October 25, 2014

Public officials attend KOMA training workshop

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe hosted dozens of public and appointed officials at a workshop on the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA).
More than 90 people, including Gardner City Council members Larry Fotovich and Randy Gregorcyk and city administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee, attended the two-hour presentation.
“Several city officials have expressed confusion over the scope and application of the KOMA and KORA laws,” Howe wrote in his invitation to city and county officials. School board members did not receive invitations to the event due to space constraints.
“It is our responsibility to promote transparency in local government by acting within the parameters of KOMA and the (Kansas Open Records Act),” Howe wrote.
Howe’s office is responsible investigating and reporting allegations of KOMA and KORA violations to the Kansas Attorney General each year.
Howe found the Gardner City Council violated KOMA on two occasions in the summer of 2011.
That investigation was the result of a complaint regarding Mayor Dave Drovetta’s use of an email asking council members if they would be willing to increase the maximum salary for the then-vacant city administrator position.
KOMA prohibits serial emails between members of a governing body, and participants at the Oct. 18 workshop asked several questions about digital communications. A general rule, Howe explained to participants, is do not hit “reply all” in emails.
KOMA violations are subject to fines not to exceed $500 per incident, but Howe did not pursue civil penalties against the mayor and council.
The district attorney’s office is currently investigating complaints that the Shawnee City Council violated KOMA, and Howe recently determined that the city of Mission violated KOMA earlier this year.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    Most of these jaybirds could go to training every day of the week and they still would violate either or both of the Open Meetings and Open Records Acts. They know what the Sam Hill they are doing. Drovetta still says to this day he didn’t violate the Open Meetings Act and he thumbs his nose to Dist. Attorney Howe’s decision based on facts saying he did. It is just like racism and discrimination of all kinds – you have oodles of laws against it but it still comes down to the moral compass of each and every person and what is in their hearts and minds and whether they even care to do the right thing. Dist. Attorney Howe made a decision based on facts stating that Shepherd and Peters did NOT violate the Open Meetings Act, however, Ryan Beasley and his bunch told a bold-faced lie in my opinion wherein their recall petitition stated the following: “Mary Peters violated the provisions of the Kansas Open Meetings Act, K.S.A. 75-4317 et seq.”. Then Beasley had to be slammed against the wall to submit the proper election finance report to the Election Office and even then he listed “anonymous” donors when the form clearly states the names and addresses of the donors and the amount they have given be stated on the form. Any citizen with a brain and a conscience should be able to see through all of the lies and hate mongering but many don’t and that is why you get lousy government and the adverse affects from it due to the rotten to the core politics and those involved in it.

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