A spokesperson for the Kansas Attorney General’s office has confirmed for the Junction City Union that it has received a complaint alleging that Geary County Commissioners had violated the Kansas Open Meeting Act.
Kansas statute 75-4317 reads in part “(a.) In recognition of the fact that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, it is declared to be the policy of this state that meetings for the conduct of governmental affairs and the transaction of governmental business be open to the public.
The complaint is under review by the AG’s office, said John P. Milburn, public information officer for the attorney general. He declined to release any additional information about the allegation.
Geary County Commission chair Keith Ascher, who is running unopposed for reelection, said he was unaware of the complaint.
“We haven’t been notified or seen anything in writing so it’s hard to comment on something that doesn’t exist,” he said.
Commissioner Brad Scholz, who is also up for reelection and will face two candidates in the primary election, said he had heard a rumor of the complaint. He also had heard people question a possible violation at a recent fundraiser for Geary Community Hospital. He denied the allegation stating that the commissioners present at the event never spoke about county business.
“If you are not in a commission meeting, and you are talking about commission business and you are doing it outside of a commission meeting, it is a KOMA violation,” he said. “I don’t know what (the filed complaint) is about but I imagine it is politically driven.”
Todd Godfrey, who Scholz will face in the primary, and Trish Giordano, who he will face in the general election, confirmed they had heard the complaint was filed.
Giordano declined to comment until more information is known.
“Everyone deserves due process,” she said.
Godfrey likewise said he was aware of the complaint and is “confident that the attorney generals will investigate the complaint fully and I’ll wait for their decision on the matter.”
Candidates for the county commission Mike Rhodes and Alex Tyson said they had
Candidate Mike Rhodes, who is running for Scholz’s seat, and Alex Tyson and Commissioner Charles Stimatze who will face each other in the general election all said they were unaware the complaint had been filed.