• Last modified 611 days ago (Jan. 15, 2020)


Florence mayor's meet-and-greet an illegal meeting

New Florence mayor Bill Harris addressed city employees Tuesday, but councilmen Ken Hoffman and Mary Shipman were also present, making the meeting a violation of Kansas Open Meetings Act.

According to KOMA, a majority from a public governing body cannot discuss government business outside an officially scheduled meeting.

Since the city has a four-member council, the mayor functions as deciding vote in a tie, which means two councilmen and Harris qualify as a majority.

Hoffman was invited to the meet-and-greet with employees, he said, but was not told another councilman would be present.

“He asked me to be there and I was there,” he said. “Then Mary showed up, and he didn’t ask either one of us to leave.”

Harris will have to learn by following procedures, Hoffman said.

“You have to get your feet in the water,” Hoffman said. “You have to sit back there and tread water until you get it figured out. I don’t think Bill has it all figured out yet, it’s going to take several meetings.”

The main topic was Harris’ expectations of city employees.

Discussing expectations was a smart decision, but councilmen didn’t need to be included, said councilman Matt Williams, who was not at the meeting.

“It was probably right for him to meet with the employees,” he said. “But to bring in two council members probably wasn’t the right thing to do.”

The city’s water lease agreement was also mentioned, which was counterintuitive since it was signed last year, Hoffman said.

“Let the sleeping dog lie,” he said. “That’s all been put to bed, leave it alone.

Last modified Jan. 15, 2020