Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2011

Loughry to clean out office; police chief asked to be interim administrator

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

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

September 22, 2011, 12:26 p.m.

Updated: September 22, 2011, 3:04 p.m.

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The city of Basehor is moving ahead without former city administrator Mark Loughry, asking Basehor Police Chief Lloyd Martley to serve as an interim replacement.

Basehor Mayor Terry Hill said after a special city council meeting this morning that despite some legal questions surrounding the council's vote to remove Loughry Monday, the members had decided to move ahead with his termination.

Hill said he would visit Loughry later today to collect his city keys and make arrangements to clean out his office. The city will also give Loughry a lump-sum severance payment provided for in his contract, Hill said. The amount of that severance payment was not yet available from the city this morning.

During the meeting, Hill said he would talk to Martley about becoming the interim city administrator. The council took no formal action during the meeting, which was called for the purpose of determining if further action was needed after the council's vote Monday to remove Loughry as administrator. Hill's announcement followed a 15-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel and a 10-minute executive session to discuss finding someone to fill the duties of the city administrator.

Meanwhile, Hill said the city would begin searching for a new permanent city administrator “almost immediately,” despite some legal uncertainties surrounding the council's 3-2 vote to remove Loughry.

Hill said one purpose of today's special meeting was to warn council members that by letting their vote stand, they may be opening the city up to a lawsuit because of a violation of Loughry's employment contract and a possible conflict with a charter ordinance passed by the city in 1995.

The three council members who voted to remove Loughry — Dennis Mertz, Fred Box and Iris Dysart — said they were not concerned with that possibility, Hill said.

“Council came to a consensus that they didn't want to do anything further,” Hill said. “They're going to go with what they already have done.”

Loughry's contract states that if the council intends to terminate his employment, the council must provide him a written notice of that intent at least 10 days before taking action, and must also allow him to appear at a hearing to defend himself. The council did not take any of those actions before voting to remove Loughry, Hill said earlier this week.

Hill said those three council members had still not stated a reason for their vote, and he did not understand what the reason might be. This past spring, the council members gave Loughry a positive performance review, he said.

“Nowhere have I seen in the past anything that would warrant a termination,” Hill said.

Hill said he'd been contacted by several city residents confused about the vote to remove Loughry, as well.

“I'm aware of a great deal of anger and resentment from a number of community people,” Hill said, “questioning how three city council members could have a like mind on an issue as important as a termination with no discussion.”

Box said today that he still could not comment on his vote Monday, because it involved a personnel issue. Mertz and Dysart were not immediately available for comment this morning.

If Martley is appointed interim administrator, this will be his second stint in that role. He served as interim administrator for more than two months in 2009, after former administrator Carl Slaugh resigned and before Loughry was hired. He currently holds the title of assistant city administrator, in addition to being the police chief.

Hill said after the meeting that Martley was the council's first choice to take over temporarily, though he wanted to meet with him to offer him the job before the council formally appointed him.

“He already has experience running the city, and he's been here,” Hill said.

Martley said he hadn't expected to be asked to fill in as administrator again so soon, but he wanted to do what he could to keep the city moving.

“I'm certainly willing to step up and do what is needed like I did last time,” Martley said.

3 p.m. update

Mertz said this afternoon that he was unable to comment on his vote to remove Loughry on Monday except for a statement: "If the citizens of Basehor went to City Hall and requested the open-record letters from the previous city attorney, then they wouldn't have a problem with what was done Monday night."


Dennis Mertz 11 years ago

The packet that I referred to at the Council meeting has been released to the public by the City Attorney and is available at City Hall. This packet is only part of the reason why I made the motion to remove the City Administrator. I would certainly hope that those who have criticized my actions would take the time to read it.


Talisman 11 years ago

There are several issues surrounding the actions of the Council that cause people to criticize Dysart, Box and Mertz. Open meetings violation, (very obvious by reading what the paper reported and what Box has stated, after he said he can't comment!) administrator wasn't given an opportunity to resign, administrator wasn't present at the meeting in which you decide to terminate (cowardly) and the language in administrators contract:

Loughry's contract states that if the council intends to terminate his employment, the council must provide him a written notice of that intent at least 10 days before taking action, and must also allow him to appear at a hearing to defend himself. The council did not take any of those actions before voting to remove Loughry.

Good luck defending this when it ends up in court! Looks like a loser to me, which means once again the taxpayer will suffer in the end!


babetwo 11 years ago

Talisman: You are 100% correct! Mertz, Dysart and Box have successfully brought embarrassment to the City of Basehor. And for the three people who preach not to spend money they certainly have put the City in what could become a very costly situation.


pigpot 11 years ago

Taxpayers had a chance to vote on council members. People voted for these members. Real what you sow. Let them do their jobs, they have justification and did what they feel is right.


Lojofo61 11 years ago

Pigpot: what was the justification? I still haven't heard the reason this was done.


basehorman 11 years ago

Unfortunately "pigpot" what they did was wrong and the community does not support what they felt was right. So where does that leave us now. We have City Council Members that are making decisions that the community does not support.


babetwo 11 years ago

Council members represent voters not necessarily taxpayers, which should take place at a city council meeting not at a private meeting between three council members. If my memory serves me correctly Dennis Mertz ran unopposed. No justification has ever been satisfactorily explained. A document from a previous city attorney which is more than a year old hardly justifies blindsiding the city administrator while he is on vacation.


KSman57 11 years ago

The report from the former City Attorney seems pretty damning for the City Administrator and the Mayor. Making hand written changes to an employment contract without the consent of the council...that seems kind of shady to me.


softballmom365 11 years ago

I believe all the voters in Basehor need to remember this when these 3 council members try to run for re-election. VOTE AGAINST THEM!! If they run unopposed, then find someone to write-in against them, encourage someone you know to run against them, or do it yourself! Don't let them in again.


resident_1 11 years ago

I've lived in Basehor for 5 years. My family chose to call Basehor home for one reason: Our children. We know our neighbors well, attend city functions, support local clubs and organizations, and have attended both coucil meetings and worksessions... All in the hopes of becoming a funcitonal part of this community.

I'm sure in due time, more information will be provided to residents relating to the specifics of this issue allowing us to make an EDUCATED decision on actions of the council. We may even have to seek out some of that information on our own.

Basehor citizens continually bash each other, our elected officials, our local leaders, organizations, etc. Please... continue to jump to conclusions, form your opinions from one source of information, fly off the handle, storm off like children, point fingers and gossip amongst yourselves. Lead our children by example and portray our community for the "outside" world in the light it deserves. BEFORE judging the actions of the Council and City administration, we should all take a long hard look at ourselves.

If you don't like the way things are run, get up, get active, get involved. EVERY DAY, not just when news hits the paper.


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