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Archive for Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Recall vote set for Basehor officials

December 21, 2011

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UPDATE: Basehor Mayor Terry Hill has filed a challenge in Leavenworth County District Court on the validity of a recall effort against him. A hearing in that court case is set for Jan. 11.

Here's what we reported earlier:

Basehor residents will vote in February on whether to remove up to half of the city’s elected officials from office.

Leavenworth County will schedule a recall election on Feb. 28 for Basehor Mayor Terry Hill, City Council President Dennis Mertz and City Council member Iris Dysart, County Clerk Janet Klasinski said Tuesday.

Residents earlier this month handed in petitions for the recalls of all three officials, Klasinski said, and the county determined that all three had enough valid signatures to prompt an election.

Klasinski said each petition contained more than enough signatures to proceed, but the county had not counted the total number of valid signatures each one had after it had been determined that the number was sufficient. The petition for Hill’s recall required 190 signatures from registered Basehor voters, while the petition for Mertz required 124 and Dysart’s required 193.

The petition packets turned in to the county, which were provided to the Basehor Sentinel, contained about 360 signatures on the petition to recall Hill and about 250 signatures on the petitions for Mertz and Dysart.

The petitions to recall Mertz and Dysart are sponsored by the same three-person committee of Basehor residents, while the effort to recall Hill is led by a different three-person committee.

Petitioners accused Mertz and Dysart of violating state open-meetings laws in deciding to fire former city administrator Mark Loughry in September, a charge both have denied.

The group seeking to recall Hill accused the mayor of misuse of public funds connected to purchases of a scanner and coffee pot with city funds, as well as health benefits and a severance payment given to Loughry. Hill has also denied any wrongdoing, saying that the purchases in question were for his office at Basehor City Hall and that his actions regarding Loughry were authorized by the former administrator’s contract and the City Council.

Basehor is governed by the mayor and a five-person City Council.

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