The City of Rolla released the following statement today in regards to Ward 1 city councilor Daniel Jones serving on the council as the representative for Ward 1 in Rolla:
"City Council service is an honor and a privilege. With a City Council of 12 representatives the City of Rolla has been well-served by a diverse group of citizens willing to step up and help set the direction for the Community’s continued growth and development.
"Councilman Daniel Jones chose to do that in 2018 and was elected by the residents of Ward One to represent their interests. The qualifications to serve on City Council up until 2016 was to be at least 21 years of age, a citizen of the U.S. and a resident of the ward for six months.
"In addition the Missouri Revised Statutes (115.306) required candidates to be current on all State and local taxes. Candidate Jones signed his ‘Affirmation of Tax Payments and Bonding’ as stipulated by the Missouri Department of Revenue.
"In 2015 the Missouri Legislature amended the Statutes and added “no person shall qualify as a candidate for elective public office who has been found guilt of or pled guilt to a felony.” A search of Missouri Casenet did not reveal any concerns and Councilman Jones’ background after assuming office but was not privy to closed Court records.
"The issue of medical marijuana and the suggestion that the City consider de-criminalizing small quantities of marijuana brought considerable attention and public conversation to Council proceedings. Councilman Jones was a strong advocate for more flexible laws and appropriate access to medical marijuana, and publicly shared his own background regarding an arrest and incarceration for a marijuana-related offense several years earlier.
"Concerned citizens have since reached out to both City Hall and the County Prosecutor for clarification on proper qualifications.
"Mayor Magdits, City Administrator Butz and Councilman Jones discussed the situation in early May and reviewed the statutory rules in anticipation of the April 2020 local elections. Councilman Jones indicated, and has since repeated, that he does not feel he pled guilty to a criminal conviction and that the record was sealed as part of a plea bargain. Councilman Jones did indicate he would consult with his legal counsel to address the situation.
"The City has not initiated any action at this point and is waiting for a formal announcement or determination that will clarify the situation. Mayor Magdits reported, 'This is an unfortunate situation. Councilman Jones has worked hard to get elected and to serve the residents in Ward 1. We will await formal notification from proper legal authorities or Daniel as to how best to proceed. Protecting the integrity of the City of Rolla is our highest priority.'”