Judge Daniel Creitz will not intervene on behalf of Iola City Council members Ken Rowe and Kendall Callahan, who face a recall vote.
Creitz was asked by several members of the Iola Commission to quash the recall vote on Aug. 7.
“The court does not have the authority or jurisdiction,” for such an action, Creitz wrote, “until a case is properly filed.”
Commissioner Steve French orchestrated the effort asking for Creitz to intervene.
A “yes” vote on Aug. 7 will support the recall of Rowe and Callahan.
THE ALLEGATIONS against Rowe and Callahan holding meetings illegally were brought to the attention of Sandy Jacquot, legal counsel for the Kansas League of Municipalities and Mike Merriam, legal counsel for the Kansas Press Association.
“Kansas open meetings laws are frequently misunderstood by communities,” said Jacquot in a telephone interview Friday afternoon.
Jacquot acknowledged she was unfamiliar with the specifics of the allegations against the Iola councilmen, but said council committees are subject to open meetings laws — even informal ones.
“If you meet regularly to discuss city business, you probably should be considered a formal committee” and subject to the Kansas Open Meetings Act, Jacquot said. KOMA ensures the public has access to meetings conducted by elected officials. “We try to tell cities that if there’s any question, to err on the side of transparency and make meetings open.”
Jacquot’s comments were confirmed by Merriam.
REGISTERED voters in Iola’s first and fourth voting wards are eligible to take part in the recall, regardless of party affiliation. Ward 1 voters will decide Callahan’s fate. Rowe’s status will be determined by voters in Ward 4.
Rowe and Callahan deny allegations laid out by Iolans For Good Government, a group of local residents highly critical of recent council actions and whose members organized the recall effort.
The embattled councilmen are accused of “knowingly violating