Archive for Wednesday, May 23, 2001

City council may pursue opinion on open meetings

May 23, 2001

Janet Angell, Tonganoxie City Council president, doesn't want public interviews of applicants for board and positions to deter candidates.

Last week, acting under advice from its attorney, the city council interviewed several applicants in public, rather than in executive session.

Attorney Mike Crow advised the open-session interviews because he was concerned a 1987 Kansas attorney general's opinion would prohibit closed-door sessions.

On Monday, Angell said she'd heard from applicants who were somewhat intimidated by other applicants' interviews. And Angell said previous closed-door interviews with applicants weren't designed to hide from the public.

"We felt it was easier for the candidates themselves," she said. "I don't want to turn anybody off because they feel uncomfortable being interviewed in an open session."

She asked that the council determine if there were any way to conduct closed-door interviews. The attorney general's opinion refers to "discussions concerning the qualifications of candidates." It does not specifically say "interviews."

"You could ask for an attorney general's decision," Crow said.

Last week, the council conducted the interviews in public, rather than in a closed-door session, after a representative of The Mirror newspaper raised the issue of the attorney general's opinion.

On Monday, Franiuk made these appointments, with council approval: Earleta Morey and Diane Bretthauer, reappointed to the Planning Commission; Stacey Clark and Bonnie Sivyer to the Library Board; Bill Graveman reappointed to the Site Review Board; and Dennis Bixby and Carol Slawson to the Tree Board. Kent Weatherby's appointment to the Planning Commission was extended to June 11.

In other business on Monday, the council:

Approved rezoning of about 10 acres for Sacred Heart Catholic Church's planned campus along U.S. Highway 24-40 at Washington Street. The tract was rezoned from agriculture to single-family.

Agreed to pursue condemnation of land to obtain easements for an upcoming interceptor sewer project. Crow said that a petition will be filed in Leavenworth County District Court. Three appraisers will be appointed, and then hearings will be conducted on the matter, he said.

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