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Former Raytown Alderman Joins Missouri Education Board, Casts Decisive Vote To Oust Commissioner

Courtesy of Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Newly appointed Missouri Board of Education member Eric Teeman (right) cast the decisive vote to remove Education Commissioner Margie Vandeven

On Thursday, Raytown resident Eric Teeman was best known as a former alderman best known for trying to get Walmart declared a public nuisance.

A day later, Teeman found himself on the Missouri Board of Education, casting the deciding vote that ousted state education commissioner Margie Vandeven.

Republican Gov. Eric Greitens appointed Teeman after his previous appointee, Claudia Onate Greim of Kansas City, resigned Thursday.

Greim said in a statement she was unwilling to support Greitens’ efforts to boot Vandeven, who'd been commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education since 2015. In fact, she had voted against such action on Nov. 21, when the board had a 4-4 tie. 

“I regret that I cannot get comfortable with the current process taking place,” Greim said in her statement.

That left an opening for Greitens. He brought in Teeman, who apparently was sworn in just before Friday's morning meeting. After a 90-minute closed session, board president Charlie Shields announced that the board had voted 5-3 to remove Vandeven.

Surprise resignation

State law says the education board cannot have more than four members of one party. Teeman was described in Greitens' appointment letter as an independent. 

Greim is a Democrat, but is well-connected to Missouri’s Republican establishment. Her husband, Edward “Eddie” Greim, is an attorney who has represented Republicans in legal battles over election and redistricting issues. In an articleposted on his firm’s website, Graves Garrett — headed by state Republican Party chairman Todd Groves — Greim is called “go-to lawyer for Republicans.” 

Claudia Greim did not immediately return a message Friday. 

Teeman's new tenure

Teeman “is the owner of Visiting Angels, which is an elder care service provider,” according to the statement from Greitens' office. The website for Kansas City’s Visiting Angels franchise lists Jane Teeman, Eric's wife, as owner/operator.

In October, Teeman resigned from the Raytown Board of Aldermen, effective following its Nov. 7 meeting. In a letterpublished by the Raytown Review blog, Teeman said he was quitting to “do what is right” for his family and mentioned of a new professional opportunity.

“Over the last 12 months my professional life has taken a dramatic and unforeseen turn and for that reason I must resign my position,” Teeman wrote. “The opportunity that has been presented to me will require my full attention. My wife and I have decided that this opportunity is too good for me and my family to pass up.”

The letter does not specify what professional opportunity Teeman had been offered. Teeman has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a master’s degree from the Keller Graduate School of Management (part of DeVry University), according to the statement. 

As an alderman, Teeman was a critic of a tax-increment financing deal that meant Walmart did not have to pay $300,000 a year in taxes — even as the city considered reducing its public safety budget. He suggested in September that Walmart be labeled “a public nuisance,” according to the Kansas City Star.

Teeman did not immediately return a message Friday left at the office of Visiting Angels. A staff member there said Teeman was returning from the board meeting in Jefferson City.

KCUR's Brian Ellison is the host of Statehouse Blend Missouri and contributes to coverage of Missouri government. He can be reached by emailor followed on Twitter,@ptsbrian.

As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
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