Thursday, January 31, 2013

DA's Statement on Shawnee KOMA Violation Complaint

If you would like to read DA Steve Howe's full statement on the KOMA violation complaint filed by a resident of Shawnee against the city council, go here:

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KC Star on DA's Findings

From the KC Star:

The Shawnee City Council violated the spirit of the Kansas open meetings law when “backroom deals” were made to elect the mayor’s uncle to a council seat, Johnson County District Attorney Stephen Howe said Wednesday.

Howe’s decision was especially hard on Mayor Jeff Meyers saying he found “Mayor Meyer’s actions unacceptable.” More at:

Read more here:

Willoughby's Appointment Result of Backroom Deals

The District Attorney has issued his ruling on the KOMA invetigation into the appointment of Alan Willoughby, the mayor's uncle by marriage, to the city council.

From the Shawnee Dispatch:

The Johnson County District Attorney’s Office ruled Wednesday that the spirit of the Kansas Open Meetings Act was violated by Mayor Jeff Meyers and most members of the Shawnee City Council last July and that the resulting appointment of Alan Willoughby to a vacant Ward 2 council seat was the result of “backroom deals.”
 Full article at:

Note:  Distler & Pflumm did not go along with the backroom deal.

Primary Election Feb 26, 2013

There will be a primary election on Feb 26, 2013 where more than two folks have filed for offices that are scheduled for the spring (April 2nd) election.

Shawnee has one primary as such, in Ward II

The KC Star has an article about this at

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

More On The Boston Boondoggle

Yesterday I posted info about the number of individuals the city sent to the National League of Cities recent conference in Boston.

Keep in mind that two members of the council did NOT participate in this extravegant behavior (Dan Pflumm and Michelle Distler).

Anyway, as mentioned, 4 people instead of 8 would have been sufficient, and would have saved the city over $7,000.  Another method, to save money, is to have folks that do go to double up in the rooms.  At approximately $270 per night/per room that adds up.

But, people can't double up if some bring guests on the trip.

Who brought guests on this trip?

Mayor Meyers
Councilmember Willoughby (the mayor's uncle by marriage and appointed not elected councilmember)
Councilmember Neighbor
Councilmember Kuhn

Must be nice..............................

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Costs to Visit Beantown

What did it cost to send 6 council reps, the mayor, and the city manager to Boston for the National League of Cities conference this past November? 

Before I post the figures, keep in mind that previously on many occasions, I have said it was not necessary to send more than four people to these conferences, and that for a short period of time the number of people going had been reduced.  See my post of 10/23/12 at

Then on 10/26/12, I posted info that we were sending more folks than other cities in JoCo

So, what were the costs?  Oh, as predicted, Mickey "Travelin' Man" Sandifer led the field in money spent:

Councilmember Sandifer                     $2,389.42
Councilmember Vaught                         2,358.91
Councilmember Kuhn                            2,162.48
Mayor Meyers                                        1,887.05
City Manager Gonzales                          1,812.99
Councilmember Neighbor                      1,812.51
Councilmember Willoughby                  1,753.00
Councilmember Sawyer                         1,335.99

Total                                                   $15,512.35

Besides reducing the number of folks going, another way to save money on these types of trips is for these city officials to do what corporate America makes its employees do..............double up in the rooms.  We had 6 males and 2 females.................instead of 8 rooms that could have been reduced to 4 rooms/per day.  That could have been a savings of approximately $1,000/night.

But, when participants bring guests along, it is difficult to have them double up.  So, in effect, the bringing of guests (even if the city does not pay for transportation and meals) costs the city by not allowing the city to save on room rates.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Race Is On

OK, the filing deadline has come and gone, and the election for Shawnee City Council is set.

Let's look at Ward II first, since four people have filed and that has created a primary election which will be held on Feb 26.  The top two vote getters move on to the general election.

Mike Kemmling, the individual who challenged Neal Sawyer last year and received 650 votes to Sawyer's 661.  Talk about close.  Seems like lots of folks in Ward II were impressed with this young professional (he's a dentist, with a practice in Shawnee).

Alan Willoughby, the mayor's uncle by marriage, who was appointed to the position after David Morris resigned.  Amazing that Kemmling, who had just narrowly lost to Sawyer did not get the appointment.  Also of interest, the manner in which it was given to Willoughby, without public comment, and other factors, has resulted in an investigation as a possible violation of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.

Jill Y Reed and Trishelle Miller, two individuals that I do not know much about at this point.  Reed apparantly works for both the US Army Corps of Engineers and Gneral Electric.  Miller works for Kids TLC.

Wards I, III and IV will go direct to the general election on April 2

Ward I incumbent Dan Pflumm is being challenged by John Segale
Ward III incumbent Jeff Vaught is being challenged by Gordon Herron
Ward IV incumbent  Michelle Distler is not being challenged.

More comments by me as we get into this.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another "Will We Get Anything From This?"

Well, the dates are for Kanrocksas 2013 are set.  June 28-29, 2013.

Again, the question needs to be asked :  "Will we get anything from this?"  We are so close to Village West and what do we have to offer folks who go there for those big events to get some of the bleed off?

Add that music festival to the soccer all star game, the races at the speedway and there so many people coming into a venue 10 minutes away that we have to be losing out on some major revenue.
Do we even want to talk about the large number of athletic tournaments that are held in the spring, summer and fall?  These tournaments bring in large numbers of teams and utilize sports venues all over the area to accomodate them.

We have some members on tghe council who constantly talk about economic development.  Economic development is good.  But there seems to be alot of emphasis on an industrial park that won't even start to come into reality for about ten more years.  What about destination venues to draw from all of the activity that is literally in our backyard?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Shawnee Wins One

The Shawnee Dispatch, in a recent article, went into detail about how E. C. Manufacturing will be moving into a 142,000 sq ft building.  The projection is that within three years they will employ 250 people.  The neat thing:  no giveaways by the city.  Congrats to Andrew Nave, executive director of the Shawnee Economic Development Council.

The full story can be read here:

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Will This Benefit Us?

What am I talking about?  Aha, maybe I should let you think about it for a minute.

Nahhhhh, I'll tell you.  It has been announced that the 2013 Major League Soccer All Star game will be played at Livestrong Park.  That truly is good news.

Now, how will that affect Shawnee?  In the past, on many occasions I have asked that question regarding races, concerts, and other special events held at the Village Wesr Complex in KCK.  Will we get an appreciable "bleed off" from this event?  Well, we still have only two hotels on the I435 corridor.  The proposed Holiday Inn is still a blank spot.  Some of the restaurants might see an uptick in business.  Especially if residents wind up with out of town friends/relatves staying with them.

But, we still do not have anything resembling a destination venue to attract the folks who will be going to that game.And, some will probably be arriving a few days early and maybe staying a day or two extra.

Another event gone to waste.............for us.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Proof: Jeff Vaught Does Not Understand His Job


We knew it would happen someday. We now have documentary evidence that Jeff Vaught does NOT understand his job on the city council. His ego has overtaken his responsibilities.
OK, here is what happened. I submitted a KORA request for some emails for an item I was researching. Included in the group were some emails between Vaught and the city manager about adding an item to a meeting agenda Keep in mind that last April Vaught was elected by the rest of the council to be council president (a one year term).
Apparently another councilmember (Dan Pflumm) had an item he wanted to add to a meeting agenda. So he requested that to the city manager in accordance with Policy Statement 7:
A.      Agendas are set by the City Manager. Any member of the Governing Body can request an item be placed on the agenda by 12:00 (noon) on the Wednesday prior to the meeting.
Now here is what happened.  In an email about this to the city manager Vaught said:  "As the council president he should be making the request to me anyway, but I guess he doesn’t know that."
Surprise Mr. council member has to go through you for anything.  Charter Ordinance 40 and Policy Statement 7 are very specific about the duties/responsibilities of the council president.  To preside over council meetings in the absence of the mayor, to become mayor if something happens to the mayor and to be the chairman of the Council Committee.  No where in either document is the council president put in a postiion where the council members have to submit anything to him/her to be passed on.  Now, just in case I missed something, I asked the city manager about this.  Her response:  "You are correct, there isn't any 'published procedural requirement' that states that a councilmember 'has to go through the Council President for anything'"
Apparently, egomaniac that he is, Vaught apparently wants to give himself additional authority over his fellow council members.  Maybe he needs to re-read the appropriate documents.  That is, if he can understand them.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Let's Re-Elect Michelle Distler

Michelle Distler, Ward IV council rep is running for re-election.

This is one person who definitely needs to be retained on the city council.

She has shown on more than one occasion that she cares about the residents of her ward, the people of the City of Shawnee, and all of this to the consternation of the "good ole boy network".

There will be some who will go out of their way to besmirch her good name.  Please don't let this happen.

Visit her website at  There is a link if you would like to contribute electronically and an address for snail mail contributions.  Remember, you don't have to live in Watd IV to contribute.  If you live anywhere (elsewhere in the city or anywhere in the USA) and would like to see her returned to office please help out.

Please remember campaign contgribution rules.  A max of $500 per contributor per election cycle.  Some have asked about married couples.  Married couples, by law, may contribute the max individually.  The same holds true for businesses and PACs.  Not everyone can donate $ remember please, any amount will be helpful.