During the April 3 Gardner City Council meeting, Steve Shute, president, refuted the newspaper’s March 29 editorial and article regarding Resolution 1963 that alleged violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.
Shute said the city’s “newspaper of record,” — The Gardner News — had slandered him by stating Resolution 1963, which changes the city’s personnel rules and regulations, was not discussed or crafted during closed session.
The newspaper’s editorial referred to an email from Shute to Chris Morrow, mayor, obtained under the open records act, in which Shute states that he had written an “ordinance” (not a resolution) for review during an executive session. After the closed session, Shute emerged with an already-prepared resolution and in open session council members voted 4-1 to approve it. Council member Kristina Harrison voted against the resolution.
The Gardner News sent emails on March 9 to Morrow and Shute requesting clarification on the March 6 process that brought the resolution before council members for consideration. Morrow responded on the same day that the ordinance was not prepared in closed session, and his comment appeared in the March 15 edition of The Gardner News. To date, Shute has not responded to The Gardner News email sent to him on March 9.
During the council meeting, Shute said the four council members in attendance at the April 3 meeting— Lee Moore was absent — would corroborate with him that Resolution 1963 was not crafted or discussed in closed session.
Shute did not say why he chose to personally draft the resolution as opposed to going thru regular channels, why the resolution did not appear on the published agenda for public review or why the resolution could not have been held until the next meeting for public discussion rather than appearing and being approved immediately following a closed session.
Once again, we open our editorial page for a response from Shute, or any council member who would like to explain why 1963 did not appear on the city’s published agenda but was instead pushed through.