At February’s Johnson County Community College board meeting, leaders inappropriately justified the distribution and brief verbal discussion of typed budget items during a non-public portion because the budget barely related to the president’s private evaluation (ratings include “fiscal management”).
I must correct some statements that have since come from JCCC. Namely, that JCCC has a top-notch record regarding the Kansas Open Meetings Act (KOMA). No way.
The most obvious violation occurred four months ago. Only three trustees may legally meet privately to discuss government business (a “meeting” is communication by any means). A violation of KOMA occurred the moment four trustees agreed to submit a letter published by The Star. To be fair, was this a huge deal? No, but it showed a lack of understanding by all members involved, including President Terry Calaway, who instructed an employee to write the politically-oriented letter. That leads to more questions.
And two weeks ago, in a Gardner News article, Calaway and Chair Shirley Brown-Van Arsdale attempted to argue that as long as budgets are not verbally discussed, printed budget items can be distributed during closed meetings. That’s absolutely incorrect.
JCCC leaders need to learn – and then follow – the open meetings law.
Johnson County Community College trustee
Editor’s note: Hodge is running for re-election to the JCCC Board of Trustees