February 9, 2016

Council approves Pugh replacement

Danedri Thompson


Heath Freeman will replace Dennis Pugh on the Gardner City Council.

Council members, in a 3-1 vote, approved Mayor Dave Drovetta’s appointment to the council, but not before council member Larry Fotovich asked Freeman a number of questions.

Eight people ran for three seats on the council last April, Freeman was not among them, and Fotovich asked why.

“Timing has just opened up and it made this a little bit of an opportunity,” he said.

Fotovich also asked about Freeman’s participation in the 2010 campaign to recall former council members Mary Peters and John Shepherd from the council. He asked if Freeman could draw any parallels between the perceived Kansas Open Meetings Act that sparked the recall campaign and two violations of the current council last summer.

“I still think the way (former council members) went about it was a power play,” Freeman said. “I agree the D.A. said they did not violate the law. We can arugue back and forth, and we know where I fell into it. I don’t think you’re going to get the answer you want from me… I don’t think the most recent violations were a play for power.”

Fotovich also inquired about Freeman’s relationship to Gardner Bank, which he said has many development issues that come before the city. Freeman is the son-in-law of the bank’s vice president.

Freeman said he would vote on all issues keeping Gardner’s best interests at heart.

Council members Brian Broxterman, Kristina Harrison and Chris Morrow approved Freeman’s appointment. Fotovich voted against it.

Freeman marks Drovetta’s fifth appointment to the Gardner City Council since his election in 2009. He replaces council member Dennis Pugh, who resigned after being charged with battery and criminal deprivation of property. Pugh was elected in 2011, and Freeman will serve out the remainder of his term until 2015.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I applaud Councilman Fotovich trying so hard to bring about decent government in Gardner and I think Morrow has also stepped up to the plate. The wrongdoing continues with the support and enablement of Council members, city administrative staff and others – many, many have lost their moral compasses and a high price will be paid by citizens. Conflict of interest, cronyism, wrongdoing continues and it won’t get better with what we have installed at City Hall – that is my opinion. The people are NOT doing their jobs and are also part of the problems – there will be consequences. .

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    It appears to me that Gardner Bank does not have any qualms in getting “farm” appraisals on property they own for commercial development which certainly does not bring about the tax revenue due the people – that is my opinion. One of many who keep the average citizens poor or who will be dropping from the middle class into poverty and who are enabled and supported by worthless politicians – that is my opinion.

  3. @"trying hard" says:

    Judith, how in the world can you type that with a straight face? That Larry Fotovich is trying to produce as decent government? REALLY?

    Do you mean the part where he leaked private information about City Manager candidates and caused the process to be delayed until spring…at a greater expense to the taxpayers? And THEN had the nerve to question the money paid to the search firm? (Hint: he will have caused us a LOT more cost by having to repeat the search a second time…assuming he doesn’t derail it yet again…than he would have if he had behaved with best interests of the city and the taxpayers in the first place)

    Or do you mean the part where his constant childing sniping was enough to inspire an even greater childish response that ended with two grown men squabbling for a video camera like kids on the playground…resulting in the City having to, once again, replace Council members?

    Or maybe it’s the part where the unnamed conspirator…or was that, “complaintant”…behind the latest KOMA incident (and would the REAL complaintant PLEASE stand up?) created a situation where the guy who would have directly benefited from the LAST KOMA incident (*cough*Fotovich*cough*) dared ask the new Council member candidate about his involvement in the quite legal recall effort?

    Is THAT the guy you think is pursuing decent government, Judith? Really?

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Yeah, I think Fotovich and Morrow have some moral values that you and many at City Hall don’t have and I have already stated that……………can you not read or comprehend my statement???? You can but you don’t like what I say, AS USUAL the truth hurts and really gets under the skin of some who want to operate however they want with no respect for the law. What goes around will come around and it will be catching up with people……….I just hope I am around to see it.

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    The loss of moral values such as honesty, character, ethics and integrity just doesn’t preside only at City Hall – it goes deep within the community as evidenced by comments made by the no-namers and those who work in the back rooms.

  6. To clarify a reference to our bank in the referenced article: Gardner Bank does not have…”development issues to bring before the city”….(council). The bank does own lots off Moonlight Road that are already developed. We came to own these by way of an unfortunate legal situation. Gardner Bank is trying to sell it; and has no interest in developing land, or development as that word is understood and used, and is indeed legally prohibited from such an activity.
    Ralph Leno

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    Mr. Leno, it is clear to me also that you are not “farming” the land either so please contact Mr. Welcome, the County Appraiser, and ask him to appraise your land as commercial vacant land so the taxpayers may receive the correct amount of property taxes. I believe Mr. Licausi and First Federal Savings and Loan of Independence, Ks. did the same at the corner of 183rd & Center here in Gardner, some investors did it on land sold to the school district, builders have done it on their properties here in Gardner and I don’t appreciate you or them getting by with these incorrect tax billings. You should be paying much more than what you have been paying and I expect you and all others to do the honest thing and have your properties properly appraised. Also I believe you got that land on Moonlight since the developer went belly-up and you got the property thru a Sheriffs Sale since you probably had an interest in that property as a mortgagor. I have had my fill of banks, investment banks, developers, big biz, builders and a whole bunch of other special interests taking advantage of the common citizen like I feel your bank is doing and probably just not on this “farm” appraisal thing. You let me know when you have done the right thing by getting that property properly appraised and then I will go to the appraiser’s and treasurer’s websites and see the proper results for the taxpayers of Johnson County and Kansas.

  8. Judith Rogers says:

    I feel sure Mr. Freeman will not be representing my best interests and he will be guilty of what he accused Thompson, Peters and Shepherd in 2009 as indicated by the statements given by him. He did not run for office but he sure loves to be APPOINTED by the Dictator and evidently asked to be appointed. The recall was not about a violation of KOMA – that recall was about how 3 ELECTED representatives voted on an issue with respect to the intermodal. As you can see in a video, Mr. Freeman was hot about how they voted on that issue – certainly not on some rigged lie about KOMA. I am sure Mr. Freeman and his father-in-law have had several discussions about the intermodal and many other issues with respect to the development of Gardner but I feel very sure Mr. Freeman will have a deaf ear to any of my concerns. I once again will state that I will be forever grateful how those three Council members voted – they did the job for the citizens who put them into office and properly represented ALL CITIZENS but there are those who manipulate, connive, etc. who to this day want to continue to operate as they do – ILLEGALLY and without any respect for the law or for honesty and that has been made very clear recently and in the past;- that is my opinion.

Comments do not necessarily reflect those of The Gardner News, or staff. By posting, commentators assume all liability. Please contact webmaster to report comments that infringe on copyrights, or are of a profane or libelous nature. Webmaster reserves the right to edit or remove content deemed offensive.


Speak Your Mind