Earlier this year, two concerned citizens filed a law suit in District Court alleging the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) had exceeded their authority when dismissing the volunteer Johnson County Mental Health Commissioners and appointing themselves to the created vacancies. Even though the Mental Health Commission had been provided falsified budgetary restraints since 2011 and the BOCC had three means of accomplishing their goal within the Home Rule Charter language since 2011, in late 2013 the BOCC created a “budgetary crises“.
The Court Judge ruled with the BOCC Legal Department’s argument that State Statute supercedes the county’s Home Rule Charter. They cited a distant Statute that allowed Johnson County (and only Johnson County) to do this. We accepted defeat but raised the questions of the Home Rule Charter requiring the County Officers of Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds being appointed rather than Statutes requiring those Officers being elected.
The BOCC Legal Department responded to the press, appointing these Officers was within the law regardless of what the law made clear. On May 21, 2014 I filed a KORA request with the County Clerk and Legal Department for the document that makes clear this contradiction. That request remains unanswered.
On May 29, 2014 I requested from the County Election Commissioner the necessary forms to file for the elected offices of Clerk, Treasurer and Register of Deeds since the filing deadline was June 2, 2014. Following advice from the BOCC Legal Department, my request was denied.
On May 30, 2014 I filed two KORA violations with the Kansas Attorney General Office. Investigating.
On June 8, 2014 I filed an Election Complaint with the Kansas Secretary of State Office for not being able to run for an elected office. On June 11, 2014 with the help of Mike Egan, I received this response 20140611120207105.
Under a 1999 Kansas Statute that makes Johnson County an “urban county” our County Commissioners also have access to Municipal Statutes. Within a ‘tax district consolidation’ Statute, Johnson County (and only Johnson County) may consolidate offices and make those positions appointed and not elected as with all other counties.
Sheriff Denning- I have spent much money on legal fees and a few hundred hours researching, you need a stronger gate.
1) With precedence, the BOCC can claim a financial/budgetary crises and make your Office appointed regardless of the Home Rule Charter, Statutes supersede Charter. (This started two months ago.)
2) After many years of honorable service to this GREAT Nation and with all due respect, the Overland Park Chief of Police recently retired.
3) The Charter and Charter Commission review are feel good documents and completed as designed, worthless.
Accolades to the County Election Commissioner, the offices of Kansas Secretary of State and Attorney General for timely and accurate information. Greatly disappointed with Johnson County including but not limited to County Clerk, Legal Department and my Commissioner Mike Ashcraft for their lack of response.
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