Ben Hodge, Red County – This is the budget list that JCCC leaders think should be talked about in a closed session

This is the budget list that JCCC leaders think should be talked about in a closed session

PDF request-for-review-of-koma-to-county-da

By Benjamin Hodge | 04/26/09

On page 102 (appendix item 42) of my formal KOMA complaint (PDF file) to District Attorney Steve Howe, I provide the list at the center of the open meetings debate at JCCC.  This is the budget-related list that JCCC President Terry Calaway chose to distribute during a closed meeting and that Calaway clearly instructed board members not to share with others.  Calaway on his own decided to print the list, and enough copies were made — note, in advance of the closed meeting — so that each of the 5 board members present at that closed meeting could have a copy of his or her own.  Calaway on his own also decided to share the list, as nobody (myself included) requested that he provide this list — contrary to the false statements made by Calaway and Trustee Lynn Mitchelson.

encourage readers to look at the 64 items on the list, on page 102.  Is this the type of information that closely relates to Terry Calaway’s private job evaluation?  I don’t think so, and neither does The Kansas City Star nor The Kansas Press Association.  This is budget information, information that the Kansas Open Meetings Act requires be discussed during an open session.

With specific regard to the two items where the employee names are redacted, I’ll reference what I write on page 12 of my letter to the D.A.

  • Calaway has also said that the “discussion” of the budget was permissible because two employee names were mentioned. My comments to this:
    • It’s not entirely accurate to state that two names were mentioned. Rather, two partial names were listed-in the form of “B. Hodge.”
    • I do not believe that this is the intent of KOMA, and neither does Merriam, KPA’s attorney – that merely because an employee’s
      name is mentioned, that the discussion about the funding for that employee’s job should be discussed during a closed meeting.
      Remember that a government employee’s title, salary, and length of tenure are all available for public consumption.
    • JCCC makes a mockery of KOMA by implying that a budget discussion involving “Cutting the position of Chief Information
      Officer” should be done during a public meeting, but that a discussion involving “Cutting the position of Chief Information
      Officer, a position currently filled by Joe Smith” should be done during a close session. There is no functional differenceLink:!