Updated at 12:28 p.m. Monday
Mayfield reverses position, suspends Cody
Six and a half weeks after raids on the Marion County Record — and six weeks after warrants for those raids were taken back — Marion mayor David Mayfield has suspended police chief Gideon Cody.
City Administrator Brogan Jones announced the suspension in an email Friday to city council members.
Vice Mayor Ruth Herbel, whose home was raided along with the newspaper office and the home of its co-owners, did not receive a copy of the email. Jones insists he sent it to her, but she contends he sent it to an incorrect address.
Under the Kansas Open Records Act, the Record requested copies of the emails, which Jones supplied Monday. All are dated between 8:07 and 8:12 a.m. Friday, and two were sent to Herbel, but the printouts he provided indicate names, not email addresses, to which they were sent, so it is possible he may have used incorrect addresses.
The suspension took effect Thursday. Jones said Monday that he was “not exactly sure” whether the suspension was with pay or without pay but thought it was with pay.
Calls for Mayfield to suspend Cody have grown since the Aug. 11 raids.
Until Thursday, however, Mayfield had been steadfast in stating that he would not suspend Cody until after Kansas Bureau of Investigation released a report on the raids.
No KBI report has been released publicly. The Record asked a KBI spokesman Friday whether Mayfield had received any sort of briefing from the KBI.
Spokeman Melissa Underwood responded: “Our investigation remains ongoing. I hope to be able to share with you and other interested outlets when our case concludes and we present case findings to the county attorney. You might inquire to the city about their personnel decision.”
Herbel, whose attempt to get the city council to discuss the situation involving Cody failed on a 3-2 vote Sept. 18, was concerned that she was not notified by Jones.
“I’ve got two phones,” Herbel said. “He could have sent to either one. He should have sent it to me as well.”
Her second phone is because she had to purchase a second phone after her first was seized during the raids and not returned until nearly a week later.
Mayfield did not respond to a message asking for comment. Jones said he did not know what had prompted Mayfiled to change his mind about suspending Cody.
The Record has asked under the Kansas Open Records Act for copies of all emails and texts among Jones, Mayfield, and council members regarding the matter but has not yet received a response.
Before Mayfield’s actions became known, mayoral candidate Mike Powers, who previously had declined to speak about the controversy, told the Record that firing Cody would be the best thing for the city.
Powers said he did not know that Cody had been suspended when he made those comments. He noted that suspension could precede termination.
Under city code, the mayor has the right to suspend, but only the council has the right to fire a city officer such as the police chief.
“Ultimately, I think it’s in the best interest of the city of Marion that he no longer be there,” Powers said.