February 11, 2016

Sutton launches investigation of USD 231 attorney

TopekaRep. Bill Sutton, R-Gardner, is requesting that the Kansas Disciplinary Administrator investigate USD 231 board of education attorney W. Joseph Hatley.

The Kansas Disciplinary Administrator’s Office works under the direction of the Kansas Supreme Court. The administrator reviews complaints of misconduct against lawyers and when appropriate, recommends discipline to the Supreme Court in serious matters.

Sutton filed the request after attending the school board meeting in which USD 231 Superintendent Bill Gilhaus and two other administrators were terminated.

“(Hatley) was verbally combative, condescending and bullying in nature toward a majority of the board members,” Sutton said in a press release. “By all appearances, Mr. Hatley was at the meeting representing the interests of then-superintendent Gilhaus, not the school district at-large.”

Sutton said he requested the investigation in part due to rumors that Hatley sought-out district employees to file charges against school board members in

Bill Sutton

Bill Sutton

order to stop the special board meeting on Feb. 27.

“I am concerned that attorney Hatley repeatedly contradicted the legal directives of the Kansas Association of School Boards,” Sutton said. “I have requested an investigation on the appropriateness of attorney Hatley repeatedly assuring the former superintendent after the special meeting that he was not fired because the meeting was illegal.”

Sutton echoed concerns that Sen. Pat Apple voiced in a Kansas City Star article questioning the legality of Gilhaus’ contract, which allowed the superintendent to retire and then double-dip by collecting a USD 231 salary and KPERS public pension.

Sutton said it appears that Gilhaus’ double-dipping contract, drafted by Hatley, “is not in keeping with legislative intent, contrary to IRS rules, appears pre-arranged and clearly skirted standard hiring practices required of an open KPERS position,” Sutton said.

Sutton said he has faith in the disciplinary administrator’s investigative process.

“The students, parents and taxpayers of Gardner Edgerton School District deserve legal services without bias and hidden agendas,” he said. “Anything less than that is a gross, misappropriation of tax dollars.”

Editor’s Note: This story will be updated as more information becomes available.


  1. Judith Rogers says:

    In my opinion, every day Sutton goes to Topeka or is in office is a “gross, misappropriation of tax dollars”…………….Sutton needs to think about the sweet deal he is getting on his KPERs retirement plan from the citizens of Kansas but I am sure he would think his case is different, however, those representative and senator politicians voted themselves their sweet deal with KPERs………….citizens pay dearly for slimy politics but many of them bring the costs on themselves by what they enable and support. Gilhaus is not the only one in politics who needs to go – I would suggest citizens not vote for any incumbent unless there are numerous valid reasons not to do so and right off hand I can’t think of one considering what they have been doing in Topeka for several years now.

  2. No one hears you…..

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    No one heard you either, Beasley, when you were on the EUB board and well they shouldn’t have……

  4. MrsBDovier says:

    Is Mr. Sutton trying to redeem himself for voting for the anti-gay bill?

  5. Lee Moore says:

    “EUB board” is redundant because EUB is an acronym for Electric Utility Board.

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