As Rolla City Council member Daniel Jones submitted his resignation to city officials after serving 16 months in his elected position, council members recognized Jones' service to the city at their September meeting, with Jones sharing on Monday his hopes for the future of the 12-member council and the constituents he continues to advocate for.
Jones submitted his resignation vacating his seat on Thursday, Aug. 29 after residents of the 1st Ward elected him to represent them on the council in April 2018 with his term ending in April 2020. Jones represented Rolla’s 1st Ward alongside councilor Rachel Schneider, who residents elected in the April 2019 general municipal election.
Jones’ resignation came after city officials said they received questions on Jones’ background earlier in 2019 after he had been in office for over a year. The city; however, doesn’t have access to closed court records by law, so city officials cited an amendment to Missouri statute in 2015 that said, “no person shall qualify as a candidate for elective public office who has been found guilty of or pled guilty to a felony.”
City officials said they reached out to Phelps County Prosecutor Brendon Fox for clarification of Missouri statute, in which, Fox said that Jones was prohibited from serving in an elected position.
Rolla Mayor Louis Magdits is now responsible for appointing an interim council member to fill the remainder of Jones’ term, with Schneider and 4th Ward councilor Jody Eberly saying at the council’s Sept. 3 meeting they would like to recognize Jones’ service, while sharing how it’s vital to have all of the voices of the community represented on the city council as the council makes decisions for the collective future of Rolla.
Schneider said that Jones was an active member of the council addressing citizen’s concerns and complaints. No matter where they came from, he made sure he would address them, she said.
“He does advocacy for a number of issues including police and public safety support — his work addressing the opioid crisis and poverty in the area was tireless,"Schneider said. “While some disagreed with his advocacy on medical marijuana, I don’t think anyone can doubt his intelligence, honesty and sincerity.”
Councilor Eberly added to Schneider’s recognition. Eberly said that she was disappointed that Jones resigned his position, and she hopes that whoever replaces Jones on the council, for the remainder of his term, is equally committed to working together proactively on actions that will make the city of Rolla and the community better.
Eberly said, “I don’t know the details of his past, and I don’t think most other people do either. I don’t know if he met the requirements for elected office the time he ran, and at the time he was elected. But, what I do know is councilor Jones was a passionate advocate — not only for the citizens of his ward — but for making Rolla a better place to live for us all.”
Eberly further said the council should continue to have competing ideas.
“I didn’t always agree with him on his positions on issues, or in some of his methods of arguing his position; however, he always made me think of what my position was and why I was holding it,” Eberly said. “And that is a good thing, and something we all need more of, to think of other points of view and consider how we can help each other achieve common goals, and work out our differences.”
When asked on Monday what his hopes are for the future of the city and his ward, Jones said: “No matter who sits in that seat, it belongs to the 1st Ward. I believe in everyone having a voice and a vote. Elections matter and the 1st Ward is left in the very capable hands of Schneider.
“Rolla must continue to elect officials with progress in mind. We have to protect our neighborhoods and our pocketbooks from those who would try to sacrifice either for their gains.
“I am grateful to my ward for the time I had on the council and for the mentorship of the councilors I sat with. I love my community, and I felt that love returned tenfold. Thank you for that, Rolla.”