Kristi Fulnecky’s two years on council have been plagued with infighting, difficulty, and controversy. From saying “Springfield gets sued all the time” to defend her stance against a SCOTUS ruling, to blaming city staff for her failure to read emails that were addressed to her, she has ruffled feathers all across Springfield. So much has been written about the issues surrounding her time on council that it has become difficult to keep it all straight. Here is a list of the top ten things to know about mayoral candidate Kristi Fulnecky
Originally posted on April 2, 2017, at 3:18 p.m. on Buzzfeed Community. Due to a change in the terms and conditions regarding politics as a topic, the post was taken down and moved to WordPress.
1. She was ineligible to run for her council seat
There is no doubt about it, Kristi Fulnecky was not eligible to take office. She sat in a council meeting and pouted like a child, and refused to look at her peers as they spoke candidly about the issue of her conduct. Councilman Mike Schilling, who has a reputation for being calm and contemplative, suggested she apologize to the people of Springfield for her behavior.
2. She complains about costs to the city that her own decisions created
To this day, Fulnecky complains about the cost the city paid to “go after her” when in reality, her decision to get her own counsel forced the need to hire outside counsel, to avoid conflicts of interest. City attorneys cannot represent one Councilmember against another, thus the conflict and need to hire outside counsel.
3. She tried to bully a citizen by threatening legal action
Any attorney should know that none of these scary accusations would hold up in court. However, any professional ethics she might possess did not deter her from trying to bully a citizen into thinking they could be sued. Cheap intimidation tactics don’t work on citizens who understand the law, thank goodness. This was either intimidation, or Fulnecky is an attorney who doesn’t understand the law. Either is scary to contemplate.
4. She threatened the Chief of Police on Facebook
In response to a citizen complaining about Chief Williams and states that Springfield needs new law enforcement leadership, Fulnecky says she just needs four more weeks (an approximate countdown to the election).
These are strange words for someone who claims to support the police.
To establish context, the citizen who complained is a former councilman who chased down citizens in an episode of road rage, held his wife hostage at gunpoint and tampered with evidence at the scene of his DUI arrest. Fulnecky agrees with him wholeheartedly about the direction the police force needs to go.
5. She lied about the city’s budget on the radio
While trying to drum up sympathy among conservatives, Kristi Fulnecky said the budget was not available, and as mayor she would make sure it was published online for the sake of transparency. She blamed city staff for holding back her attempts to get detailed information.
Except that the budget is online, and the detail available is astounding. Anyone can look at the overview, and see exactly what is being spent. Cleverly disguised as “public information” she has been unable to locate this resource after two full years in office.
6. The mayor had to publicly address her lies about city staff.
Though Mayor Bob Stephens was out of town, he felt obligated to correct an accusation made against city staff by Kristi Fulnecky. The complaint was that she had not received emails about Breed Specific Legislation that she should have been copied in on, and that was why she was unprepared. Mayor Stephens looked into this concern the moment it was raised, and discovered that Fulnecky had indeed been copied in on all messages properly. Fulnecky has yet to apologize for this false accusation. Mayor Stephens requested that his comments be read in a meeting, and in doing so made the truth a matter of public record.
7. She vowed to get rid of liberals who work for the city
On a recent radio show, Kristi Fulnecky blamed liberal city staff’s incompetence for holding back her efforts and the council as a whole. Though the mayor’s office is nonpartisan, this has not stopped Fulnecky from bullying and threatening employees whose political or personal beliefs do not align with her own.
In a public debate, when asked how she would work to bridge difficult working relationships (because her tenure has been plagued by them), she implied she would remove staff who did not perform to her expectations. Opponent Ken McClure explained that this could only be done by the city manager. She either didn’t realize that or lied to garner support.
8. She claimed a project that had been in development for months was a ploy to make her look bad
Fulnecky has long been the enemy of the poor. One of her favorite ideas is that panhandlers should be arrested for holding signs or speech that makes people uncomfortable. Perhaps she should have studied the First Amendment a little more thoroughly, as this has been litigated numerous times by the ACLU.
The City of Springfield announced a pilot program designed to help panhandlers get to work, make a wage that would give them necessities and help facilitate the climb out of disaster. Fulnecky was furious and said it was done just to make her look bad. Never mind the fact that she has been free to help the panhandlers for the last two years. Her attempt to smear this program did not sit well with many volunteers, organizations, and people who have been concerned and working on solutions.
9. She has failed to pay taxes and fees correctly at the city, state and federal level
The reason Fulnecky is ineligible for office has to do with her nonpayment of a local business license for seven years. Because City statute says that the City can only collect back three years, that is what Fulnecky ultimately paid. There have also been both state and federal tax liens published publicly, including five years of federal taxes totaling $92,371. She has promised a letter of apology from the IRS but has yet to produce it.
Fulnecky’s explanation is that she actually overpaid her taxes for several years.
She claims that all of these are in error, but has failed to provide any evidence showing that she just didn’t pay them along with late fees when forced to comply. She wants to “take control” of the budget, but she probably should take control of her own finances first.
10. The local newspaper had to correct her publicly
In an especially embarrassing instance, the Springfield News-Leader had to fact check and publicly correct Fulnecky’s claims that she had raised $100,000 for her campaign. She missed by approximately $37,000. No surprise, she blamed a staffer through a representative.
The News-Leader countered with the information that the claim had been made many times over a long period of time. The screen shot on their page shows it was said in August, well before the report was filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission.