There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.”
Margaret J. Wheatley
We have the privilege to vote for those who run for the public service of representing us to do the right thing. It is important that we do not become complacent. I would encourage each and every one of you to watch the (Fort Scott City) commissioner meetings on YouTube and pay attention to what is going on in these meetings. The meetings can be viewed live or at a later date on youtube.com. Simply type, fort Scott city commission meeting, into the search bar. Become involved!
We had two scheduled Commissioner Meetings scheduled this past week. The normally scheduled meeting on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 was abruptly postponed after an executive meeting. The stated reason was“because the commissioners did not receive their packets until the morning of Monday August 1st, 2022, and “they did not have time to review them.” One of the commissioners quoted a statement from the Code of Ethics for the City of Fort Scott, Kansas “the agenda must go out on time, usually on the Wednesday before a regular meeting.” Take note “usually”. I would also like to add the next sentence written under the above quote. “Surprises at meetings from the City Commissioners or Staff can be unwelcome and counterproductive.” Our City Code of Procedures does not specify a day in which the agendas are to be distributed. It states “The agenda is required to be supplied to Commissioners and staff in advance of the meeting”. How many people in the audience, who were there to speak, were inconvenienced by the decision that was made? For those involved in this decision, why did you not address your concerns on Monday or Tuesday prior to the meeting?
In revelation to the circumstances surrounding the above there was an explanation. Our City Clerk has been in their position for 24 years. The Commissioners Agendas have been processed and sent out on Fridays for the past 24 years. Our City Clerk requested a two week vacation for the first time in 15 years, with the understanding that the Agendas would be sent out first thing upon returning to work on the Monday, August 1st, which happened. Where is adaption and clemency for someone who has dedicated 24 years to a job that has many demands and that includes shuffling their personal time to cover all of the meetings?
At our second Commissioner meeting on August 4th, 2022, a revision of Ordinance 3290 was introduced. This particular City Ordinance on filling a vacancy also included the State Statute regarding residency. The verbiage in Ordinance 3290 has been manipulated over the past several groups of commissioners with the appearance of trying to meet the needs of their personal or group agenda when it comes to replacement of a City Commissioner position. The revised Ordinance 3618 was well written and inclusive of all situations and scenarios and included the necessary Kansas State Statutes that should be followed. It would certainly alleviate any questions of the processes that should be followed. This is the second revision of the ordinance presented to two different groups of commissioners. This present group of commissioners tabled the discussion of the presented Ordinance until the next meeting in two weeks, and will allow them to take no action on truth, transparency, and doing the right thing.
We need City Policies, Procedures and Ordinances because it gives guidelines for everyone to follow when presented with different situations. It provides consistency. It provides fairness. It provides cohesiveness and takes the guessing game out of what should be done. Where in the Rules of Professional Conduct does it say that we can manipulate the Rule of Law to fit our needs? It doesn’t. It states as a professional, the Rule of Law should be followed and respected. Making decisions on the basis of public policy and being consistent to avoid favoritism will improve and enhance the trust of our community in the decisions that are made.
With Sincerity, Deb McCoy