Butler County Times Gazette
  • Investigation: Mullinville broke open meetings law

  • The Kiowa County Attorney has asked some officials of a southwest Kansas town to take classes on the state's open meetings law.
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  • The Kiowa County Attorney has asked some officials of a southwest Kansas town to take classes on the state's open meetings law.
    County Attorney Scott James said an investigation by his office found the Mullinville officials violated the law when it met in closed session and fired a newly elected city council member from his job in the city's public works department.
    James sent a letter last week to Mayor Andy Kimble, City Clerk Susan Clayton, four council members and City Attorney Janice Jorns asking them to attend the training by Dec. 31, The Hutchinson News reports (http://bit.ly/11NtXSY ).
    James said the council violated the law on April 8 when it fired Rob Roberts from his city job during the closed session. The council cited Roberts' work performance for the firing, then left without announcing the decision publicly.
    "I would describe it as a technical violation ... there were heated tempers in the room and protocol flew out the window for a second, people left and didn't remember," James said.
    Roberts, 68, was elected in April to the Mullinville City Council. However, Kansas prohibits city council members from holding jobs with the city in which they are serving.
    Roberts, who said he was never given a chance to resign from the council during the April 8 meeting, filed a complaint in Kiowa County District Court on April 16, a day after he was sworn onto the council.
    James said he recommended the classes, rather than a fine, because he found no evidence of other violations or a pattern of misconduct by the council.
    The council has until May 31 to accept the agreement.
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