Commissioner Young talked about a comment he had checked on regarding executive sessions

In a follow-up to a recent special El Dorado City Commission meeting, Commissioner Bill Young talked about a comment he had checked on regarding executive sessions.
At the special meeting, Mayor Mike Fagg had questioned the need for the executive session, but it was still held with a 4-1 vote and Fagg opposed.
“There was a recommendation from the mayor to contact the League of Municipalities to get a second opinion,” Young said. “As I read the article (in the Times-Gazette), I thought about that and called legal counsel and spoke with Eric (Smith). I posed a couple of questions to him, just general questions.”
Young said the first thing he was told was they need to make sure to run the need of executive sessions past their own city attorney.
“That is the person we’ve entrusted with knowledge to make those decisions,” Young said.
Young asked Smith if they were to call him for an opinion, as Fagg had proposed at the meeting, and took action based on the opinion he gave them and they ended up going to court, if the League would come down and defend them.
“He said absolutely not,” Young said. “We need to go by our city attorney. I know all five of us have confidence in our city attorney. I wanted to voice that. As I spoke with Eric, as he receives calls the only thing he can do is offer some training and an opinion based on the information given.”
If the city manager wants to go into executive session he should confer with the city attorney.
“If the city manager told us all what was to be discussed it is a violation of open meetings,” Young continued. “The attorney reviews it and lets the city manager know if it falls under executive sessions. As we decided last week, none of us knew the details of what was going to be discussed in there and as I discussed that with Eric, he said, ‘The only opinion I would have offered was based on whatever limited information you give me.’”
Young thought it was important as they consider getting a second opinion to look at who would be representing them in court if it was challenged.
In other business, the commission:
• heard from resident Ginger Hurst, who had first appeared before the commission about 18 months ago and requested the city consider selling her group the property west of the new fire station for a 24-hour house of prayer. She asked as they make a decision about how to use that property to consider selling it to them. There is about 10 acres of land there that could be used and Hurst said they would take as much as the city would sell them.
• appointed Commissioner David Chapin as vice mayor for a one-year term.
• allowed the mayor to execute an agreement between the city and Kansas Department of Transportation for a KLINK grant to resurface Central from Summit to Emporia and Central from Griffith to the railroad crossing.
• heard that city staff will get the commission information on the American Legion parking lot issue so they can talk about it at their next meeting.
• heard an update on trash and recycle carts. There had been questions about putting shredded paper in the carts not in bags. City staff decided that was OK to put in the bins and encouraged people while they really want recyclables loose in the carts, if they do sack them to use a Dillons or Walmart back that is readably recyclable, rather than a city recycle bag, which they have to open up.
• heard about a screener for repairing yards they may have to dig up to repair a water line. They also have found that it works well on the compost they create to get the trash out of it.
• discussed the $2 million the city owes on one loan for part of the lake debt. Fagg suggested using the money from the lake debt reserve to pay that off so they would save that interest payment. Staff will consider it. The total lake debt is $7,445,931.38 and out of that $4,546,242.25 is in cash or investment and $2,899,689.30 is on loan for the stadium.
Julie Clements can be reached at