Friday, August 26, 2016

Shawnee Citizens Win a Big One

The citizens of Shawnee have won a big change in city government.

At this pat Monday's city council meeting the council voted 8-0 to change the method that is used to fill a vacancy on the council. 

The previous method was to fill the vacancy with an appointment that lasted until the expiration of the original term.  This was the method used when Alan Willoughby (the uncle by marriage of former Mayor Jeff Meyers) was appointed to fill the spot caused by the resignation of David Morris.  That particular appointment caused the JoCo DA to conduct an investigation into possible violations of KOMA (Kansas Open Meetings Act).  According to the DA's letter....."KOMA  was enacted to prohibit the 'backroom' deals that were going on in Shawnee."

The new method still allows for an appointment but only as a temporary measure.  The seat will then go up for a vote at an election to fill the position until the expiration of the original term.  A definite win for the folks in Shawnee.

Sidebar:  It was nice to see that Jeff Vaught voted with the majority on this item, without a comment.  Actually, I was quite surprised that he did that.  Ya see, at the most recent committee meeting on this item, and previous ones, he spoke out at great length, really great length, many times, in opposition to letting the citizens make the choice as to who should represent them. My guess is that he voted to approve because 1.) he finally realized his previous stance was wrong, or, 2.) he wants to tell folks that he is in favor of citizens being able to choose their representatives, when in reality he has shown a proclivity in the past to be against open government.


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Change in Filling Council Vacancies & Vaught's Arrogance Does Not Disappoint

At the council committee Tuesday night an item was passed with a recommendation for council to approve.  The item concerned how to handle future vacancies on the city council.  Currently, the methodology employed is for the council to appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy until the term expires.

This method has proven to be somewhat problematical in the past, with undertones of behind the scenes manipulation to predetermine who the successful appointee would be.  And one appointment, that of Alan Willoughby (former mayor Jeff Meyers' uncle by marriage)  resulted in an investigation by the JoCo DA as a possible KOMA violation.  The DA, in a severely worded letter of reprimand indicated that it was his opinion that the spirit of the KOMA (Kansas Open Meetings Act) was violated.

The method now would basically permit the council to appoint a replacement, but only until such time that an election can be held for someone to be elected.  This then allows the ward citizens to choose who would fill the seat for the remainder of the term.  Hopefully it will receive final approval at a council meeting.

Why Do I say Vaught's arrogance doesn't disappoint me?  That's an easy one, "Mr Thinks He Knows It All" was in favor of leaving the current plan in place.  Apparently he believes that the council is better equipped to choose who should represent the citizens of the ward as opposed to the citizens themselves.  This is another example of his absolute disdain for true transparency in government.

Other examples: (just a few right now)

He was a proponent of the elimination of full minutes of council meetings, which we wound up with for a period of time.  Then, fortunately, the council realized the error of that decision and when the matter came back up he was against reinstating the full minutes.  Fortunately a majority of the council disagreed with him and we got the minutes back.  Methinks he probab;ly didn't want folks to know what he really says at these meetings.

Then, when the matter of citizens speaking at council committee meetings came up he was against that.  Yepper, he didn't want input by the citizens.  He claimed that committee meetings were work sessions for the council.  Heck, the committee meetings are a great time for citizens to provide input so that certain items can be hashed out before they get to a formal council meeting. They are also open meetings. (His stupidity was showing through on this one).  Again, fortunately, the majority disagreed with his non-transparency attitude.

Another one was to allow for public input at council meetings during that portion that is shown as "Miscellaneous Council Items"  Yours truly really got involved with this one as Vaught would use this part of the meeting to call out folks and they were unable to respond.  When the item came up he said they could always respond at a future council meeting in "Business From the Floor".  What an arrogant piece of work is he.  Again, the majority of the council was in favor of the transparency feature.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Filling Council Vacancies - Item on Agenda

Tomorrow, at the council committee meeting the subject of the methodology for filling council vacancies that come up because of resignations or other non-scheduled events will again be discussed.

There are various options.  One is to go directly to an election.  If there is one the city can piggyback on there is no expense to the city.  If no piggyback available it could go to a special election which could cost approximately $30K.

Another method is to continue what has been done in the past, which is the council appoints the replacement.  This is, IMHO unfair to the citizens of the ward that the vacancy occurs in.  Also, for those not familiar with the history of council appointments, a previous city council received a very strongly worded letter of rebuke from the JoCo DA when the former mayor's (Jeff Meyers)  uncle by marriage was appointed to the council. The DA claimed that the council at that time violated the spirit of the Kansas Open Meetings Act. That was Alan Willoughby who had been appointed to replace David Morris who had resigned from the council over a dispute with the city manager.

There is another possibility.  It is a hybrid.  The council would appoint a replacement who would serve only until the next election that the city can piggyback on.  This is as opposed to being appointed to finish out the term.  Then, the election would be held with the winner finishing off the remainder of the term.

I personally have been in favor of an immediate election, but there is enough opposition to that because of the possibility of high costs that realistically I don't think it can happen.  The appointment process with the person lasting until the completion of the term of office I find abhorrent.

Alas, I hope the council goes with the hybrid.

This item can involve who and how a person is selected to represent you.  Might be a good idea to show up tomorrow night.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Quick Correction-Additional Info to Yesterday's Post

Whoops, I got the name of the PD's newest K9 wrong.  It is Grimm, not Grif.  Definitely don't want to upset him :-).

All three are dual purpose K9s, in that all of them are patrol trained, two are narcotics trained and one is explosive trained.

We are very fortunate to have these K9s as part of our PD.  Just a side note, the acquisition of Grimm was made possible by a grant from NFL quarterback Ben Rothlisberger.  It seems that he donates funds, thru a grant, for PDs in cities/metro areas that his team plays in so that they can acquire these fine animals.  Our PD qualified for the most recent one in this area.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Shawnee PD Shines at National Night Out

Last night our Shawnee PD participated in the National Night Out.  This is an event that is designed for members of the community to better familiarize themselves with the PD, and is a family friendly event.

There were various displays of equipment and officers from all sections of the department.  There were also members of the command staff, administration and dispatchers there.  Individuals that could answer and explain just about any question that a citizen had.  Even the KHP showed up with their "convincer".  The machine that makes a believer out of you about wearing a seat belt.  Our newest K9 officers were there, Ryan Skinner and Grif.  Grif is a dual functioning K9, patrol and explosive detection, and will join our other two K9s who are patrol and narcotic trained.

What was really encouraging was that each time an officer greeted a member of the community they shook their hand and introduced themselves by first and last name, without rank, from patrol officer to chief.  Great way to get on a positive one on one with an individual.

There was a variety of food and beverages courtesy of a group of businesses and faith based sponsors, who also did the BBQing.  Literature was available which covered various services offered by the department and also what people can do to make their environment safer.

The individual who was responsible for making sure everything went off as being fun, informational, and partnering was our CORE Officer, Roman Madrigal.  The CORE Officer is responsible for taking the lead on various community outreach programs, and Roman's skills showed that he is the right man for that job.  Well done.

A side note:  there are still some openings for this years Citizen Police Academy.  Click here to sign up.  The class starts 9/8/16.