Council approves city clerk
For now, the city has solved the city clerk residency dispute.
Mayor John Franiuk, with unanimous approval by the Tonganoxie City Council Monday night, appointed Karen Daniels as the new city clerk.
"It was no surprise to me," Daniels said Tuesday morning. "I'm willing to do what needs to be done as city clerk. We need to comply with the wishes of the voters."
Daniels was appointed to the position in an attempt to eliminate conflict with some residents and the council after voters on May 22 rejected a charter ordinance that would have allowed the city clerk to live in Leavenworth County and surrounding counties. Kathy Bard, who lives in Johnson County, had been hired as city clerk. Current regulations require that the clerk live in Leavenworth County.
Initially Monday night, Franiuk said that he would like to appoint Daniels as acting city clerk. Bard would then step aside but still work in the city office with whatever duties were given her by City Administrator Chris Clark. Franiuk said the city could then work with her and give her the chance to move to the county.
City Attorney Mike Crow said that making Daniels the acting city clerk would smooth things out and would be a way of acknowledging the electorate's opinion on Bard's status as clerk.
"I want it made clear that they are both very hard workers," Council President Janet Angell said.
Velda Roberts questioned the legitimacy of how the positions were termed. Roberts told council members that there were no provisions in the statute for an acting city clerk.
Crow said that there didn't have to be, citing an attorney general's ruling in a 1990 case.
Roberts said asked if the city clerk position would be reopened and how it would be filled. Franiuk said that wasn't the issue at hand.
"Based upon the vote, Karen should be appointed as acting city clerk," Crow said.
After a little more deliberation, Franiuk thanked Roberts for her comments and asked if council members Emmett Wetta and Pat Albert would withdraw their motions on the appointment of Daniels as acting city clerk.
They did, and Franiuk revoked his previous motion and asked for a motion to appoint Daniels as city clerk, rather than acting clerk.
The motion passed, and Daniels was sworn in.
When Roberts thanked Daniels for filling the position, Franiuk said he was the one who had made the appointment.
"Yes, a legal appointment, thank you," she said.
Franiuk replied, "They were all legal, ma'am."