The New Face Of Joplin

When our first African-American president visits Joplin again in May, our city’s first African-American mayor will be there to greet him.

Congratulations to Melodee Colbert-Kean, who was elected by the city council Monday night to the largely ceremonial post. She reportedly is only the fourth woman so elected in Joplin and she will serve as the face of the city during events like the visit of President Obama on May 21.

Although we have a council-manager form of government, in which the city manager essentially supervises day-to-day operations, it is nevertheless, as Joe Biden might say, a big bleeping deal that Colbert-Kean is our new mayor.

It says something good about her and about our city, the population of which is only 3.3% African-American.



  1. I hope that Colbert is pronounced Cole-bare.


  2. jdhight01

     /  April 10, 2012

    I understand she was elected mayor by a vote of 5-4. Who were the four who voted against her? I also wonder why they voted against her.


    • From the Globe story:

      Colbert-Kean was not clear about whether her remarks were directed at a previous split over whether she or Scearce was to be mayor, or an effort by council members Morris Glaze and Mike Seibert to tab Woolston for a second term as mayor. Glaze and Seibert said Woolston would provide for continuity as the city enters what the city manager has described as a key phase in the city’s recovery from the devastating May 22 tornado.

      Glaze nominated Woolston and asked those who were there in support of him to stand. About a dozen people stood, including the president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Rob O’Brian, and the chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, Jane Cage.

      Asked after the meeting if she would favor a change in the city charter to allow voters to elect the mayor rather than the council, Colbert-Kean said the Joplin Charter Review Commission considered that question in 2006, but wound up leaving it to the council to decide. “Since we are not a strong mayor (form of government), that was the reason why,” she said of the commission’s decision to leave the mayoral election to the council.

      “I just hope we can come together,” she said of the two factions that have developed on the panel. Scearce and council members Benjamin Rosenberg, who was unopposed in Tuesday’s election, and Jack Golden are friends.

      Council members Scearce, Rosenberg, Golden, Trisha Raney supported Colbert-Kean in her bid for mayor. Glaze, Seibert and Gary Shaw supported Woolston in his bid for mayor.


  3. ansonburlingame

     /  April 11, 2012

    To all,

    Why, I ask, is it a, “as Joe Biden might say, a big bleeping deal that Colbert-Kean is our new mayor.”

    Why should her achievement of that position be any different than anyone else being duely elected by the City Council as Mayor?

    When, I wonder, will we begin to celebrate individual achievement in politics based on their merit, hard work and success in positions of leadership, rather than a knee jerk celebration over the melanine content of one’s body or their gender, or combination of such?

    For sure I have no axe to grind with the lady and certainly wish her well as she assumes a position of enhanced leadership. But had someone else won the election, I would wish them the same.

    I also hope she keeps a weather eye on her travel budgets paid for by the city in the future.



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