Sunday, December 06, 2015

Elect or Appoint Council Replacements?

At the upcoming Council Committee meeting (Tuesday 12/8/15) one of the topics up for discussion is whether to appoint or have an election when a council seat becomes vacant.

This discussion is prompted by various factors.  First Charter Ordinance 40 is going to have to be changed to comply with the new Kansas law regarding when local elections will be held.  Since 2012 we have had three council vacancies.  Two because of resignations and one because of a council member being elected as mayor. 

The appointment of Alan Willoughby (former mayor Jeff Meyers' uncle by marriage) to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of David Morris resulted in an investigation by JoCo DA Howe regarding possible violations of KOMA (Kansas Open Meetings Act).  In a blistering rebuke at the time, DA Howe found that there was an apparent violation of the spirit of the law.  With the two appointments that were subsequent to that one various members of the public and even some council members questioned the fairness of the appointment system currently being used. 

Some have now called for an election process to fill vacancies.  No decisions will be made Tuesday but input will be taken for consideration for when the charter ordinance has to be changed.

Personally I favor the election process.  In the recent citizen satisfaction survey this item was one of the questions, and a majority favored keeping the current appointment process.  I will attempt on Tuesday night to show, how, in my opinion, the question was asked in such a manner as to manipulate the answer.