This is Kansas, and for the most part, it is still a state of rural communities, a place where you would expect that people could trust each other, but you would not always be right.
As a recent court issue has illustrated, even in Kansas we have elected officials who believe they can go behind the taxpayers’ collective back to make secret decisions.
Well, they can’t, as was noted in a recent Associated Press story on the open meetings violation.
“Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe told Gardner Mayor David Drovetta and four city council members this week he was taking no legal action on the violations, but would reconsider if further violations occur.
“Howe says the first violation happened June 10 when Drovetta sent council members e-mails asking if they would consider increasing the pay for a non-elected position for a candidate who needed more money than what was budgeted.
“The second occurred July 14 when the council went into a closed session to discuss a proposed salary range for city positions, a subject that must be discussed in an open forum.”
The Kansas law is really pretty simple, and you do have to show intent to break it.
One of the ways it gets messed up is when you have elected officials who convince themselves that the government’s business is not the governed’s business.
In Kansas, taxpayers have a right to know the details about how their money is being spent before it happens, whether that is convenient or even comfortable, or not.
Open government may get touchy at times in a small town, but it is the law, and the law needs to be followed.
All the time.
— Chuck Smith