UG charter ordinance subcommittee review underway

The Unified Government’s Charter Ordinance Subcommittee on Tuesday went over the ordinance line by line to determine what areas committee members wanted to work on.

Topics that came up during the review included who had the actual authority over employees and the administrator – the mayor, administrator or the commission, or all? Whether the administrator or interim administrator should be required to live in Wyandotte County?

Also, how many commissioners are needed to make the decision to appoint or dismiss the administrator, what is the meaning of majority in this phrasing?

These issues may be addressed at future meetings, according to subcommittee leaders.

The subcommittee is made up only of UG Commissioners at this time. They include UG Commissioners Tom Burroughs, Chuck Stites, Mike Kane, Gayle Townsend and Angela Markley.

Commissioner Mike Kane expressed his opinion that the interim county administrator ought to be required to live in Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas, Bonner Springs or Edwardsville, in the same residency rules applying to other employees.

The UG is paying the interim administrator a serious amount of money and after they get through this temporary situation they’re in now, they shouldn’t put themselves in this situation again, he said.

He also said needing a super-majority has tied the commission’s hands for a long time, and he favored a simple majority vote of the commission.

Kane said the community and commission should have more involvement in picking the administrator. The commission should be more involved than in the past, he said. There was agreement from the subcommittee members that since the mayor has to have the votes for the new administrator, the commission should have some input to make educated decisions leading to enough votes to pass.

Commissioner Stites asked about the commission being provided with more information about the administrator’s proposed contract before it goes through, so that they would know if the contract terms are within line for the size of the city.

Many other issues from the review were discussed Tuesday. They also discussed old language left in the charter ordinance from the mid-1990s that may no longer apply today.

There were no decisions made at the Tuesday meeting. In the future, according to Burroughs, the subcommittee will take up some concerns of the community about the charter ordinance.

In the audience on Tuesday were Mary Gonzales, BPU board president; and former Mayor Carol Marinovich, according to subcommittee leaders.