Tonganoxie Mike Vestal resigned as mayor of Tonganoxie Wednesday, two days after it was revealed he had sent an obscene e-mail from a computer he uses in his duties with the city’s answering service.
“That’s my decision,” Vestal said. “I did it for the betterment of the city. The focus needs to be on city business.
“I gave this a lot of thought and talked it over with my minister. I will devote my life to Christ. I want to continue on the economic development committee I started. I’m excited about that. It’s doing a great job.”
Vestal admitted at Monday’s Tonganoxie City Council meeting that he had sent an obscene e-mail. The admission came after council member Paula Crook twice referred to the e-mail at the meeting.
Crook said she was with her brother, Tonganoxie police officer Danny Ruff, July 14 at an Olathe bingo parlor when he received an e-mail from Vestal on his BlackBerry. The e-mail contained 14 nude photographs of a woman.
“I’d call it hard-core nudity — hard-core porn,” Crook said. “It showed things that made me blush.”
Crook said Wednesday that Vestal did the right thing in resigning.
“I wish Mike the best,” she said. “I’m sure he’s doing what’s best for him and the city of Tonganoxie.”
One official praised Vestal’s tenure in city government.
Vestal brought stability to the City Council and helped the community focus on its needs, Councilman Tom Potthoff said.
“To me, it’s a sad day for Tonganoxie,” he said. “He tried to be a good leader. Nobody’s perfect, but he did move us forward in some areas.”
According to city code, Council President Jason Ward would become mayor if that was his choice. He said Wednesday he was undecided, but hoped to have a decision before the Aug. 9 council meeting.
If Ward declines the position, the council would elect a mayor from among its members.
City Counsel Mike Kelly said the new mayor would then appoint a new council member, subject to confirmation by the council. The seat of the appointed council member will be contested in next April’s election.
Vestal’s four-year term was also to expire next spring. He defeated incumbent Mayor Dave Taylor, 365-341, in April 2007 to win the position.
In September of that year, Vestal apologized and offered to resign when it was learned that he sent an e-mail from his answering service computer with the words “Next Monday is National Female Breast Appreciation Day.” The e-mail showed a picture of a woman and her naked breasts. Underneath the picture were the words, “Beats the (expletive) out of Martin Luther King Day! Doesn’t It?”