Archive for Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Basehor residents turn out in droves to recall mayor, 2 council members

Basehor voters sign in and present their photo IDs to election workers Tuesday morning at Holy Angels Catholic Church, where polling for the Basehor recall election was taking place. Workers said voter turnout so far had been similar to a typical city election, if not a bit lower.

Basehor voters sign in and present their photo IDs to election workers Tuesday morning at Holy Angels Catholic Church, where polling for the Basehor recall election was taking place. Workers said voter turnout so far had been similar to a typical city election, if not a bit lower.

February 28, 2012, 10:17 a.m.

Updated: February 28, 2012, 11:57 p.m.

Unofficial results

Terry Hill: 586 votes for "Yes," 320 for "No"

Dennis Mertz: 555 "Yes," 350 "No"

Iris Dysart: 538 "Yes," 368 "No"

("Yes" votes are in favor of recall.)

Source: Leavenworth County Clerk's office

Basehor recall voter interview: Jerry Blansit

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Basehor recall voter interview: Lori Maleta-Brown

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Terry Hill

Terry Hill

Dennis Mertz

Dennis Mertz

Iris Dysart

Iris Dysart

In great numbers and by a wide margin, Basehor residents on Tuesday decided to clean house at City Hall.

In a recall election, residents voted to throw out half of the city’s elected officials, recalling Mayor Terry Hill and City Council members Dennis Mertz and Iris Dysart. About 65 percent of voters opted for Hill’s recall, 61 percent for Mertz’s and 59 percent for Dysart’s.

For the special vote, residents turned out at a rate of nearly 30 percent, dwarfing figures from the last several regular City Council elections.

Groups of residents had mounted dueling efforts to remove the officials from office, with one committee of residents taking aim at Mertz and Dysart and the other seeking to recall Hill. The recall petitions all centered on former City Administrator Mark Loughry and his firing, which Mertz and Dysart supported and Hill opposed.

Hill, Mertz and Dysart will be the first elected officials ever to be recalled in Leavenworth County.

Dysart said Tuesday night that she was shocked voters had supported not one but both recall efforts.

“It is quite a blow to me,” Dysart said.

According to state law, the three officials will be removed from office the day after Leavenworth County certifies the election results. County commissioners are scheduled to canvass votes on Monday.

The Sentinel’s attempts to reach Hill on Tuesday night were not successful.

Mertz said after results were announced Tuesday that he believed voters had been confused by accusations lobbed by the group seeking to recall him and Dysart, and they had decided they should throw out the whole lot.

“I think they may have said, ‘Enough’s enough and let’s start fresh,’” Mertz said.

‘New blood’

Earlier in the day, Basehor resident Lori Maleta-Brown echoed that thought after she voted in the afternoon at Holy Angels Catholic Church. She said she wanted some “new blood” at City Hall.

“The whole thing is just ridiculous,” Maleta-Brown said.

Residents involved in the recall efforts both said they got more than they bargained for when the vote spelled bad news not just for the officials they opposed but also for the ones they supported.

Marilyn Townsend, a Basehor resident who led the effort to recall the mayor but supported Mertz and Dysart in their attempts to stay in office, said she was “at a loss for words” after all three officials were recalled by wide margins.

“I would never have believed this community would do this,” she said.

Bob Stonacek, a resident who supported the recall effort against the two council members, said he was disappointed that the mayor would be on the way out as well. He guessed that voters upset about Loughry’s firing and other issues at City Hall had thought it necessary to spur change starting at the top.

“The message probably got out too strong,” Stonacek said.

Overall, he said the results made him encouraged for the city’s future.

The group opposing Mertz and Dysart had alleged that the two council members had violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act by having discussions related to Loughry’s firing outside of an open council meeting. Both said that charge was false.

The committee seeking Hill’s recall, meanwhile, accused the mayor of improperly revising Loughry’s contract to give him additional health benefits and authorizing a $50,000 severance check to Loughry without approval from the City Council. The mayor denied those charges, saying both actions were lawful.

Hill was elected mayor in 2009 and had just more than a year left in his term. Mertz was elected to the council at the same time, and his term also ends in April 2013. Dysart was first elected in 2003 and re-elected in 2007 and again last April. Her term ends in 2015.

The three remaining council members — Fred Box, David Breuer and Travis Miles — must now appoint one of themselves as council president, and that person will ascend to mayor. That new mayor can then appoint three replacement council members, with approval from the rest of the council.

A spike in interest

The contentious recall election Tuesday awakened Basehor voters, who responded by casting a much higher volume of votes than had been seen in a local election in more than half a decade.

According to the county clerk's office, 909 Basehor residents voted on Tuesday — about 29 percent of the 3,152 registered voters in Basehor.

In the last regular City Council election in April of last year, only 538 of 3,043 voters cast ballots — about an 18 percent turnout.

Basehor resident Kim Scott, who moved to town in 1997, said she had never voted in a local election until she cast a ballot at Holy Angels Catholic Church on Tuesday afternoon.

Scott said she thought the recall-related hubbub over the past few months, including scores of road signs and mailers to Basehor residents, spurred more residents then ever to take notice of happenings at City Hall.

“This time around I felt like it was a little more important,” Scott said.

Election workers at the church had said earlier that the morning rush of voters shortly after polls opened at 7 a.m. had not been out of the ordinary for a city election. But a steady stream during the rest of the day added up.

Workers also said the first Leavenworth County election affected by a new state voter ID law went off without a hitch. Voters seemed well-informed about the new requirement, they said, and no one was turned away because of a lack of an ID.

Turnout in the last three local elections in Basehor, in 2011, 2009 and 2007, had hovered around 18 percent. Tuesday’s numbers easily surpassed those in any local election since 2005, when a county sales tax question and a state marriage amendment were also on the ballot, and turnout was about 40 percent.

Debra Healy, of Basehor, also voted at Holy Angels on Tuesday afternoon. She said she’d always voted in local elections but had never thought about going to a City Council meeting before this year’s recall buzz. That might change now, she said.

“I think it might just have made people more aware of their responsibility in government,” Healy said.


10:15 a.m. report

Election workers were busy, but not overwhelmed, early Tuesday morning as polls opened at Holy Angels Catholic Church on the day of the Basehor recall election.

Workers said about 90 people — or about 3 percent of registered Basehor voters — had voted by 8 a.m., when polls had been open about an hour. Volunteer Jean Feagles, who has helped with a number of Basehor city elections, said the polling site had been perhaps less busy than it would be during a typical city council vote.

“Usually in the morning, first thing, we’re swamped,” Feagles said.

The election centers on whether three city officials — Mayor Terry Hill and city council members Dennis Mertz and Iris Dysart — should be removed from office.

Voter turnout has been about 18 percent in each of the last three regular local elections in Basehor, in 2011, 2009 and 2007.

Leavenworth County Clerk Janet Klasinski, who was helping at the site Tuesday morning, said voters had not had any trouble complying with the new Kansas voter ID law. This is the first election in the county to be affected by the law, which requires voters to take a photo identification to the polls. As of about 8:30 a.m., Klasinski said no voters had failed to do so Tuesday.

“It’s been wonderful,” she said.

Basehor police chief and interim city administrator Lloyd Martley said he would check on the site throughout the day, just to ensure no problems developed. Emotions have run high among some Basehor residents as the recall election has approached, he said.

Basehor resident Charlie Mathies said he was voting in his first city election Tuesday after moving to town about three years ago. He said the election signs around town and several campaign letters sent to city residents had drawn his attention to the recall election, and he’d done his best to learn about the issues from other residents.

“We can’t change the world, but we do have a right to vote,” Mathies said.

Resident Cynthia Dilley said she believed it was always important to vote, though this recall election did require a great deal of thought.

“It’s very complicated, but serious,” Dilley said.

Polls at the Holy Angels church’s Father Quinlan Hall, near 154th Street and Leavenworth Road in Basehor, will remain open until 7 p.m.

For some basic information on the election, take a look at the Sentinel’s recall Q-and-A. For more background, check out the Basehor Recall Election Central page.

Comments

mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

vote no on dysart & mertz. vote yes and recall mayor hill. take basehor back for the future.

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listenupAmerica 2 years, 1 month ago

A lot of you seem to have some misconceptions about the senoir living complex, Country Place Living has facilities in 6 states including Kansas and 9 facilities already in the state of Kansas. The Breurers' do not own this complex!!!! The group came in and asked for investors to make the project a success, in case you do not know, Pebble Brooke (owned by Bonee Enterprises) is the only 55 and older living community in the city. This facility would provide on site care for individuals that would need more than what Pebble Brooke can offer. It's also funny that when the low income housing project came in 2 years ago and asked for support no one, and I mean no one showed up to argue about it then and council (including WASHINGTON, DYSART, I'm sure MERTZ would have given his support also, if he would have been there) gave the development full support and the letter they were asking for to take to the state for tax credits, where in the @#LL were you all at then. From the January 28, 2010 Basehor Sentinel • Approved, 4-0, a letter of support for Garrison Development to apply for affordable housing tax credits to construct Southside Village Apartments at 155th Street and Pinehurst Drive.

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whostheboss 2 years, 1 month ago

Boy o Boy, No matter what you are able to see in true facts you still feel that the judge and jury is correct. The sad thing is for all the people who have common sense can understand that some people hear only what they want to hear and if the truth hit them in the face they would still not believe it. This whole recall is an embarrassment and could have been avoided if the parties on the city council would have just followed protocol. That's all. Everyone types on here how each group of followers did no wrong but in the long run, it is simple to see that things were not handled properly.

And by the way, the little fella in the red truck with the signs, gas is $4 per gallon and you are really embarrassing yourself with all those childish trips by the poles and then to the old Casey's store. Make your time worth something and go to the new Casey's and buy some candy so you can look like your in a parade. Grow up!!!

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

always with the silly and rude useless comments. you hill supporters must be pretty scared to ridacule others as you do. the voters of basehor saw plenty lastnite.

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nomorelies0187Theoneman 2 years, 1 month ago

They certainly did. They saw Jimmy make a complete and utter fool of himself.

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basehordream 2 years, 1 month ago

that must be why 70 people were clapping and cheering when mr washington finished. the mayor just sunk in his chair. it was priceless. bahaha

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nomorelies0187Theoneman 2 years, 1 month ago

I was there and I saw about a dozen people clapping (your cronies) other people were looking at each other and asking "What in the heck is he ranting about?" What was priceless is when you just about got tossed into the parking lot by the police. The Mayor is the person who saved your butt from going to jail. You made a complete fool of yourself and people are still laughing today.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

the only thing you accomplish when you continue to post rude and boorish comments is to make anyother post you have seem unworthy.

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whostheboss 2 years, 1 month ago

How wrong you are again. I never said i was a Hill supporter, those are your words which are not true to the facts. Last night was a big embarrassment to the community and all in attendance. The grand standing by one person on an unrelated topic because he was mad at some water district or something, come on. Really, Do you think any of the three under the recall petition had anything to do with that. That's my point, the only people really suffering are the residents of this community.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

the only embarrassment i saw was the mayors. he acted like a spoiled brat. as i have stated in other threads. mr washington has and had the right to be heard. having the chief of police/city admin try to bully him should be a crime. this is the sort of thing our nation and our laws were founded to prevent. if i were the chief i would have refused to interrupt a citizen just to satisfy the mayors ego and hidden agenda. mayor hill showed his true skin lastnite. i for one am glad there were many others there to see it.

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whostheboss 2 years, 1 month ago

I am very concerned for your well being mckinley2010. First of all don't tie me to any of the two parties involved in this election. A friend told me of all this reading so i started and then went to a couple meetings. For such small town politics there is definitely a ring leader and that would be Mr. Washington for the Mayor's recall. If you like a person that stands up and shouts his whole presentation at the audience then wants attention from the attending patrons you got the right man. I have seen people like him in my life and he usually goes after the lonely or elderly for support. I am not bad mouthing anybody but it is like you said, freedom of speech and my freedom say's Mr. Washington has issues that need medical attention. Just my 2cents.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

your post makes no sense at all. if i have one more of your threats to my "well being" posted at me i am going to the publishers of this paper with my lawyer and a law enforcement officer. they will compel the publisher to reveal your identity and i will file charges. the use of federal regulated comunications to deliver threats to a person is a felony. i am no fool.

there is a lot of bad things being said in these forums about mr washington. why? as far as i can see he is simply acting on his duty as an american. your comment as to his "issues that need medical attn". is by far the most sickening and lowbrowed to date here.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

basehor1889, you're a little late to the party. Nice first post. Mature.

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Talisman 2 years, 1 month ago

mckinley2010......where are you? I guess you've gotten quiet since you've seen the results! Congrats to councilman Breuer and Miles!!! HA!

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

@talisman i also have a life. good by mayor hell !

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whostheboss 2 years, 1 month ago

If i have offended you mckinley2010 I am sorry. I was refering to statements made by you and only you. I guess you are the only one able to have freedom of speech? And by the way, I have not made any threats or do i ever mean any harm to anybody on this post. I am not saying or doing anything different then you or others have posted. I am sorry you feel you are being mistreated and you should not take all coments as threats. Opinions are like A** holes, everyone has one. So please dont tie me to any party and dont take my coments to heart, they are just my opinions and my opinions only.

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

you silly silly little person.

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Basehor1889 2 years, 1 month ago

I agree Talisman. The people have spoken.

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Thinkaboutit 2 years, 1 month ago

GOOD BYE MERTZ! Hopefully this will put an end to your power trip. However, I will say I am sorry that Ms. McBratney got mixed up in this mess. She did nothing wrong but was tossed under the bus. From what I know she is a good person and a good attorney.

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sunflowersue 2 years, 1 month ago

Message to Box, Breuer and Miles -- be judicious in your appointments - no one wants a continuation of the good ole boys club and you could suffer the same fate!

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basehordream 2 years, 1 month ago

you should have thought about that before you voted all the good ones out. now you will have a majority of appointed officials.

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boots 2 years, 1 month ago

All the good ones?? Mertz wasn't VOTED in, pretty sure he ran and no one ran against him. . . As far as I know, that's DEFAULT duty assignment. No one else wanted to do it. SO, if you think they do such a terrible job, why don't YOU run for city council!

Come up with a snazzy slogan though, and PLEASE keep your silly sign out of my yard.

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quiet_neighbor 2 years, 1 month ago

It is sad that Mayor and council members retorted to pettiness and did not settle the issues and come to a reconcilable accord. Waiting until the issues resolved in the process instead of going to voters is a wise choice. Waiting for the KBI report report was one of those "wait moments"." Correcting benefits options, while in council, was another "wait moment.' Mertz's comment of voters "throwing out the whole lot" does not portray the voters as an intelligent body of voters. The issues were replayed through the mail and through the Sentinel. "The message got out too strong" according to Stonack. Gladly, the process was not as long as presidential elections. The last stab sent concerning the Falcon Lakes taking over Basehor was going too far. Should we also note where other petitions start? It shows overwhelmingly that residents in one particular area agree with the petition and the petitioners did not need to go far before the paper was filled! Don't divide us. We (voters) have proven that we will not tolerate scrappy, vindictive council members and mayors who do not work out problems together. Let us have council members who work together. Let us have council members who review their actions before opening their mouths. Let us have council members and mayors who understand that listening to cautions is in everyone's best interest.

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enough 2 years, 1 month ago

quite neighbor-great job! It couldn't have been said any better.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

Low taxes and wise government spending is a goal of all citizens. Let us unite behind the new Mayor and council and move on. Let us hope we are able to get some of our gravel roads and roads in need of repair taken care of in the coming years. The citizens have spoken.

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MertDysart 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to all of the voters from the City of Basehor for standing up for what they believed in. Both sides will forever argue about "who's right", but the facts cannot be ignored. The city WILL face a wrongful termination suit that COULD have been avoided. That is the bottom line and a fact that won't go away. Our only hope, as taxpayers, is that the insurance company covers the damages. That is not guaranteed, since Mertz, Dysart and Box ignored the advice of the City Attorney when they terminated the City Administrator. Let's hope that the new appointees don't harbor the liberal spending ways of former councilman Washington, Mertz, Dysart and current member Box. We need to install good conservative council members that keep the best interests of ALL taxpayers in mind, not just a few who have special interests within the city. The taxpayers spoke last night and they're telling our city government that they don't want decisons backed by three members (Mertz, Dysart and Box) that saddle us with costs that benefit them and their special interest friends. Note, Mayor Hill did not get the city into the mess it is in, he only presided over this circus. The liberal spending of our tax dollars ended last night. Say goodnight Mr. Washington!!!

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mckinley2010 2 years, 1 month ago

well you certainly have a misleading username. one might say your trying to usurp someones identity. i know iris dysart very well i can assure you there is nothing liberal about her. mayor hill is to blame for the whole mess along with the arch liar and thief mark loughry. in closing i will be happy to inform mr mertz & ms dysart fo your attempt to intentionaly mislead readers by useing their names. i wonder how the courts will view this?

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jayhawk83 2 years, 1 month ago

"the only thing you accomplish when you continue to post rude and boorish comments is to make anyother post you have seem unworthy."

Well said mckinley2010, so perhaps you should keep that in mind before you post what you have above. Wouldn't want to continue to slander a man that has been cleared of wrongdoing by the KBI. It seems that you think you know a lot about what justifies a lawsuit, yet toe the line yourself.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

ATTENTION ALL CITIZENS OF BASEHOR! THE VERY LATEST FROM A RELIABLE SOURCE:

Before the results of the recall vote is certified by Leavenworth County, supposedly there is talk that at the Monday night work session of the council, information has it, that there is a possibility that the president of the council whom was just recalled, will resign the council presidency and nominate Fred Box for council president, which would pass with Box, Dysart and Mertz, both of the latter, whom have been recalled, voting for Box. This way, the new council president would become Mayor, and then he would appoint his cronies to the council vacancies when the recall vote is certified. This would be a direct slap in the face of voters that overwhelmingly voted to recall these people. There needs to be a huge turnout at the council meeting Monday to stop this action.

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Ronald Grover 2 years, 1 month ago

If that is indeed true and happens then the same action and justification should be used to begin the petition process on Box. He was a part of the same back door politics as Mertz and Dysart that began this mess.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

But the damage will have already been done, with the council full of their cronies. This is an example of small town politics and possible dirty tricks if it comes to pass.

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enough 2 years, 1 month ago

I've got pen in hand and ready to sign!

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

If Box, Dysart, and Mertz try to pull this off, wouldn't that indeed show they met and conducted council business in advance and outside the confines of an open council meeting, the very reason for their recall?

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kbrown 2 years, 1 month ago

IMO, No.

However, it clearly shows how recalls negate the voice of the people. As it stands, the three remaining council members have their work cut out for them. Elections are just around the corner. The incumbants will most certainly be under a microscope and I say give them a chance to represent.

It is afterall, what the entire community voted for.

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listenupAmerica 2 years, 1 month ago

I believe that if they try to hold the special meeting Monday evening it will be to late as the votes will have already been certified by the County Commissioners. I think if this UNDERHANDED meeting is to be called and take place it may have to happen either today (Thursday), tomorrow (Friday) or first thing Monday morning before the votes are certified. I think once the County Commissioners certify the votes the recalled members are out of office!!! Look for this meeting to be tomorrow!!! Call city hall and confirm if indeed a special meeting has been called!! Take a stand citizens of Basehor, do not let the same good ole boy situation unfold again!!!!!!! I would hope that Mr. Box would not fall fall for the evil trickery of his already recalled council member associates!!!! Why would Mr. Box call a special meeting on his own, did they already communicate outside of an official meeting??? Please Mr. Box, think long and hard about what you doing.

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kbrown 2 years, 1 month ago

The three remaining members must move on. One of these elected councilman surely must step up to the plate and demonstrate leadership.

As it stands, the accusations of communcations outside of an official meeting are just that--where did that accusation first appear and who was the reliable source that said there was going to be a special meeting?

I am confident that any such matter would not set well with the community and folks aren't going to tolerate season 2.

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Ronald Grover 2 years, 1 month ago

There are very specific rules and laws about public notification, agendas, action items and what can and cannot be done in special meetings called by governmental bodies. At least there were when I was on the school board 15 years ago. Make sure of compliance by all involved.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

According to the city of Basehor website, the business meeting of the city council is held the first Monday of each month. That is this Monday at 7PM

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nomorelies0187Theoneman 2 years, 1 month ago

I contacted Mayor Hill this evening in order to find out what is going on. Fred Box, Iris Dysart and Dennis Mertz had asked the city clerk to schedule a special meeting for today or tomorrow. The intent of the special meeting was to elect Fred Box as council president, which in turn would make Box the Mayor on Tuesday morning. Special meetings must be approved by the Mayor. Mayor Hill denied the special meeting. He felt that the three remaining council members should elect the council president who will become mayor. Mayor Hill felt strongly that the recalled council members and himself should not participate in choosing the next council president/mayor. Monday night is a regularly scheduled work session by city ordinance. Recalled council members and Mayor Hill remain in office until Monday night at midnight and will attend the meeting. Action items are not permitted at work sessions.

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Thinkaboutit 2 years, 1 month ago

Seriously Dennis get over it! The people have spoken and they don't want you in city hall! I know it is hard to get off your power trip but it is over! You are nothing more than a single vote in the next election. Please leave this city alone now. You have proven to all (atleat the majority) of us that you are not capable of making good decisions for our city!

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

These three council members, Box, Dysart, and Mertz have certainly got their guts to try to slip this power grab past the wishes of the voters that have just recalled them. Folks, this shows the true colors of this bunch led by Jim Washington. When Box runs for re-election, please remember this attempted power grab. They will try anything to retain their influence over Basehor and the taxpayers pockets that they have been picking.

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

I must again ask, if Box, Dysart, and Mertz are discussing this power grab, and asking the city clerk to schedule a special meeting to elect Box as council president, isn't that conducting council business and strategy together in secrecy, the very reason they were recalled in the first place? As far as the regular Monday business meeting, these lame ducks should not even be involved in a work session or any other council business. The voters have recalled them.

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nomorelies0187Theoneman 2 years, 1 month ago

I for one am thankful once again that Mayor Hill is still in office until Monday at midnight. He will make sure that the Dysart, Mertz and Box team can do no more harm to the city. I am sorry to see you leave Mayor Hill and thank you for everything you have done to move this city in the right direction and into the future. You should be proud!

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johninbasehor 2 years, 1 month ago

Where are all the defenders of this rogue group of fired council members? None of them seem to be posting. Do they finally realize what this group was doing and trying to get away with? It is just a shame that they had to bring Mr. Hill down with them. Mayor Hill, many of us do appreciate your tenure, and sincerely wish you luck as you leave this circus.

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kbrown 2 years, 1 month ago

When David becomes Mayor (and I do strongly encourage Fred to vote yes as a show of unity) I sincerely hope, folks don't criticize him for where he lives (why is that even an issue?), and then rant about absolutely nothing other than to hear themselves babble.

IMO David has a proven track record that has withstood years of review. After reviewing past comments, there will be folks that just complain and they certainly may--but at the end of the day, David, Fred and Travis, must govern.

I sincerely hope David gets the support of all, unlike what was demonstrated in the past: 30% percent voted, 70% still don't care.

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boots 2 years, 1 month ago

I hope they appoint someone who doesn't own half the city.

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nomorelies0187Theoneman 2 years, 1 month ago

Please don't start it again. Get a life!

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boots 2 years, 1 month ago

It's not a matter of having a life or not, but I think David is a good choice, he's a good business man.

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