his office created a case for the documents and affidavit and hand-delivered copies of the filings to the prosecuting attorney's office. Barr says this is an unusual request. He says, after asking around, that a request for removal from office hasn't been filed in at least two decades.
Emails and other messages sent from the county communications director show Cirtin repeatedly asked county employees to take on specific tasks to help support the tax increase. Krysta Herzog was later publicly identified, on her own choosing, as one of nearly two dozen whistleblowers who prompted questions from Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Herzog questioned tactics used to get the sales tax increase passed. Galloway offered to perform an audit, but county leaders voted to have a law firm do an investigation.
Simkins says she's semi-retired and has taken an interest in local government over the past two years. She also helps runs a Facebook page called Springfield/Greene County Start Local.
She says she has looked over all 1,800 emails and has spent upwards of 100 hours on research before filing the affidavit. She's quick to point out she's not a lawyer but has worked in law offices.
"There's so much frustration with national politics right now, but I turned that to local because I think you start in your own backyard. I wish more people would pay more attention locally and not just to state and national news," said Simkins.
Simkins commends the former Greene County Commission communications director, Krysta Herzog, for speaking up. "I have immense respect for her. That took a lot of courage to do that. It's unknown what repercussions she'll suffer emotionally or career-wise down the road - that was huge."