Petition targets council quorum change
A petition with 98 signatures has been filed with city officials, challenging a charter ordinance that seeks a change in the City Council's quorum.
The petition was turned in Friday and asks for a public vote on the charter ordinance.
The ordinance, spearheaded by Council member Tom Putthoff, would change the number of council members needed for quorum from three to four. Its effect would be to allow any two council members to meet outside of the council chambers to discuss city business.
"I hate to put the city through the expense of having another election, but this is something important," said former council member Velda Roberts, who helped pass the petition around town. "What really concerns me is that all meetings should be open."
Roberts said the potential for abuse might not exist with this council, but it may with future councils.
"You have no clue who is going to be your representative in the future," Roberts said. "It is not good for any government body to be able to talk behind closed doors."
The petition is being looked over for validation by the Leavenworth County Clerk's Office.
If the petition is found to have the required 74 valid signatures to bring the ordinance to a vote, the council will have 30 days to call an election and must, within 90 days, conduct the election.
County Clerk Linda Scheer, who said validating the petition signatures should be completed by week's end, said an election could cost the city around $1,200.
Kathy Bard, Tonganoxie assistant city administrator, said another option for the council is to take no action if the petition has enough signatures, thus dropping the ordinance.