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The following is a letter to the Editor of the Independence Reporter that the Editor refused to print, the editor has refused to print any of my letters to the "Forum" since I wrote several weeks ago expressing my concerns over Wal-Mart Corporation's decision to locate their Distribution Center in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, rather than to build in Independence.

The editor wrote a rebuital after my letter, and appeared to be offended by my comments, and made a point to explain that he himself was part of the group that was working on convincing Wal-Mart to build here.

My comments in no way were intended to imply that his ( Mr. Meyer's ) efforts were in error, but rather that the City Manager and the Commissioner that reportedly escorted the Corporate officials to the potential building site, were much less enthusiastic in their tour of the site than their counterparts in Bartlesville.

Mr. Meyer, and the Reporter, do a fantastic job in delivering the news to our residents, unfortunately I am being denied the opportunity to speak my views in his public "Forum".

Here is the letter that the Reporter refused to print:

January 26, 2003

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to Todd Johnson’s letter to the Forum last Sunday regarding Mr. Shobe’s recent dealings with the Independence Police Department.

While I feel that Mr. Johnson brought out some valid points regarding a high turnover in the Police Department, I am not entirely in agreement in pointing towards the Police Chief as the root of the problem.

The final say in hiring and firing a city employee does not rest with the individual Department supervisors, instead, all such requests and recommendations are routed to one place, and that is the office of the City Manager.

Although over the past few years there has been a substantial turnover rate of city employees overall, none can compare to the high numbers of officers that have left the Police Department.

Whenever a new Police Officer is hired, each must go through several weeks of departmental classroom and supervised training, and if they are not already trained and certified by the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center, they must complete at least 320 hours of training, and then be State certified in order to become a full time officer.

Adding up the cost of training several dozen officers in just the past 15 years that have left for whatever reasons to go on to take jobs with other agencies, the taxpayers of Independence have lost several thousands of dollars, and many times the officer that leaves, takes other employment with law enforcement outside Montgomery County, and also take with them the certification that our local taxes paid for.

Our present City Manager, Paul Sasse has been employed in that position since January of 1985, and one would think that after 18 years would have some type of employee retention and problem resolution program in place by now, but obviously by the alarming rate of employee turnover, there is not, so the practice of pouring thousands of dollars into training new employees continues.

My question is, when are the residents of Independence going to finally say “enough is enough” and send a message to the City Commission that it is time to begin the search for a new City Manager?

My finger is pointed at the City Manager’s office as being the root of many of our city’s problems, and I, for one, am saying “Enough is Enough!”

Charley Hixon

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