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.