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Archive for Saturday, April 7, 2007

Tonganoxie leader’s suspension ends after one day

April 7, 2007

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Kathy Bard is back on the job.

After spending Thursday suspended with pay, Bard resumed her duties Friday as assistant city administrator in Tonganoxie.

"I've done nothing wrong," Bard said.

She said City Administrator Mike Yanez called her Thursday night and said the City Council had directed him to tell her the suspension had been revoked, although an investigation was ongoing.

Mayor Dave Taylor, who lost a re-election bid Tuesday, suspended Bard on Thursday morning. At Taylor's request, the City Council met Thursday night, but when council members adjourned from a closed-door session they said no action had been taken.

On Friday, Taylor declined to comment.

"It's still a personnel matter and I'm referring all calls to Mike Kelly," Taylor said, referring to the city's attorney.

Kelly only acknowledged Bard had returned to City Hall.

When asked whether the issue would be discussed further at Monday's council meeting, Kelly said, "probably so."

Bard said she was at work Thursday morning when Taylor, with Kelly by his side, informed Bard that she was suspended with pay because of an investigation.

"He asked for my key and locked it," Bard said, referring to her office door.

Bard said Friday that she'd been told the investigation centered on a liquor excise tax.

For more than a year, Tonganoxie has charged the tax to Helen's Hilltop, which is about two miles west of the city limits. Bard said a field investigation officer with the Kansas Department of Revenue advised her the bar and grill should pay the tax to Tonganoxie, instead of Leavenworth County.

The tax is a 10 percent charge on liquor by the drink. Cities receive less than 50 percent of that money back from the state. The money is split evenly between a city's general fund and parks fund.

Even if it's found to be an error, it's easily fixable, she said.

"It isn't a really big deal," Bard said. "If the state has made an error that was not appropriated to us, they send us a letter and let us know and we'll give the money back (to the state)."

- Shawn Linenberger, reporter at The Mirror newspaper of Tonganoxie, can be reached at (913) 845-2222.

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