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Tribune reports biased, inaccurate

This letter is written to clarify reporting that has occurred regarding the actions and discussions of the Ellinwood City Council over the past several months. The reporting has been rife with inaccuracies and personal interpretation with the occasional out of context inclusions. Though it has been brought to the attention of the news staff, it has continued.

The primary example I wish to clarify is the continued reporting that the recent Charter Ordinance 11, passed unanimously by the Council, regarding Mayoral authority to terminate the employment of department heads was due to pressure or discontent.  This report is not only grossly inaccurate, but lies victim to the misinterpretation of the reporter. It was very clearly expressed to all those in attendance, including the reporter present, that this ordinance had nothing to do with any Mayoral actions either past or present and that it was a housekeeping item. I know this as fact since I made the explanation.

The reason this ordinance was considered and passed, was due to the concerns that the Mayoral authority as discussed in the Governing Body Handbook of the League of Kansas Municipalities and the provisions of Kansas Statute, K.S.A. 2014 Supp. 12-16.128 might conflict. Council discussion concerned itself with the thought that there could possibly be a situation, in the future, where an interpretation might lead to perceived authority.  It was the desire and intention of the Council to prevent the possibility of any conflict due to this interpretation that would be disruptive to City governing.

These informal discussions began with a citizen approaching council members and staff with their concerns as early as June 7, 2017 and continued on through the April 2018 election time frame. These discussions were later taken up at subsequent council meetings.  The appointment of department heads occured at a much later date and had no connection what so ever. 

Why this reporter seems to be unable to report the facts in an unbiased manner is unknown to myself and others.  One only has to look as far as the September 14th publication of the Tribune to read of this continued “fake news,” yes I’m going to use the connotation. Another example is the headline of the article stating that Ellinwood is condemning four properties. Yes, the council set public hearings on these properties but until those hearings are concluded and input considered, then and only then could that headline hold actual truth. We do not need, nor want, civil governing by inaccurate media coverage.

Ken Lebbin