Basehor taking applications for empty City Council seats

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

March 8, 2012

Basehor City Council applications

• Four seats will be available.

• Due March 16 to be considered for appointment at March 19 meeting.

• Due March 30 to be considered for appointment at April 16 meeting.

• Application forms available for download below.

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Attention, Basehor residents who’d like to replace one of the city’s four departed elected officials: Get your resumés and cover letters ready.

The city is taking applications for the four Basehor City Council seats that will be available after one of the two current members becomes mayor. The plan is for the new mayor to appoint two new members at the council’s March 19 meeting, then two more at the April 16 meeting, Interim City Administrator Lloyd Martley said.

Interested residents will need to fill out an application and a questionnaire and also submit a resumé and a cover letter. The application and questionnaire are available at Basehor City Hall and, and they are available for download at left.

Martley said city staff met with the remaining council members, Travis Miles and David Breuer, this week to plan the application process.

“We wanted to give everybody a fair opportunity to apply for the positions that are available,” Martley said.

The city has set a deadline of noon on Friday, March 16, for applications to be considered for the first two appointments to take place at the March 19 meeting. To be considered at the April meeting, residents must turn in applications by March 30.

City Council members must be full-time Basehor residents, and they must be able to attend regularly scheduled meetings as well as special meetings that can fall during the week or on weekends. The council meets regularly at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Miles said Thursday that he and Breuer didn’t want to limit the pool of possible new council members to people they knew. After a high turnout in the Feb. 28 recall vote compared with past local elections, he said he hoped and expected for a healthy number of residents to apply.

“I think there’s a lot more people around in the community that are taking interest in what’s going on,” Miles said.

After Monday’s city council work session, during which member Fred Box resigned and created a fourth vacancy, Breuer said he’d like to follow the example set by the Basehor-Linwood school board when it filled a vacancy earlier this year.

After board member Wynne Coleman resigned because of a job-related move, the district asked interested residents to submit an application and fill out a questionnaire about district issues. Board members then asked questions of two candidates in public during its February meeting, before voting to appoint Shelley Stevens to replace Coleman.

The city’s application for the council seats asks candidates for information on any family relationships with members of the council and other boards, examples of community involvement and more. The questionnaire asks candidates for their thoughts on the roles of the city council and the city administrator in managing the city, the city’s future and other issues.

Miles said he would be paying special attention to candidates’ views on the city’s development.

“How do they envision the city of Basehor growing and developing and progressing into the future?” Miles said.

The council’s vacancies leave it without enough members to provide the quorum of three normally required for a vote. But state law allows for the remaining two council members to elect one of themselves as a new president (and, therefore, mayor), and to appoint new members, said Sandy Jacquot, general counsel for the League of Kansas Municipalities. It’s a rare exception to the quorum rule, she said.

In fact, she said, other cities around the state have found themselves without enough council members for a quorum from time to time, usually as the result of a mass resignation.

“It’s a very common question to the League,” Jacquot said.

She said the council would need to appoint a mayor and at least two members before it conducts any other business, though, as almost any other vote requires a quorum of members present.

That, Martley said, is why the council will appoint two members later this month, so that the council can conduct other business at its March meeting. The council will wait until April to appoint members to the other two seats, he said, to give candidates as much time as possible to complete their applications.

The council seats vacated by Fred Box and Iris Dysart have terms running through April 2015, and the seat left behind by Dennis Mertz is up for election in April of next year. The fourth seat will be the one vacated by either Breuer or Miles upon becoming mayor; Breuer’s term runs through next year, and Miles’ runs through 2015.

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