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La Harpe Mayor Kienast Fires A Second City Employee Before Heading For Court April 10th

by Michael Rodeffer, The Quill

Reports were out Tuesday that La Harpe Mayor Ryan Kienast, accompanied by the La Harpe City Attorney Diana Diestler, and Councilman Marcia Stiller had met with City Employee Tim Graves at City Hall on Tuesday morning and in the presence of Officer Livingston, fired the long-time water employee Tim Graves. The action leaves the City of La Harpe again without anyone with a Class A license to operate the water system.

This could be their final action as City Attorney Diestler said she had terminated her contract as the city's attorney effective March 31st, and Marcia Stiller whose term is ending with the April election announced she was withdrawing as a write-in candidate. Also, Kienast's mayor position is at question awaiting the outcome of the felony charges against him.

Mayor Kienast to Appear In Court April 10 on Felony Charges

March 7th, Mayor Ryan Kienast appeared in Court in Carthage for a preliminary hearing on charges filed by the Hancock States Attorney for Official Misconduct. Kienast allegedly had city employee David Little bring a city-owned backhoe onto private property owned by Kienast to dig a hole near the foundation of a home he owns. The action allegedly happened Nov.11, 2016 at 605 E. Main Street, La Harpe.

At the Preliminary hearing a State Trooper testified that both Kienast and Little's stories matched-that Little performed the digging that Kienast had asked him to do. A picture of the digging at the home and a copy of the Mayor's oath of office were also included at the hearing as evidence.

It was noted that Kienast had later issued a check to the City of La Harpe for $50, for "donation for digging hole."

The States Attorney said that Kienast paid $50 for backhoe services that were "well over $1,000" and said the constitution prohibits the mayor (and public officials) from using public property for personal gain.

Judge Rodney Clark then asked Kienast for a plea and his attorney Scott Terry said his client pleads "not guilty" to the charge. Kienast, 39, is to return for a pretrial hearing at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, April 10, 2017. If Kienast is convicted of Official Misconduct he could face up to 2 to 5 years in a correctional facility, a fine and probation and will be unable to serve as Mayor or in public office.