The chorus of official voices calling for Overland Park city councilmember Scott Hamblin to step down is growing.
At an Aug. 3 City Council meeting, six Overland Park councilmembers called for Hamblin to resign following his July arrest for domestic battery. And this week, a group of six former Overland Park city councilmembers echoed those sentiments in an open letter to the current council.
“The accused has put himself into a position where his conduct is suspect, puts a blemish on who we are and what we believe,” the letter reads.
The six signatories include former councilmembers Dave Janson, Terry Happer-Scheier, Dave White, Terry Goodman, Rick Collins and Dan Stock.
The letter says that in the 60-year history of Overland Park “no sitting Council member has been accused of a crime.”
“The City has earned, with our efforts during our respective tenures on the Council, a reputation for the best place to: raise a family, be an entrepreneur, enjoy the benefits of quality education, and so on. In our opinion, that reputation has been called into question by the behavior of this council member,” the letter says.
The former councilmembers do say Hamblin is “entitled to due process,” but says his resignation should not wait for what happens in court.
“Regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings, shouldn’t we expect our city leaders to do the right things and remove themselves from any doubtful decisions or conduct that will cast a shadow on our city?” the former councilmembers write.
During the Aug. 3 city council meeting, Hamblin said he would not resign, and a colleague read a statement from Hamblin’s wife Curstin supporting him staying on the council.
Last week, Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach removed Hamblin from his seat on the council’s Public Safety Committee.
Read the former councilmembers’ letter in its entirety:
FORMER OP COUNCIL MEMBERS SUPPORT CALLS FOR COUNCIL MEMBER’S RESIGNATION
We are all former Overland Park City Council members, who have a total of 88 years of service.
We have been watching the recent events surrounding the arrest of a current Overland Park City Council member on domestic battery charges.At the 8/3/20 virtual OP City Council meeting, 8 of the 12 council members supported the resignation of the council member accused of the domestic battery.One council member did not speak.One council member indicated that he and his wife prayed for all concerned.The last council member encouraged everyone to think logically and with regard to the evidence and wait for the outcome of the criminal proceedings.Yet, the accused council member refused to resign.
We believe that the resignation of the accused council member should not rest on the outcome of the criminal proceeding.The accused is entitled to due process of law, and the court will decide his guilt or innocence.We believe that process is a separate issue as to whether the accused can fulfill his sworn duties to the city, and whether the accused can make decisions based upon “the right thing to do” or on keeping an eye directed to a potential guilty verdict.
We believe that the accused should resign for the following reasons:
• First, in the 60-year history of OP, no sitting Council member has been accused of a crime.The accused has put himself into a position where his conduct is suspect, puts a blemish on who we are and what we believe.After all, who called the police?Who filed the domestic battery complaint?Who led the judge to believe that they should require a 72-hour separation from the victim and the family?Only the council member’s behavior caused this.
• Second, the City has earned, with our efforts during our respective tenures on the Council, a reputation for the best place to: raise a family, be an entrepreneur, enjoy the benefits of quality education, and so on.In our opinion, that reputation has been called into question by the behavior of this council member.
• Third, regardless of the outcome of the criminal proceedings, shouldn’t we expect our city leaders to do the right things and remove themselves from any doubtful decisions or conduct that will cast a shadow on our city?To state that we should wait for the judicial system to render an opinion is to create a distraction and a red herring.We need city leaders who exhibit integrity, adherence to the values that we cherish, and the belief that we deserve better than what this council member has exhibited.
For these reasons, we stand behind the opinions expressed by the 8 OP council members who have supported the resignation of the council member in question.We applaud their efforts, and we hope for a better Overland Park.
Dave Janson ((2003-2018)
Terry Happer-Scheier (2001-2020)
Dave White (2005-2020)
Terry Goodman (2001-2018)
Rick Collins (2011-2020)
Dan Stock (2005-2018)