February 11, 2016

Mayor Drovetta, Fotovich should resign

Jared Taylor
Ok, enough of this already. The feud between council member Larry Fotovich and Mayor Dave Drovetta has gone on long enough and seems to have hit rock bottom. With the search for a new administrator now put on hold untill spring, and our cities reputation hitting yet another lowpoint it’s time I think  that these two men do what is best for our city and us as citizens and resign their positions.
It is clear that neither of these men have respect for each other. They openly fight on the people’s dime. They curse in our halls of government, they defame each other openly, they have made city meetings almost unworkable, there have been almost moments of fisticuffs in open city meetings and now they have botched the hiring of the most important official in our city government. These are supposed to be men who represent us; who we can tell our children to respect because of their position. They are neither to me.
Mr. Fotovich’s letter to the editor published in The Gardner News showed tremendous lack of discretion. It also lacked a tremendous amount of respect for the rest of our governing body as well as a lack of respect to the citizens of this community.  His actions alone could very well invite lawsuits. It has and will certainly continue to hurt the reputation of this city. The poor decision by Mr. Fotovich to purge his feelings on the city administrator search literally shut down the process.
But Larry Fotovich doesn’t hold all of the blame. Since his election Dave Drovetta has consistently lacked the leadership and appropriate demeanor to lead our city. As is the case with this administrator search Mr. Drovetta’s lack of commitment and leadership has lead us to this place. I have heard from multiple council members as well as a few members of the community interview board that have suggested this process from the beginning was staged and manipulated. In few words, it was rigged. In and of itself this probably isn’t different from how other cities perform high profile searches but when coupled with a litany of fumbles along the way this has become par for course on how Mr. Drovetta has handled the business of this city. This is only the latest of his failures. Mr. Drovetta handling of this search literally shut down the process.
Greater than any of the above reasons Mr. Fotovich and Mr. Drovetta have embarrassed our community. They have acted irresponsibly in their duty to serve us the citizenry. In their own righteous ideology and unwavering dedication to only themselves they have literally put our already fragile community reputation and sunk it down the drain. We literally had to stop our search to hire our cities top executive because the top candidates cited lack of confidentiality and that the process took too long. Both of these issues can be laid at their feet. These two men have broken our government; they have stalled any progress from our last election and now have shamed our community. We deserve better. I don’t know these men personally; I only know their civic actions. These actions prove to me that they are now incapable of leading this city. Their personal spat has sunk our city to new lows; they have made fools of themselves and us. With whatever civic pride they have left I urge them both to resign immediately for the good of our community and I call on each citizen to do the same.


  1. Why Drovetta? says:

    Jared, you make allegations against both Fotovich and Drovetta in your reasoning here.

    The allegations against Fotovich are specific. You cite specific actions that he’s taken that, in your opinion, justify asking him to step down.

    But your allegations against Drovetta are largely hearsay. In fact, they almost parrot the allegations Fotovich made in his ill-advised letter to the editor. He also quoted suspicions, unnamed “inside” sources who “suggested” that the process wasn’t working well or was, as you allege, “rigged”.

    That other news “blog” in town got interviews from ALL the council members (excepting Fotovich) and none of them mentioned any perception that the process was rigged or proceding inappropriately or anything even close to that. So which council members have you been talking to? Are they lying to the other blog or are they lying to you? Or is it something else entirely?

    Your gut feeling, and Fotovich, about Drovetta’s resignation-worthy actions in handling the city administrator search may be spot on. The wispy, anonymous sources you cite may ALSO be spot on. But unless we get more details and less hearsay and second-hand “evidence”, it sounds more like you simply don’t like Drovetta.

    But disliking Drovetta and his leadership abilities is not the same thing as, for instance, conducting personal background checks on potential employees, then posting that information publicly. It’s not the same as opening the city up for potential lawsuits. One of these men has, it seems, done these things. The other hasn’t. If you’re gonna call for resignations, you might want to stick with the guy whose actions are well-defined.

    Of course, I’m not sure I agree that you can call the interactions between Drovetta and Fotovich a “feud”. Sure, it’s obvious that Fotovich has had it “in” for Drovetta since…well, since Fotovich has started becoming active in Gardner politics. And it’s clear that Drovetta isn’t fond of Fotovich, either.

    But can you point…with documentation…any event where Drovetta specifically went after Fotovich, unprovoked by any prior action that Fotovich had taken first? Even the almost-fisticuffs you quoted was, if you recall, predicated by antagonistic and insulting language from Fotovich. Yeah, it doesn’t excuse his losing his cool, but even THAT, the only documented criticism you offered against Drovetta, was due to an encounter instigated by Fotovich.

    Fotovich has continually demonstrated an angry, single-minded petulance that leads him to, effectively, stomping his feet and “not playing” when he doesn’t get his way. His obstructionist tactics since he’s been on the Council has frequently instigated conflicts, targeted at Drovetta, but affecting the Council at large, where he tries single-handedly to force the Council to do things his way, regardless of the cost to well-being of Gardner government, or Gardner overall. The city administrator search fiasco is only the latest example of Fotovich creating a crisis where one didn’t need to happen.

    I ask again: point out specifically what Drovetta has instigated in his so-called “feud” with Fotovich. Point out what specifically “rigged” on the city administrator search that so antagonized Fotovich that he (Fotovich) was willing to risk lawsuits to work around.

    If you can document it, I’ll be happy to join your torch and pitchfork gang.

    Until then, I’ll prefer to keep them BOTH on. Gardner doesn’t need the additional damage of resigning Mayors and Council members. Maybe they’ll BOTH straighten up on the heels of this latest kerfuffle.

  2. Why not Drovetta? says:

    The only constant in this mismanaged town is Drovetta. Why not Drovetta? I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he’s obviously made some bad decisions that have caused financial hardships on the residents. Why give him a pass. Hold them all accountable.

  3. Which decisions? says:

    I mean, I’m all for slinging blame. But I’d rather not tar someone, just because people like screaming his name when things go wrong…regardless of how often they repeat it.

    The way I see it, the whole Drovetta/Fotovich “feud” is an example, either:

    A. Two annoying kids squabbling, both antagonizing each other pretty much equally.
    B. One annoying kid picking on the other, bullying him until he yells, then blaming it all on him.
    C. One dedicated politician, trying to do what he thinks is best for the city, but thwarted by a win-at-all-costs opponent.
    D. Two dedicated politicans, each trying to do what he thinks is best for the city, but thwarted by the distance between their respective ideals.

    Jared’s making the argument for “A”, as are a lot of people I’ve heard comments from.  Other frequent contributors to this site would opt for “C”, with Drovetta being the thwarting, win-at-all-costs guy and Fotovich being the dedicated politician. Or maybe “B”, with Drovetta as the bully and Fotovich as the victim.

    I would LOVE for it to be “D”, with both Fotovich and Drovetta trying their best to do what they feel is right, but not being able to find common ground between them. That’s how government SHOULD work and it’s what we deserve here in Gardner.

    But I’m inclined to think it’s “B”, with Fotovich trying everything he can to be contrary to whatever Drovetta suggests or supports. That’s just my opinion. But it’s obvious that, depending on where everyone is standing, their perception of things is different.

    Sure, we can toss ’em all, but maybe the problem is us. We’re so worried about making sure we tar and feather the right “villain”, that we ignore the things that our own favorites do wrong or badly. Or, we get so tired of all the squabbling, that we want to clear the slate for the NEXT set of villains to bicker with each other.

  4. Confused by your last line says:

    You want each citizen to resign? Can we start with you first?

  5. Why not drovetta? says:

    I am also tired of the blame placing. Hold them all accountable. I’m just saying he’s been here 10 years; utility rates have gone up, property taxes; we lost the intermodal, debt is out of control The only constant I see is Drovetta. So why should he be exempt? I am sick of all of them. Granted the economy has got bad, but I’m tired of tax and spend liberals like Drovetta. We need someone who is fiscally responsible and cares about the taxpayers.

  6. Jared Taylor says:

    I very much worry that we are easily dismissing what Fotovich was arguing in his letter to the Gardner News. Unfortunately for Larry his words don’t attract much respect because he is such a contrarian and has an obvious hatchet to grind. With that said, I think we are making too many assumptions that what he argued and what happened with the process is not true.

    I have done a lot of independent investigation on this and have spoken to many people involved and as much as it pains me to give credit to Fotovich I think he may be right. The process I believe from the beginning was weighted and presented in a way that gave too much consideration to the top candidate. Here is the deal as well, the Mayor cited in a letter that a “council member” leaked the name of the candidate, I know that to be false. I also believe that he didn’t name the council member to purposefully lead us all to make our false assumption that it was in fact Larry Fotovich that did these things. Larry did write the letter but to my knowledge he did not submarine the process entirely.

    This is such a mess. It was, and is, my opinion that this is no longer about two men doing what is right for the community. This is two men who in spite of the community are making choices that are for their own purposes and not for the betterment of the community.

    This of course is my opinion however the fallout and the actions up to this point completely back up that opinion.

  7. Base you guys are. Someone disagrees with Drovetta and you want him to resign? He needs that thorn to keep him honest. Don’t know if that is possible though. The process was flwed and the only person to blame is the mayor. He is owned by somebody.

  8. A bit simplistic, isn't it? says:

    Since 2000, Gardner’s population has grown 90%. (link: http://www.city-data.com/city/Gardner-Kansas.html, which was the first hit that Google turned up on: “population Gardner KS”). We’ve had to build up a ton of infrastructure and as we’ve grown, we haven’t been able to attract enough business to help keep property taxes down. Others will also point out that we’ve offered abatements to some of our businesses, which is also, arguably, a burden on taxpayers, although the sales tax generated by them might help (also arguably) mitigate that burden. That’s a different discussion for another day.

    Additionally, Gardner is not the only city, state, (or national) government to be having trouble with money in this horrible economy. That doesn’t excuse anything, but it is also not a millstone to hang entirely on Drovetta’s head.

    As for “losing the Intermodal”, well that’s the direct responsibility of the political supporters who put guys like Fotovich (and some of his predecessors) into a position to make the nose-spite-face decision to let the Intermodal go to Edgerton. Drovetta, like everyone here will tell you, wanted it to keep it in Gardner. He was outvoted by Take Back Gardner’s block.

    That’s not to say that he’s blameless…or even that he doesn’t need to go. It’s just that, if we’re calling for his head, calling for him to resign like Jared is doing, we ought to make sure that we have tangible things he’s specifically done that we can blame him for. Not just for being around when bad things happen.

  9. Still vague, Jared says:

    I’m not saying you’re wrong. It’s just that your justifications appear to come from whatever inside information you’re able to get at. While that remains opaque to the rest of Gardner, and perhaps while your perspective and justifications remain similar to those spelled out in such a maddingly vague fashion by Fotovich’s letter, we’re still left trying to figure out where the truth resides.

    Have you read the questions and responses from the council members over at the other news site? Granted, the questions there are awkwardly direct, and some of the council members answered with simple yes/no answers, but NONE of the council members offered even a HINT of what you claim. They’re on the record as saying that.

    So how do you suggest the rest of us reconcile the apparent disparity between the hinted allegations you make, and the pretty much flat denials made by the Council (excepting Fotovich, of course)?

  10. Why not drovetta? says:

    Get real. You want to tell me the town hasn’t gone downhill under Drovetta? His “predecessor” was a fine lady, and to say otherwise shows your ignorance. As to Fotovich, he’s been in office how long? So how can you blame him for anything. Tax and spend. Tax and spend.

  11. I agree that some parts of the town have “gone downhill”. You’re the one trying to make the link between everything that’s happened in and around Gardner and Drovetta. Some of it? Sure. ALL of it? Not in the least. That you tried to hang losing the Intermodal on him, for instance, shows YOUR ignorance.

    And by the way, I was talking about Fotovich’s Take Back Gardner “predecessors”, not Carol Lehman. Although some of the same people who are howling for Drovetta’s head despised and demeaned Lehman just as much.

  12. Why not drovetta? says:

    I’m not trying to link anything. Just saying Drovetta is the one common link who has been here thru it all, so why does everybody exempt him? He may go to Mass and smile, but he’s no choirboy. Gonna blame one, blame them all. You conspiracy nuts are crazy. As to Fotovich – he’s been in office how long? So why holler about him for things happened years ago. Quit pointing fingers and start holding them ALL accounable.

  13. Let’s just say that Fotovich has been very efficient at obstructing Council business when he doesn’t get his way. And now he’s breaching the privacy of potential city employees…something that would be an easily-fireable action. But even before getting elected, his political activism demonstrated pretty much what we’ve seen now. He was the just-say-no-to-the-Intermodal guy who swore up and down that throwing the Intermodal out of Gardner would make it go away. He is, at least, precisely what was advertised.

    Nobody’s exempting Drovetta, myself included. I’m just still waiting for you to illustrate something specific that he has or hasn’t done that’s caused all the problems you seem to want to hang on him. So far, all you’ve told me is that he should be tossed because he’s…well…there. Like watching a car accident, then punching the guy next to you because he’s nearby. Some of us actually want to know who’s been doing what before we dump ’em all.

    And there’s no conspiracy here to theorize about. Unless you count the people that Jared won’t or can’t cite as sources for what he says was going on.

  14. About the intermodal–at least Gardner residents got to vote on it; Edgerton is a dictatorship, the residents didn’t get to vote on it, but will have to pay for it.

  15. There is money for the needs of the intermodal; but, Mayor Roberts says there is no money for more law enforcement officers to clean up all the drug houses in Edgerton. There is to be a big meeting with the residents of Edgerton on Tuesday night. Bet the residents will just be SOL.

  16. @Granny. Gardner says the same thing about police; that we don’t have money. Which means it’s not a priority to them.
    also, why do potential city employees have an expectation of privacy? have you all ever applied for a job recently? potential employers want everything but a blood test, and that’s part of the screening for health insurance.

  17. Altho Gardner-Edgerton is a small community, guess we are in style with the big cities. (drugs, crime)

    Government as usual from the Federal down. We are peons, unable to think for ourselves.

  18. I agree with Jared Taylor on one thing: Larry Fotovich should resign; however, Jared Taylor should resign from Gardner. I seriously hope Jared Taylor is not thinking he is going to run for a city council member position if/when becomes available.

  19. Dave Drovetta Day says:

    Maybe a proclamation could be issued naming it Dave Drovetta day, since he’s such a saint.

  20. People post comments here as if they know what is going on, but do they ever go to the city council meetings (except for the VERY FEW regulars) to watch what REALLY happens?

    While we are all entitled to our own opinions, don’t state your opinions to sound like facts.

    Start going to the city council meetings. Watch what goes on (and whats not reported on). Then come back here with the facts, please.

    ((Yes, I agree the meetings should be taped so that those that cant make it can be more involved)).

  21. Agreed. Completely.

    It’s easy for us to post on stuff where we only know a little bit of what’s going on.

    Also, for “?”, you’re right that prospective employees have to provide a lot of personal information to the companies they’re applying to. But that information is, or should be, kept in private: not shared among peers or almost-peers. And DEFINITELY not shared with the rest of the world.

  22. @@Seriously. Not sure what government bubble you are in, but the days of any kind of privacy are long gone. Google your name and see what shows up. This is 2011, not 1949.

  23. sick of the negative says:

    Shouldn’t the headline read: “Jared Taylor Announces Candidacy for Mayor”?

    This is nothing more than a typical campaign rambling; accusations that are not substantiated by fact.

    Who were the “multiple council members”? There are only 5. If one is Fotovich, well……

    That leaves four. Which ones were they? All four? Three? Two?

    As far as the citizens group, same question, who were the “multiple members” and how did they assess it was “rigged”?

    Just another example of poorly written, unsubstatiated garbage posing a journalism from the Gardenr News.

  24. In defense of Gardner News, Jared Taylor’s letter is posted as a “Letter to the Editor”. So it’s opinion and should not be confused with “journalism” or straight-up news. On the other hand, Gardner News seems to use its editorial page to break “news” stories it can’t substantiate. Fotovich’s ill-conceived letter to the editor that alleged misconduct from the Mayor and self-justified his own background research (and the publishing thereof) is another example of this.

    A responsible journalistic news source might try getting the facts on situations like this instead of letting it play out on the op-ed pages. But that’s kinda beside the point.

    Regardning privacy, from “?”, ask any HR director what they would do with an employee who started rooting around in other employee’s personal (or personnel) data. Sure, the world has changed and the concept of personal privacy is something of a fantasy, but there are still rules, still laws, about what businesses and other entities who have access to your personal information can do with that information. HIPAA, anyone?

  25. Jared Taylor says:

    @sick (if that is your real name), this is my “opinion” hence it is headed Letter to the Editor. I didn’t break any news, what in my opinion piece can be catergorized as ‘breaking news’? I feel like my letter hit all the right nerves since the die hard supporters of both Fotovich and Drovetta are on here clamoring to denounce my opinion and then blame the recall and/or the intermodal on as why their side is right and the other is really to blame.

    This is just the same Fotovich/Drovetta dynamic played out by their supporters.

  26. sick of the negative says:

    @ Jared,

    Opinion or not, it is still unsubstantiated. You make a statement that you “heard” from “multiple” council members and “heard” from a “few” members of the citizens group. Who were the mulitples? A few? That’s at least three, name them and they can substantiate your assertions. Those statements are not opinion, they’re either facts or a lies. The latter is probably the answer because I doubt that you will get backing from either the “multiples” or the “few” you allegedly “heard’ from.

  27. Jared Taylor says:

    @sick, that assertion was not made in my letter to the editor. I made that claim only to counteract the feedback from another poster (probably you but who would know since whomever you, they, doesn’t feel brave enough to use real names). I also claimed it was based on my own research and I encouraged others to do likewise.

    My only factual assertion was that the action of both the Mayor and Fotovich backed up my claim that they were doing harm to the community. My evidence being through their fued, our candidate search is now halted.

    I encourage you, who ever you are…Dan, to do a little research if you care enough but I dont care. I care that these two men, whatever their intentions, are disrupting our community and a mockery is being made.

  28. Is it true? says:

    Is it true that Jared Taylor ran and lost in the last city election? I’m sensing another push from him. It appears he can’t accept defeat – he has resorted to lame and poorly opionated letters to the Gardner news. What a joke….I’m sure his family has told him how “great” he is, but the community of Gardner has already voted…get over it Jared Taylor.

  29. sick of the negative says:

    “My only factual assertion was that the action of both the Mayor and Fotovich backed up my claim that they were doing harm to the community. ”

    ” I have heard from multiple council members as well as a few members of the community interview board that have suggested this process from the beginning was staged and manipulated.”

    So Jared. If the first quote above taken from your last comment is truthful. Then the second quote above taken from your letter to editor is a lie. If you are confused about the quote being from your letter, Fourth paragraph, fourth sentence.

    And if your first quote above is true what evidence is there of harm to the community by the mayor? From all accounts that have been put forth, the mayor acted to protect the community.

  30. Gardner theater says:

    Gardner theater continues to play out. Funny what “anonymous” people will say on here that they don’t have the guts to say face to face. Pardon me while I do a song and dance.

  31. Jared Taylor says:

    Yeah, I guess I made two factual assertions. Good call.

    Steve Schute commented about being a part of the community board and confirmed what I wrote on one of the articles on this site. I guess he would count as a primary source.

  32. sick of the negative says:

    Ok, that’s a little progess. You heard from one of the community members not multiple. There is still the matter of council members. Nothing wrong with having an opinion,but when you are defending your assertions it needs to be done with fact. Perpetuating exagerrations does not help the community either.

  33. @Is it true

    If someone runs for an office in the town they reside, they obviously care enough about the town to put up with all the negativity that comes with it. Do you really expect someone who lost an election to be quiet about their feelings for their city? I don’t always agree with Jared’s opinions or comments, but I think it would be a disservice to the community to ask anyone to not state their opinions…….even Larry Fotovich.

  34. All of you sick of the negative, do you realize you are the negatives? What’s that Bible saying – why worry about the sawdust in your brother’s eye when you have a log in your own? You sound like a bunch of unruly chidlren on a playground.

  35. @ Ryan –

    Don’t be fooled, Ryan. Larry Fotovich does not care about this city. He cares about Larry Fotovich’s ego and Larry Fotovich’s personal agenda. Whether he’s wearing his realtor, home association member or city council member hat – it’s all the same. His primary concern is himself.

  36. Jared Taylor says:

    @sick, I mentioned Steve Schute because he is on record. I have actually spoken with 3 of the community board members but they are not on record and they are not all of equal opinions of how the process went down.

  37. GardnerPride says:

    Well stated Kay.

  38. Kay, you stated what I have felt all along.

  39. You couldn’t be more wrong.

  40. Both men, although I’m upset with both of them, serve this community. Both attend Church and have families. Shame on you all for gossiping. Look what’s in your own hearts.

  41. Just what does Jared Taylor want? Let’s step back for a mement. He was behind the recall of two excellent council members and then he ran for city council….and lost. Now he wants the mayor and a council member to resign. Could the reason be that he wants to be mayor or on the city council. He must know by now that he can’t get elected, so what’s a man to do????

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