The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has submitted the findings of its investigation into former Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman to the Barton County Attorney’s Office. County Attorney Amy Mellor said Wednesday she has referred the matter to a special prosecutor.
“The special prosecutor will review the reports, probably talk to investigator(s), and make a determination what, if any, criminal charges should be filed,” Mellor said. Using a special prosecutor is a common practice where there is or may be a conflict with the prosecutor’s office in a particular jurisdiction.
As far as a time line is concerned, that is up to the special prosecutor reviewing the case and is dependent on many factors, Mellor said. Since this is an active case, there was not much else she could disclose.
Boeckman resigned as county administrator last October, and his resignation followed several contentious County Commission meetings and executive sessions dating back to last February. He was awarded a $27,500 contract buyout.
It was following these meetings that Barton County Sheriff Brian Bellendir had looked into potentially criminal activity on the part of Boeckman and thought it best to contact the KBI as an outside investigator. He referred the case to the KBI on Oct. 17 and the agency initiated its probe on Oct. 27.
Clouding the matter is a civil suit filed March 1 by Robin Rziha, who claims Boeckman behaved inappropriately toward her, a claim Boeckman denied in his answer the petition filed last week. In addition, an early 2016 letter to county officials from former county employee Steve Barger alleged Boeckman created a hostile work environment.
Boeckman served as both the county counselor and the administrator. After his departure, the commission voted to not fill the administrator’s position, and has a contract with Ellsworth attorney Carey Hipp as counselor.