November 26, 2014

City of Mission violates open meetings law

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
The Mission City Council and Mayor violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act, District Attorney Steve Howe said in an opinion issued late last week. Howe is not filing action against the governing body, but he is asking members to attend KOMA training in the next six months.
“Please remember that any Mayor and/or Council Member who knowingly violates any provision of the Kansas Open Meetings Act shall be liable for the payment of a civil penalty in an action brought by the District Attorney in a sum not to exceed $500 for each violation,” Howe wrote in a letter to the governing body.
He issued a three-page letter to the Mission City Council after receiving a complaint in May 2011 against the group related to the city’s purchase of a the Neff Building.
Howe’s investigation revealed that members of the council met in executive or private session on July 20, 2011 and agreed to a maximum purchase price for the building. They met again in executive session on Oct. 7, 2011 to negotiate a purchase price of $280,000. The Mayor signed the purchase agreement for the property purchase on Feb. 2, 2012, despite the council and mayor never publicly voting on the purchase. The council never passed a resolution in public or in executive session authorizing the purchase of the property.
“The purchase of the Neff Building was a violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, and you should refrain from this type of conduct,” Howe wrote in the letter to the governing body.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Re-run of what Gardner and all cities and government entities do, in my opinion, and they get by with it because citizens enable and support this type of lowlife wheeling and dealing and the bureaucracy that has been built up through the years by such entities as the Municipality League, etc. Gardner certainly dodged the bullet of having Mission City Mgr. Scanlon as their city manager and which I feel sure is what the Dictator so wanted. Way past time to hold these jerks accountable and responsible instead of the little tap on the fingers that Howe provides but only the people can make that happen. Wallow in the gutter with the lowlifes or perhaps demand some integrity, ethics, character, etc. be returned to what is supposed to be YOUR government. As always, the choice is yours.

  2. Sorry, Judith, but you have it perfectly wrong. But what else is new?

    The Gardner City Council didn’t “get away with it”. And the voters didn’t let the City get away with it.

    You and your friends here at Gardner News made sure that our Mayor and current Council were warned away from KOMA-questionable behavior. Even though the City Attorney’s opinion was that the questionable actions probably didn’t constitute a KOMA violation, the JoCo DA, at the behest of Gardner News, saw it differently and made sure that the Council and Mayor knew that legal sanctions would follow.

    And you DO remember the part about the voters holding accountable City Council members for violating (at least in spirit) KOMA by using a middle-man to orchestrate their charter change for Gardner government? It was in the news at the time, I think.

    Voters were not happy to let Council members “get away” with what looked like sneaky, outside-the-chambers meetings, sending a warning that…if you can follow the bouncing ball…led directly to the DA’s warning against the current Mayor and Council.

    Even in Mission, the City Council did not get away with their KOMA violations. Otherwise Steve Howe would not be involved. As with Gardner, they’ve been put on notice, first by whichever Mission citizens caught the indiscretion, and then by the District Attorney. Of course, why Mission city politics are showing up in Gardner is kind of curious.

    At any rate, Judith, you seem to be missing reality here. From the examples we have here, it’s pretty clear that the voters…yourself included…are willing and able to make their choice at making sure their elected officals don’t violate KOMA. Or didn’t you notice?

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    The nonamers will always be around to support and enable the conniving and manipulations of the wrongdoers……….you can always count on them……..the gutter is always filled with their kind…….another reason you have such lousy government entities to contend with every day. Put your white hood and gun on nonamer and spread your ignorance, fear, hate, lies, etc. – that is about all you are good for along with those who are in your camp.

  4. No conniving involved in pointing out that you’re wrong, Judith. Did you have a rebuttal to my earlier post at all or by changing the subject, are you acknowledging that you don’t know what you’re talking about?

    And, Judith-Panda-Nonamer, you ALSO haven’t acknowledge all the conniving, manipulative, anonymous posting that you do. Hypocrite.

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    Slimeballs with white hoods have been around for eons but let me make one thing very clear. I won’t be having one thing to do with people of your kind. Some day your hood will come off your slimy head and all will see and be reminded of what evil really looks like. So, Nonamer, enjoy your rantings and drivel but I know you live in fear every day from perhaps your identity being known. A real coward who no one respects…………….

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    Lots of ways for people to steal. Those who turn their heads from the wrongdoing are just as guilty as the wrongdoers. These politcians and bureaucrats don’t need more training on the Open Meeting and Open Records Acts – they need some morals since they know very well what the Sam Hill they are doing or not doing – that is my opinion. Here is a recent article on Bell, Ca. Their slimy governent with slimy politicians and bureaucrats is an example that all citizens need to be very familiar with because their wheeling dealing is certainly not limited to the state of California – it is in your own backyard and has been for years in my opinion. Citizens don’t need to decry as to what happens in D.C. since they can’t even clean up their own local governments.

    Remember this if nothing else and realize the importance of choices made: “All it would have taken was one person in authority to blow the whistle,” City Manager Doug Willmore said. “Randy Adams could have been that one person. He wasn’t. He made his choices, and now it’s time to pay the price.”

    The rubber stampers better fully realize that if you rubber stamp what is going on, then you have taken ownership and responsibility for that action.

    **************************************************************************************

    Bell sues former Police Chief Randy Adams
    The scandal-plagued city says he owes it hundreds of thousands of dollars, alleging he looked the other way when confronted with evidence of corruption.

    Former Police Chief Randy Adams was one of the nation’s highest-paid cops during his tenure with the scandal-plagued city of Bell. (Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times / July 19, 2010)

    September 4, 2012, 7:40 p.m.

    When he was Bell’s police chief, Randy Adams was one of the highest-paid cops in the nation. Now the city wants it all back. After years of scandal that has left the city on the cusp of insolvency, Bell filed suit Tuesday, saying Adams owes his former employer hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Bell, a working-class city that paid outsized salaries to its top administrators, said Adams must repay the city his entire $457,000 annual salary and a portion of the $20 million the city estimates it lost as a result of a corruption scandal that led to the arrests of eight former civic leaders.

    The lawsuit can be read as a pointed response to one the former police chief filed against Bell last month for severance pay. He previously sued the city for legal costs that he spent defending himself against a state attorney general suit that accused him and others of plotting to enrich themselves at city expense. The state suit has since been dismissed.

    “A lot of people say, ‘Why aren’t you going after Randy Adams?’ That has been answered today,” said Anthony Taylor, an attorney for Bell.

    The lawsuit alleges that Adams looked the other way when confronted with evidence of corruption in the small Los Angeles County city.

    “All it would have taken was one person in authority to blow the whistle,” City Manager Doug Willmore said. “Randy Adams could have been that one person. He wasn’t. He made his choices, and now it’s time to pay the price.”

    The suit signals a more aggressive stance by the city in going after its former leaders. Although Adams is not among those charged with corruption, his contract as police chief weighs heavily in some of the criminal counts. Former City Administrator Robert Rizzo and Assistant Administrator Angela Spaccia are accused of trying to hide the amount of his salary by dividing it into two contracts.

    The indictment also alleges that Spaccia and Rizzo hid an agreement that allowed Adams to retire with a disability pension, which would have allowed him to avoid paying taxes on half his pension. He is now among the top public pensioners in California.

    “The public should know that the city of Bell will no longer be a cash cow for individuals like Randy Adams,” said Mayor Ali Saleh, who was elected after the entire City Council resigned or was recalled.

    The suit also asks that Adams be forced to pay the city’s costs to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by Bell police Sgt. James Corcoran. Corcoran went to Adams with allegations of voter fraud, unlawful vehicle seizures, illegal selling of building permits and two instances of sexual harassment involving Rizzo. According to the lawsuit, Adams became upset when Corcoran told him he had taken the information to the FBI.

    Adams demoted Corcoran, placed him on administrative leave and started an investigation for insubordination.

    After he was told he would be fired, according to the suit, Corcoran retired and sued the city. He recently settled for $400,000 and won back his job on the police force.

    Sana Swe, Adams’ attorney, said the allegations in the lawsuit were not new. The council, she said, “certainly knew he was there” and the city “gave him a gun, gave him a badge, gave him a uniform.”

    As far as returning the money, she asked, “He was supposed to work for free?”

    Adams started the Bell job in July 2009, shortly after retiring as Glendale’s chief. His Bell salary was about twice what he had been making and 50% more than the Los Angeles police chief earned at the time. He stepped down in 2010.

    The lawsuit charges that Adams’ contract was invalid because the City Council never approved it.

    Besides Rizzo and Spaccia, six former Bell council members have been charged with corruption.

    The judge presiding over the Bell criminal cases wondered aloud why Adams had not been charged. “I don’t know why he is not a defendant in this case,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy said at a hearing.

    The city’s lawsuit calls Adams’ conduct “malicious, oppressive and/or fraudulent,” and refers to the money he earned and the costs the city absorbed as essentially being “stolen” from the city.

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