A Lee’s Summit assistant city manager charged with stealing announced this week that he is resigning.
On Monday, the city received a letter of resignation from Daren Fristoe, effective Dec. 31.
“We appreciate Daren's work during his tenure at the City and wish him well in the future," City Manager Steve Arbo said in a statement.
The city will create a long-term plan for the assignment of Fristoe’s responsibilities to other positions and will advise the public of those changes as soon as possible, the statement said.
In an email to The Star’s sister newspaper in Lee’s Summit, Fristoe said that he submitted his resignation voluntarily.
“I feel this is the appropriate action to take at this time to allow both parties to move forward without further distraction,” Fristoe said.
He said his attorney advised him not to comment on the charges.
In November, Fristoe was charged in Jackson County Circuit Court with stealing nearly $121,000 from a previous employer. He is accused of making unauthorized use of accounts of the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair, where he was executive director, in 2012 to pay personal debts such as telephone accounts, credit cards and a personal loan.
The charge was not related to his work at the city.
Arbo placed Fristoe on paid leave in November. Some residents raised concerns about that, asking whether the city could recover any of those wages if Fristoe were convicted of a crime. Others defended the move because he had not been proven guilty.
Fristoe has a long record of serving on Lee’s Summit boards, such as the Planning Commission and for non-profits. He began full-time employment at the city in April 2013. Among his duties there, he oversaw the Development Center, the Human Resources Department and the Planning & Codes Administration Department. He also was a liaison to city committees, boards and commissions, as well as to community organizations.
“I am grateful to the city for giving me the opportunity to work with so many extraordinarily talented people and am proud of the work we were able to accomplish during my tenure,” Fristoe said in the email.
He outlined accomplishments including redefining the role of the Human Resources Department, adding highly-skilled technicians in the roles of director, benefits administration and staffing, working in concert with the existing human resources staff.
Fristoe helped create the city’s Development Center, assigning project managers in a “one stop shop” environment that focused on the customer. He also worked to raise the profile of city economic development efforts, partly by expanding awareness of targeted development and redevelopment areas.
“I have served Lee's Summit faithfully, my hometown that I love dearly, not only professionally but also through years of community service in various capacities,” Fristoe wrote. “Those who know me personally know this about me. I look forward to brighter days. “