Archive for Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mertz, Dysart deny recall group’s accusations

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

Basehor City Hall is at 2620 N. 155th St.

November 2, 2011, 12:34 p.m.

Updated: November 4, 2011, 10:42 a.m.

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Dennis Mertz

Dennis Mertz

Iris Dysart

Iris Dysart

In public statements released Tuesday and Wednesday, Basehor City Council members Dennis Mertz and Iris Dysart denied that they violated state open-meetings laws as was alleged in a recall petition created by Basehor residents last week.

Both statements said the council members had discussed actions by former city administrator Mark Loughry in a legally permitted executive session with the rest of the council during a Sept. 12 work session, a week before they voted for Loughry's firing. The council met in executive session for 20 minutes at the conclusion of that work session to discuss matters protected by attorney-client privilege.

The recall petition, sponsored by Basehor residents Trudy Stonacek, Maureen Weiss and Wendell King, had accused Mertz, Dysart and council member Fred Box of having illegal discussions regarding Loughry's firing outside of public city council meetings.

Dysart told the Sentinel Wednesday morning that the allegation was false, and that she and other council members were always careful not to violate open-meetings rules.

“I've never been in the same room as Dennis and Fred, except for the city council,” Dysart said.

In Mertz's statement, released Tuesday afternoon by the county clerk's office, he listed several prior instances in which he said he had lawfully discussed violations of city policies with others, though he did not specify who had committed the violations.

Mertz wrote that in late July he had told Basehor Mayor Terry Hill about city employees who had violated “city procedures” involving expenditures of city funds and that he would work to dismiss the employees if the violations continued.

He also wrote that during the council's Aug. 15 meeting, he asked Hill in open session about some of the alleged policy violations. During that meeting, Mertz asked about unspecified concerns he had about the city's purchasing policy and about an employee who had incurred roaming charges while using a city-issued cell phone in Canada.

And on Aug. 31, Mertz wrote, the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office told Mertz that it was launching a criminal investigation into possible city policy violations by unspecified city staff, along with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Leavenworth County Undersheriff Ron Cranor said Wednesday that the Sheriff's Office was not participating in any investigation involving the city of Basehor's government, but he knew the KBI was. KBI officials said they could not discuss whether an investigation was occurring.

Mertz, contacted by the Sentinel on Monday, declined to comment on the recall petition outside of his formal statement.

Box on Tuesday also offered an explanation for his statement in a Sept. 22 Sentinel story that he knew the motion to fire Loughry was coming. He said that it was not because he had discussed the matter with Mertz and Dysart outside of a council meeting, but because Hill earlier that month had showed him the portion of Loughry's contract that included a handwritten addendum allowing fully paid health insurance for his family.

“That's why I said I knew it was coming,” Box said, “because I knew what they'd done was wrong.”

Dysart said Wednesday that she wasn't sure what would happen with the recall effort, but she said the recall group had no proof for its accusations.

“I'm disappointed that it's come to this,” Dysart said. “I never would have expected anything like this.”

Comments

careforthetown 2 years, 12 months ago

Good job Basehor sentinel. Keep up the unbiased reporting. I like fact based reporting. Its hard to ARGUE with the FACTS.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 12 months ago

you betcha it is. i also think mr. Box cleared up things very well. its a pity that the county didnt ask a few more questions befor allowing this to proceed.

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babetwo 2 years, 12 months ago

You have got to be kidding! The Sentinel reported what they were told by Mertz, Dysart and Box. That's their job. But that does not mean those are truthful facts. Why is it when those three speak you automatically think everyone is believing them? Not.

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basehordream 2 years, 12 months ago

no need to believe them. facts are in the meeting minutes which are public information. how can you debate that? ask city hall for facts, ask for meeting audio. babetwo is just upset mckinley2010. its ok, they will soon retreat and hide.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 12 months ago

babetoo

i think pepole belive them because they stand nothing to gain by lying. if fact they most likley have added to the daily workload they must do. they have no signifacant salary or perks to protect. im unsure what a councilperson is paid or how often. do you know the answer? if so i would like to know.

what did " mertz, dysart & box " tell the sentinel? please post a link or reference their quotes. i am unsure of which article you are refering to.

i have never found anyting which supports the petition as it is submited.

do you have knowlege of a secret meeting? which can be confirmed and presented in a court of law as evidence. if so i would let someone know as soon as can be.

thank you

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careforthetown 2 years, 12 months ago

I believe a city council member makes approximately a 100.00 dollars a month. This is what you call a true public servant not somebody making 50,000 60,000 or 90,000 dollars a year. Just so everybody understands, I have no issue with any of the city council members at this time. It's truly sad that the city can indiscriminately get rid of valued employees who have many years of dedicated service Police Officers/ Human resources (NOT Mark) without any question or concern from the public or city. (keep digging) I for one am glad somebody is finally standing up and challenged some of things that have been ALLOWED to occur over the years. I believe more is going to come out.

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kbrown 2 years, 12 months ago

Alright y'all. Since common sense and rational thinking is out the window, allow me to dial it in. Considering there is a recall petiton going around, does that mean a vote will occur? Well, if there is enough signatures, possibly. And if a vote happens, who are the other candidates oppossing D. Mertz and I. Dysart on the ballot? What if D. Mertz and I. Dysart win?

I know I'm fed up with the whole "us" and "them" standoff, all the while investigations, apparently, remain ongoing.

I do believe we (I'll spell that real slow and large for everyone) W E need a city administrator. I haven't seen this topic on the City Council agenda packet for 7 Nov.

BTW, does anyone know when the investigation/rulings will be presented? If there isn't a definitive answer on the horizon and you are thinking maybe the investigation will be completed more near the regular election cycle, it just may make better sense to slow that recall horse down.

Further, should Basehor want to hire a quality administrator, they ought to give http://rjsorganizationconsultants.com/services.html a shout--I understand they do some work for Platte City.

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becky 2 years, 12 months ago

council members each make $ 200.00 amonth before taxes are taken out.

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basehordream 2 years, 12 months ago

Above it states that "attempts to contact the Sheriff's Office for comment were unsuccessful.". The print article states the Ron Cramer with the sheriff's office confirmed that the KBI is investigating. good to know

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merickson 2 years, 12 months ago

basehordream, thanks for pointing out that we had not updated the web story to reflect that fact yet. Sorry about that oversight.

Matt Erickson Sentinel staff writer

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mckinley2010 2 years, 12 months ago

your doing a great job matt. i know that the citizens of basehor and i thank you. keep up the good work & best of luck to you always.

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DeHall 2 years, 12 months ago

I commented on the other article, "Effort under way to recall Basehor City Council members", that this statement: '“It appears that there had been prior discussions, outside of the meeting,” [Trudy] Stonacek said. “That's the entire basis of this recall.”

Is a bit troubling. The "entire basis" of the recall petition is based on the "appearance" of prior discussions? Where's the proof?

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Talisman 2 years, 12 months ago

Hey DeHall!

The proof is probably in the same place as the "proof" to terminate Loughry! When you find it let us know. lol

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DeHall 2 years, 12 months ago

Talisman -- "Probably" is right up there with "it appears"....Both really don't mean that much. Besides, didn't your parents teach you that 2 wrongs don't make a right?

I believe Mr. Merz has stated he has documentation that was the deciding factor in terminating Mark Loughry. If you're really concerned about that, I suggest you speak to him.

In the meanwhile, I'll be patiently waiting for someone from the Recall Petition to provide any proof that any Kansas Statute was violated . My guess is that this will be a long wait.

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Babs 2 years, 12 months ago

Wow, this story just keeps getting bigger! Thanks for the great reporting with this series. You've done a great job sorting out a long and complicated series of events. I've got a feeling this story isn't even close to being over!

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Runngman 2 years, 11 months ago

It's not even close to over. I'm curious as to why there's been no reporting on the 4 city police officers who have resigned recently (1/3 of the force).

(Hint: it ties together and they had a good working relationship with the city admin, mayor, and chief..... hmmm, who else does that leave?) ☺

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careforthetown 2 years, 11 months ago

Two officers fired within the last year or so. One officer resigned Three soon to be resigning. Makes a person wonder what's really going on. I believe we will all have more answers shortly. There's a saying, you can only sweep so much under the rug before the dirt starts to show!

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babetwo 2 years, 11 months ago

careforthetown You need to ask for a copy of their exit resignation letters. A certain council member will not want you to see them.

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careforthetown 2 years, 11 months ago

I did not know that a personal file was open for public viewing. That's good information if it is not part of the personnel file. My personal opinion, TALKING to them may work also. It appears that people are trying to turn this into a political gain for their particular side. Not really sure how this is going to help the city. Whatever your reasoning or drive is, I think at this point patience is the best course of action for all involved and even for those not directly involved. (Respectfully Submitted)

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good_ol_boy 2 years, 11 months ago

I've spoke with 2 of them, I'm sure Dennis the menace wouldn't like that at all!!!

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jayhawk83 2 years, 11 months ago

I would be interested to hear what these officers have to say! Perhaps Matt wouldn't mind writing a story on that should the officers be willing to share their stories :-)

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