April 24, 2014

KOMA violation UPDATED

Danedri Thompson
submissions@gardnernews.com
The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office hopes to complete its investigation into alleged Kansas Open Meetings Act violations by the Gardner City Council before the end of the year.
Steve Howe, district attorney, would not confirm a deadline for wrapping up the investigation, but said he was hopeful his office would conclude its investigation before the end of 2011.
Howe said his investigator will present information to county attorneys who would then make a decision based on the information.
“After we make a decision, we will render an opinion that we will make available to the public,” Howe said.
He would not comment on possible penalties should the DA’s office deem the Gardner City Council violated the law, but a letter to The Gardner News from Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt’s office said violators can be fined up to $500. Other penalties include open meetings training.
“There are no statutes that address payment of costs associated with such remedial payment,” Assistant Attorney General Liza Mendoza said in a letter delivered via U.S. Postal Service.
Monetary penalties are rare.
“We do not know of any cases where a court has ordered such civil penalties under the provisions of KOMA or KORA,” Mendoza said in her letter.
However, Montgomery County Attorney Larry Markle recently reached a settlement with members of the Independence Community College Board of Trustees concerning a KOMA violation.
In that case, trustees met in executive session to discuss applicants to fill a vacancy on the board.
“KOMA is clear that executive session would only include discussions of non-elected personnel,” said Andy Taylor, editor of The Montgomery County Chronicle, who filed the complaint.
The county attorney issued a letter to the trustees saying they needed to acknowledge the error and apologize.
Less than a year later, trustees met again in executive session to discuss applicants for a second vacancy on the board. Taylor filed a second complaint.
The county attorney said the violations were wanton attempts to subvert the public interest, and two board members were fined $500 each. The entire six-member board was forced to attend open meetings training.
“Very few cases ever go to court,” Taylor said. “The county attorney or the district attorney determines whether a violation existed and then he or she will have to create an agreement. It doesn’t go to a courtroom or a judge.”
A spokesperson for the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office declined to comment about any specifics of the local investigation including who filed the complaints and which council members are under investigation.
However, The Gardner News was able to confirm through other sources that an investigator from the D.A.’s Office questioned at least two city officials about a July 14 executive session and about a possible serial meeting violation related to an email.
During a July 14 work session, council member Larry Fotovich objected to going into executive session on five different occasions saying a discussion about overall salary structures should not be discussed in private session.
“It’s something that can be gotten as part of the Kansas Open Records Act and is not something that should be secret,” he said prior to joining the council in executive session.
All other council members voted each time, four-to-one, in favor of retreating behind closed doors.

Comments

  1. doesn't matter says:

    Gravy Train? Seriously there was a Gravy Train…….Judith get over yourself. You would stab a relative in the back if it got you ahead in life. You talk this big game, but in reality your not that much better. You are the first to complain and the last to do anything to fix it. Instead of complaing why dont you do something positvie to change it. Instead of reporting your random facts on paper why not put yourself in a position to change it. Your a Joke that isn’t funny. Make a positive change or stop…just stop, but then again if you do, i go back to my previous statement, if you stop Danedri Thompson’s articles wouldn’t get any hits.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    The backstabbers are alive and well today just as they are every day………….

  3. doesn't matter says:

    according to dictionary.com the word backstabber:
    to attempt to discredit (a person) by underhanded means, as innuendo, accusation, or the like.

    Judith dont look now but that would describe you too…so i guess who are correct to state that
    “The backstabbers are alive and well today just as they are every day………….”

    Oops…prob. should of dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s on this one….its okay I will forgive you of your misunderstanding, i am that kind of person, i forgive people.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    Now the rotten Beasley Bunch want forgiveness…………what a laugh……..like they deserve to be forgiven nor have they repented and changed their ways………………the ignorance also is alive and well today as usual…………

  5. doesn't matter says:

    i am not part of no “beasley bunch” and i never said i wanted forgiveness….and what is a laugh is the fact that you never denied that you, yourself is a backstabber, and the only ignorance is the ignorance that you show by never answering questions directed to you, and constantly trying to make others feel bad.
    It might be a good idea if you take a moment and take a look at yourself and make sure that you are right in your ways before judging others, “ye without sin cast the first stone”

  6. Judith Rogers says:

    This article tells you how citizens are using their brains and how education should be the main goal……….may USD 231 School Dist. also start operating smarter and being creative……..can only hope our local school families realize they cannot afford a $71 Million school bond issue which will more than likely really cost them over $100 Million in the long run………….it will certainly cost you more than $2 or $4 per month in my opinion……..this Mayor and Council seem to know more about what is really involved in representing the citizens – much unlike what we have here in Gardner……….

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

    Voters reject increase in Liberty school tax
    By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON and JAMES HART
    The Kansas City Star
    By ROBERT A. CRONKLETON and JAMES HART The Kansas City Star
    Updated: 2011-11-09T15:55:28Z
    Voters in the Liberty School District on Tuesday rejected a proposed increase in its operating levy that would have raised $41 million over the next 20 years.

    The issue failed with 51.5 percent of the voters casting ballots against the measure.

    The district sought a 43-cent increase to fund construction at its two high schools as well as build a multipurpose district stadium and an elementary school — the district’s 11th.

    The district said it needed the increase to build facilities that would meet the needs of the growing number of students attending the district.

    The work at the high schools would have allowed the district to relieve crowding at its middle grade levels by moving ninth-graders to the high schools in 2013.

    The district has 11,300 students, including nearly 1,000 students in its first-grade classes.

    “We knew the struggling economy would be a big factor in whether our patrons could handle a levy increase at this time,” Superintendent Mike Brewer said. “We respect the voice of the people in indicating that this is not the right time.”

    The district will continue to take good care of its children, Brewer said.

    “Although it will be a challenge, we will be creative in accommodating continued growth using our current facilities,” he said. “I will visit with the school board and key stakeholders to evaluate what our next steps should be regarding overcrowding in the district.”

    The levy increase faced harsh criticism by some, including Liberty Mayor Greg Canuteson. Canuteson said he thought the district could meet the growing number of students by finishing Liberty North High School and adding some elementary classrooms under the district’s current budget.

    He also opposed construction of the stadium.

    “I support building a new elementary school and finishing Liberty North High School,” said Canuteson. “I believe the school district along with community partners can work together to accomplish those goals without raising taxes to the second highest in the state of Missouri.

    “I’m committed to helping the school district in any way I can to reach those objectives and I want to have new school built quickly and Liberty North finished immediately.”

    The district’s boundaries include Liberty as well as parts of Kansas City, North, and unincorporated Clay County.

  7. Non sequitur, anyone? says:

    Maybe you ought to submit these to Gardner News as letters to the editor, Judith, instead of posting items that are entirely unrelated to any conversation going on in the forums. Because, really, it makes you seem a little off-topic or off-kilter.

  8. doesn't matter says:

    IF i want to read articles from the Kansas City Star then i will go to http://www.kcstar.com and find the article and read it. Why in the world would you post an entire article from another news source on here?

  9. Evidently... says:

    …she’s trying to get Gardner News sued for using the Star’s content without permission.

  10. Judith Rogers says:

    We will find out in January whether citizens in this area are as dumb as dirt or whether they will use their brains like those citizens in Liberty did……………you pay the most tax dollars for schools and then comes your lovely city of Gardner’s high mill levy………..I wonder what it will take for the citizens to help themselves?????????????

  11. "Dumb as dirt"? says:

    And you wonder why people take exception to your posts, Judith?

  12. Judith Rogers says:

    Truth hurting you today??????

  13. I figure that truth and Judith don’t really have much to do with each other.

  14. Judith Rogers says:

    And I think that the truth is very hard for some to swallow…………..and they always want to kill the messenger of the truth………….

  15. doesn't matter says:

    There is a difference of trying to be the messenger and being a person who just flat out loves stirring the pot. Judith you are no better than anyone in any public office that is there to simply make things complicated and enjoys conflict.
    You dont make these comments on here cause you care! You make them cause you enjoy to argue and call people names and tell people how blind they are. You dont really care about any of this. IF someone in this town actaully got ellected into office and make a stand and made ALL these changes to make things better, you would complain about that too. THATS WHAT YOU DO!!
    IF you ACTUALLY CARED you yourself would go out and make a positive impact. Instead you sit here day after day after day with your negativity and your sarcasm and your finger pointing. You treat this “Newspaper” like your own personal blog.
    I for one dont care what you say about anything, but i will continue to come back here, not to read any articles or see “whats new” but to simple go toe to toe with you everyday and give you a piece of your own medicine.

  16. Judith Rogers says:

    Jdelphiki, I mean Dan, is having a hissy fit……………so childish when he doesn’t get his way……..come on Jdel, give me some more hate………..show yourself for what you are like you always do………..

  17. Who are you even talking to? I don’t know about “doesn’t matter”, but I’m not Jdelpiki or whoever.

    Slipping a bit, eh Judith?

  18. Judith Rogers says:

    Sure, sure………….go to bed tonight with all of that hate inside of you – hope you get a good night’s sleep…………

  19. doesn't matter says:

    i am not Jdelphia..i am not Dan…I am just a person that is tired of your whining and bickering and not willing to do anything to change it.
    You continue to point fingers and you are wrong at who you are pointing at, you continue to say things that are mean, but again YOU DONT disagree with the things that I said. i will continue to counter-attack everything you say till you either start answering questions directed at you, cause JUDITH demands answers when SHE asks questions, why do you put yourself at a higher standard?
    I will go to bed tonight like I do everynight, i will say my prayers kiss my family and say my prayers cause I have a clear conscience, I dont hold grudges but i will point fingers at those who pick on others. What goes around, comes around. Don’t be a critic if you, yourself don’t want to be criticized.

  20. Judith Rogers says:

    I have no problem being criticized and I have no problem with people not agreeing with my opinions. But I do have a problem with idiots who are control freaks and think people have to follow their judgmental decree on every subject under the sun………….you hate freedom of speech and you hate anyone who thinks for themselves…..you are a sorry piece of trash and belong in the worlds of the dictators…………..now, come on here and rant some more and again show yourself to be mentally ill that you are……….

  21. Now who's throwin' the hissy fit? says:

    Sounds like “doesn’t matter” hit a nerve. You say you don’t have a problem with being criticized or disagreed with, then you call “doesn’t” judgmental, say they hate freedom of speech and anyone who thinks for themselves, and dictator trash.

    So which is it, Judith, because it sure SOUNDS like you have a problem with people who disagree with you.

  22. GardnerPride says:

    “So which is it, Judith, because it sure SOUNDS like you have a problem with people who disagree with you.”

    Ding, Ding, Ding, we have a winner.

    Judith loves free thinkers and question askers, as long as they come up with the same answers she does. If not, well then you’re just stupid, a follower, and part of the Beasley Bunch, and a dictator loving fool. There’s just no in between with her.

  23. Oh, the irony! says:

    Judith wrote: “But I do have a problem with idiots who are control freaks and think people have to follow their judgmental decree on every subject under the sun.”

    Now that’s funny!

  24. doesn't matter says:

    Ooops!!! Dont look now Judith but you are ranting and raving and looking Mentally ill.

    You can’t have it both ways, you either are for freedom of speech or you are not. So if you are then I have every right to be on here and go against everything you say cause i have “freedom of speech” and therefore I shouldn’t be called such hurtful and meanful things.

    “But I do have a problem with idiots who are control freaks and think people have to follow their judgmental decree on every subject under the sun”

    After making this comment….I have one question. Do you get along with yourself then?

  25. maybe Kellogg cares about the city because he has 3 generations living here and would like to help ensure the city is a prosperous place for his grandkids to grow up…does there really have to be any other agenda?

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