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sekreader

'Frontenac city government, officials face lawsuit'

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https://www.morningsun.net/news/20200401/frontenac-city-government-officials-face-federal-lawsuit

I have been following the morning sun news article that came out.

Does what happened NEED a federal lawsuit? Could this be mitigated in other ways besides a lawsuit?

I think that it could even scare good people from ever signing up to sit on a commission - if you break KOMA intentionally or accidentally you could have to defend yourself by hiring a lawyer.  If I recall correctly, recently in the Pittsburg City commission meeting there was confusion over KOMA because it had changed and NO TRAINING was made available or required to be taken.

In my opinion, it also  shows the true colors of the people filing the lawsuit. I have thought it was strange that a small town issue has been plastered in several small new sites and the KC Star. I find that the work of professionals who know how to smear someone.

Any thoughts on this?

 

 

Edited by sekreader

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 Not a lawyer and no dog in the fight!

  I haven't followed this item at all.  Like you I'm not sure why  this would need to go to the federal level but I would guess that plaintiffs are acting on the advice of their attorney. I would have guessed that the Kansas AG could have resolved  an ordinary case. There  may be some circumstances that allow or require it to be elevated to the higher court.

 Looking at the allegations, I wouldn't be surprised if phone metadata would be subpoenaed from each defendant's carrier for the time surrounding the incident.

 In looking at potential penalties for KOMA violations, maybe plaintiffs are looking for some other remedy.
 

Quote

 

  page 6 and notes page following

 What if I disagree with the findings of the county or district attorney? You may file your own case in district court against the members of the public body or agency. The Attorney General will not review the findings of a county or district attorney. That is the role of the courts. What happens if a violation is found? That depends upon the situation. If we find that a violation has occurred, depending upon the severity, the typical resolution is to enter into a settlement agreement such as a consent order. We are seeking compliance with the KOMA and assuring that future violations do not occur. If the circumstances show a pattern of willful disregard of the KOMA rules, we may impose a finding of violation on the public body or agency, or take the individuals responsible to court.

What can the Attorney General do to a violator? The Attorney General may fine individual members of the public body or agency up to $500 for each violation, require completion of Attorney General approved training, order the public body or agency to cease and desist from violating the KOMA, require future compliance with the KOMA, and require submission of proof of compliance. A violation of the KOMA may subject the individual to removal from office by ouster or recall. What can a court do to a violator? A court may fine individual members of the public body or agency up to $500, require completion of Attorney General approved training, order the public body or agency to cease and desist from violating the KOMA, reverse any actions that were taken illegally, and potentially subject the individual to removal from office by recall or ouster. The court shall award attorney fees and costs to private parties if they bring the action, and the public agency did not act in good faith and with a reasonable basis in law. The KOMA is a civil statute, not criminal, so the violator will not be sent to jail under the KOMA.

 https://ag.ks.gov/docs/default-source/publications/a-citizens-guide-to-koma-kora.pdf?sfvrsn=f054e281_16   

 

      

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On 4/2/2020 at 9:06 AM, sekreader said:

I think that it could even scare good people from ever signing up to sit on a commission - if you break KOMA intentionally or accidentally you could have to defend yourself by hiring a lawyer.  If I recall correctly, recently in the Pittsburg City commission meeting there was confusion over KOMA because it had changed and NO TRAINING was made available or required to be taken.

In my opinion, it also  shows the true colors of the people filing the lawsuit. I have thought it was strange that a small town issue has been plastered in several small new sites and the KC Star. I find that the work of professionals who know how to smear someone.

 After pondering the above^^^^ part of your post,  and then reflecting on the two snips below  vvv, I can see how the two scenarios have a slight balancing effect.  But in my opinion, the plaintiffs suffered the brunt of public humiliation and loss of status without a due process procedure, in what sounds like something just short of a public flogging.   Having said that, I have to bear in mind that my opinion was garnered from a single newspaper article.

 

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“Where it was not unusual for 15 to 25 of the same citizens to attend City Council meetings, this time they numbered over 100 and included many faces he had not previously seen attend these meetings.”

“Plaintiffs Reams, Kutz and Fielder rose from Council table and were escorted from the building” by Zafuta — then public safety director and now the city administrator — the complaint states. “As they walked the gauntlet up the aisle to leave the building, most of the assembled crowd jeered, applauded and made rude comments at the Plaintiffs as they were marched from the meeting. No one voiced disapproval of these acts. Citizens made pointed ‘cat calls’ to different Plaintiffs yelling and laughing at them as they were led away.”

https://www.morningsun.net/news/20200401/frontenac-city-government-officials-face-federal-lawsuit

 

 

 

 

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Yes, good point on the public humiliation part. Public shaming can be a terrible thing.

The alternative route would have been to get community support to get the word out to call the Mayor to voice concerns and if that does not work, take the next step and actually vote for someone else in the next election.

Hopefully these will all be lessons learned for future public service officials.

 

 

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The good citizens The Republic of Frontenac could have done what they did to Coach Spigarelli back in the day. At least his widow had a nice janitorial job at the school for the rest of her life.

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