LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — Leavenworth city commissioners voted Thursday night to remove Shay Baker as mayor because of a letter she wrote urging leniency for a convicted drug dealer.
The action came after an emotional apology from Baker, who remains on the City Commission.
“Never at any time did I intend for this letter to be from anyone but me,” she told residents, adding that she did not intend to disrespect the police.
“I apologize if you feel that I have not been a good representative.”
Commissioner Larry Dedeke, a former police officer, said he felt that Baker’s letter was disrespectful to police officers and citizens.
“I think that they’ve been slapped in the face,” he said.
Baker sent the letter supporting Billy Trinkle, a longtime friend who was indicted with 42 others as part of a massive bust conducted by federal, state and local authorities. The indictment was thought to have taken a major cocaine operation off the streets in Leavenworth and elsewhere.
Prosecutors said Trinkle, who was sentenced to 20 years, purchased “distribution quantities” of cocaine and investigators “intercepted 45 phone calls in which Trinkle was engaged in drug trafficking.”
Though she did not use city letterhead, Baker attached her business card, which includes the city’s logo, her City Hall phone number and e-mail.
The letter became part of the public record when it was submitted to the court.
Baker said the letter shouldn’t override all the good that she has done for the city. Even critics praised her previous performance.
“I was asking for compassion for a person that has made multiple mistakes in his life,” she said. “I hope no mayor is ever forced to eliminate compassion from their lives.”
Leavenworth, a city of about 35,000 and a suburb of Kansas City, Mo., is home to a federal prison and the military's maximum security prison.
Read the full story at KansasCity.com.