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Resident behind MEC investigation seeks Cirtin dismissal

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The Springfield resident who brought about the Missouri Ethics Commission’s investigation into Greene County is seeking to oust Presiding Commissioner Bob Cirtin.

Linda Simkins on Feb. 8 filed an affidavit with the Greene County clerk and prosecutor asking for Cirtin’s removal from office. The affidavit specifically calls on county officials to appoint a special prosecuting attorney to perform an investigation and file a “petition in quo warranto for removal of Cirtin from office.”

Simkins said Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson referred the affidavit to Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s office. Loree Anne Paradise, Hawley’s deputy chief of staff, confirmed the office received a copy of the affidavit but did not say whether an investigation will be conducted.

In the affidavit provided by Simkins to Springfield Business Journal, she alleges Cirtin attempted for force county employees to spend work time on the Invest in Greene County Political Action Committee for the county’s new half-cent general revenue sales tax approved by voters in November.

The affidavit leans heavily on whistleblower documents sent to Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway’s office from former county Communications and Public Engagement Director Trysta Herzog.

Simkins claims Cirtin “committed willful, corrupt or fraudulent violations or neglect of his officials duties as subscribed by statute.” Simkins, a retired litigation paralegal, said she has no backing or political influence and is challenging the county as a concerned citizen.

Cirtin previously told SBJ the county is complying with the MEC investigation into misuse of public funds, but not with the auditor’s office.

“We have always maintained that the Missouri Ethics Commission is the only agency who can investigate and adjudicate these issues,” Cirtin said last week. “The state auditor’s office, even if they would do an investigation, they would send their findings to the Missouri Ethics Commission. That is why we have not utilized the state auditor’s office.”

Regarding the MEC investigation, Simkins said she believes the MEC will extend its 90-day deadline to further examine the claims. Cirtin last week said he believed the MEC would be finished with the examination by month’s end, and MEC Executive Director James Klahr has not responded to a request for comment.

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