Archive for Wednesday, December 22, 2004

City attorney: Council did not violate law

December 22, 2004

The Tonganoxie city attorney said last week that city council members did not take action during an executive session on Dec. 13.

Had council members taken action, it would have been a violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Mike Kelly, the attorney, said that when council member Velda Roberts said the council had taken action during the closed-door meeting, that was a "misunderstanding in terms."

"I think the problem was that they were in there so long and rushed to get in in time," Kelly said. "There was no final action taken during the meeting and no votes taken at any time."

While Kelly said council members were hurrying to return to their regular meeting before the time allotted for the executive session on personnel expired, the council actually was 20 minutes late in returning to open session. And Roberts clearly stated, for the record: "I move that we reopen the meeting with a notation that action was taken by the council."

But Kelly said on Friday: "That's probably not a good characterization of what happened. There was no vote taken during executive session. They asked for a report and will possibly take final action at the next meeting."

Two members of the police department -- Acting Chief John Putthoff and Sgt. Brian Daily -- attended the closed-door meeting on personnel matters. Kelly said Putthoff presented a report to the council.

"The council discussed it and reviewed the personnel policies because it was a personnel matter and directed him to follow the policy and come back with a report before the next meeting," Kelly said. "It was more just a discussion: This is the personnel policy. You've got to follow the personnel policy.

"As far as I'm concerned, there wasn't anything that violated the law. They didn't do anything that would contradict the executive session rules."

Roberts did not return a telephone call from The Mirror.

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