Cass County Collector Pam Shipley has been cleared of nepotism claims, according to a statement from the county prosecuting attorneys office.
By MARK DAVIS
The Kansas City Star
Shipley, the countys collector since 2003, had become the target of charges that she promoted a staff member her first cousin Denise Goddard in violation of Missouri law.
The complaint filed by County Auditor Ron Johnson acknowledged that Goddard had been an employee in the collectors office before Shipleys election. State law permits continued employment of a relative in those circumstances.
Goddard, however, received higher pay and began performing the duties of Shipleys chief deputy who retired in January, according to Johnson.
The addition of duties and pay is a de facto promotion regardless of title, Johnson wrote in his complaint.
Johnson asked Cass County Prosecutor Teresa Hensleys office to review the case.
After review of the facts and the law in Missouri, the Cass County Prosecutors Office will not file a Petition in Quo Warranto to seek ouster as none is warranted, said the statement by Hensleys spokeswoman Georgia Sanders.
Sanders statement said that Shipley had asked for a formal opinion from the state on her cousins employment in January 2003, which is when she took office. She was told that it was permitted because Goddard had been hired by a previous county collector, the statement said.
The Cass County Auditor suggests that the Collectors cousin has been promoted to a new title and role in the office. The Collectors cousin has been employed for over 15 years as a Deputy Collector. There are currently five full-time staff members all having the same title of Deputy Collector in the Cass County Collectors Office. The next closest staff member in seniority has been employed four years. Any change in the Collectors cousins salary or duties has been incidental to her original employment and are justified due to her decade and a half of service in that office, the statement said.
In August, Hensley sought to oust County Clerk Janet Burlingame from office on charges she had employed both her husband and son from 2003 until April 2010.
To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.