A ‘dirty politician’


Joshua Boley, The Chart

Most students who pass through Webster Hall would never realize one of the custodians also serves as the mayor of Carl Junction, however, Mike Moss has held that office for seven years.

“Just look at the way my floors shine,” Mike Moss, custodian for Missouri Southern in Webster Hall, said. 

“I like to be able to back up and say to myself, ‘Wow, doesn’t that look good?’ I take pride in what I do for a living.”

Moss has been working for Southern for six years, but custodial work isn’t the only thing he does to earn a living. 

What most students don’t know about Moss is that he’s also the mayor of Carl Junction. 

When people recognize Moss as the mayor, he jokes with them and says that he is a “dirty politician.”

“I say ‘Yeah, I clean the floors and scrub the toilets because I know where the dirt is,’” Moss said. 

“You have to have a sense of humor because there are people who are going to say you’re dirty and try to knock you down in politics, and anything else you want to do in life.” 

Moss has been the mayor for seven years. Before that, he served as a city councilman beginning in 1997. He ran twice before being elected as mayor.

“I didn’t like the way the previous mayor was leading the town or the direction it was going in, so I decided to run,” Moss said. 

Before his political work, Moss worked in retail grocery for 32 years. 

He began working when he was 16 sacking groceries and worked his way up to being a stocker. 

Moss moved on and worked at Wal-Mart for the last 14 years of his retail grocery experience.

“I thought I dealt with people pretty well back then and that it would prepare me for what I’m doing now, but now I’m dealing with them in an entirely different capacity.”

Moss signs the checks, bills and ordinances for the city of Carl Junction among other duties for a mere $504 that clears every month. 

His work for Southern helps pays the bills, but also comes with relationships he wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. 

“I love this building [Webster], the teachers and the students here,” Moss said. “It’s something I enjoy — having those connections and friendships to people. I like talking with the students, not to be nosy but to grow and connect with them and see what they’re involved in.”

Moss has a deeper connection to Southern’s grounds than just the relationships with people because he grew up in Joplin. He graduated from Joplin’s Parkwood High School in 1974.

“I played on these hills before this was ever a college or University,” Moss said. 

When it comes to Southern, Moss doesn’t have plans to leave any time soon, and when it comes to politics, the possibilities for the future are endless.

“This [being a custodian] is not a hard job, but you have to be detail-work oriented and set a standard for yourself,” Moss said. “That’s who I am and that’s what I love to do.”