February 6, 2016

OPINION: Time to fix Gardner Charter Ordinance No. 19

Irony, thy name is Gardner.
Larry Fotovich, council member, is being called upon by some residents to step down from office because they believe he has moved from the area.
Ironically, in April 2013, Fotovich supported the repeal or amendment of Charter Ordinance No. 19, an ordinance that chartered the city out of state statutes for elected bodies. That statute, K.S.A. 14-204 has more stringent residency requirements than the ordinance the city adopted in 2002.
The city’s ordinance allows Fotovich to stay in office as long as he is a “qualified elector.” For the record, Fotovich said he still occupies his Gardner home and is well within the law by remaining on the city council. He has purchased a home elsewhere.
We fear some residents, in their haste to unleash drama and stir discontent, are stalking Fotovich, and they should note the legality of their actions. We also remind them that the Fotovich family includes children.
Residents have started a Facebook page and petition calling for Fotovich to step down.
Charter Ordinance 19 has been the object of council discussion for years. And – in fact – it was a leading campaign issue for Mayor Chris Morrow. However, it hasn’t happened.
After several meetings in Spring 2013, Morrow said he hoped to have the ordinance amended and changed within the next three or four months. But Charter Ordinance 19 remains.
Charter Ordinance #19, amended in 2002, chartered the city out of having council elections in separate wards, created an appointment process that allows the mayor to make council appointments, and adopted a four-person quorum in order to conduct business. Repealing the ordinance would mean state statute would govern the city’s elections and appointments. State statute only requires three council members for a quorum, and allows the governing body to make appointments to the council.
When council chartered out of the state statute, the council appeared to agree changing a statutory procedure that requires the council to write a statement calling an applicant “unfit” if they wanted to deny a mayoral appointment. However, they did not appear to reach a consensus on increasing the number of council members, changing the appointment process, or adopting a ward system; however, there was no discussion on amending the term ‘qualified elector” to be more in line with state statute, which has a more defined determination of residence than current city ordinance.
Repealing 19 would also change the way appointments would be made to vacant council seats. Currently, the mayor appoints and the council approves. A 2008 state statute, however, created a new set of challenges for the council in the appointment process. In order to disapprove of a mayoral appointment, the council would be required to write a statement saying why the candidate is unfit for office. If the council simply declines to vote on a candidate for an appointment, the candidate is automatically seated after 45 days.
Charter Ordinance #19 is another example of the “law of unintended consequences.”
By trying to correct one problem; others were created.
Ideally, we would like to see the city council immediately repeal Charter Ordinance 19, and between now and the next election, the city should begin the process to comply with statutes that govern Kansas cities of the first class, which by definition have a population of more than 20,000 residents. (In the 2010 U.S. Census, Gardner residents numbered more than 19,000.) The council should work to create a ward system, set requirements for council eligibility and allow council members – not just the mayor – a greater say in how council vacancies are filled.
And residents, rather than stirring the flames of controversy, should concentrate on changing poorly considered charter ordinances.
Ironically, Charter Ordinance 19 is again scheduled for council discussion May 5.


  1. Gardnerwhos says:

    There appears to be A LOT of stalking going on on that CFG Facebook page. First a (gasp) BLACK man with the audacity to (again GASP) walk “suspiciously” around two Gardner neighborhoods. Now a councilman who (GASP) still owns a home in Gardner that he continues to occupy while simultaneously owning another home in a different community.

    These CFG freak shows have TOO MUCH TIME on their hands if they have time to post their bad deeds on social media and then stalk people. They are really giving the town a black eye. And they do not act like nor exemplify the behavior of the original residents of the town. CFG, for the record this is NOT how Gardner residents act. This is an embarrassment. You are an embarrassment.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    The Beasley Bunch have been wanting to get Fotovich out of office since he was elected. The CFG Pitchfork Hysteria continues with all of the accompanying adverse affects and with all of the usual players showing their true colors. If you are into hate mongering and lies, I would say you will love two Facebook page groups here in Gardner where you can get your daily dose of moral corruption.

  3. Yeah! People should come here, to the Gardnernews, and read their articles and the comments that follow them. You will never find Judith Roger preaching Pitchfork Hysteria. No she would never do that, no never. Gardnerwhoever, ironically you seem to have enough of your own time to review the CFG site to know what is going on. Just because you’re too scared to post a comment doesn’t justify your hypocritical condemnation. And when was the last time someone found their missing dog because of one of Danedri’s awesome articles? :)

  4. Gardnerwhos says:

    @Ryan123, if only you jokers stuck to lost puppies and garage sales. That’s what you’re good at.

    I forgot to mention the scary black man identified on your site around Christmas. He was at Wal-Mart where, clearly, CFG members don’t think black men should be.

  5. ThePatriot says:

    “We fear some residents, in their haste to unleash drama and stir discontent, are stalking Fotovich, and they should note the legality of their actions. .”

    Is there a basis for this “fear”?

  6. amused citizen says:

    I would like to point out a couple of things. First, the picture of the fellow at Walmart was shared on CFG because he was a person of interest the law wanted to speak to. Second, and Ryan maybe you can back me up on this. CFG did not start the call to step down, it is a separate Facebook page asking for him to step down. Whether he has moved out of town yet or not it is pretty obvious that he intends to so why would he not step down. That is all the people are asking for him to do. We certainly do not need any more drama or media attention.

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    About every week or two, I hold my nose and check out the Facebook page for the Gardner/Edgerton Republican Party. Today I, as usual, noted practically all of the propaganda postings by Bill Boillot and then this one posted by Ryan Beasley indicating what Jesus thinks and does. Facebook is such a valuable tool for some.

    Ryan Beasley
    April 7 at 4:40pm
    Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you
    There is no shortage of heresies these days. If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift…

    I’ll keep holding my nose and checking out the local Republican Party’s Facebook page whenever I feel up to the nasty chore.

  8. ThePatriot says:

    “Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you There is no shortage of heresies these days. If you want to adopt some blasphemous, perverted, fun house mirror reflection of Christianity, you will find a veritable buffet of options. You can sift the mattwalshblog.com'”

    I know this is off subject, but I could not let this pass.

    Could not find this post on the CFG Facebook page. So, in general, anyone who claims to be a Christian and thinks like this knows nothing of the teachings of Christ. Christ never taught intolerance. He lost his temper one time (money changes at the Temple on the Sabbath).

    The centerpieces of his teachings are both love and tolerance. This is made very clear in all 4 Gospels.

  9. Here is a link to the whole blog that Judith Rogers is trying to construe.


  10. Rich Melton says:

    I started the Larry needs to resign page because he no longer lives in Gardner. Even if he owns a house he is still selling it. So why delay the inevitable? He is the one who decided to buy a house in another town, I just want him to do what is right.

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