September 28, 2011

Deputy sent to fetch county commissioner late for meeting

Sedgwick County sent a deputy from the sheriff's office to check on Commissioner Jim Skelton after he did not show up for the commission's regular weekly meeting Wednesday.

Skelton arrived 90 minutes late for the meeting. When he took his seat at the bench, he said he had been sick.

When he didn't arrive at the start of the meeting, administrative assistants for the board called him at home and on his cellphone.

One of the assistants then came out to the meeting and wrote a note to Commissioner Dave Unruh, the chairman, that she was going to have someone check on Skelton. Unruh nodded his head and continued with the meeting, which started at 9 a.m.

Anticipating a split vote on one item, Unruh rearranged the agenda, hoping that Skelton would show up in time to hear that presentation.

Skelton took his seat at the bench about 10:30 a.m. He told his colleagues that he had had food poisoning and didn't hear calls from county staff.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn told an Eagle reporter that he had overheard in the board's hallway that a deputy had gone to check on Skelton. Sheriff Robert Hinshaw later confirmed that to be true.

Skelton made a comment to an Eagle reporter about Peterjohn "narcing" on him.

Skelton also said that he had eaten shrimp salad and was sick until early this morning and didn't fall asleep until 4 or 5 a.m. He said he didn't hear his alarm clock or the phone calls.

"This was not me being irresponsible," Skelton said.

Skelton then went into the lobby and appeared to be angry and swore about someone breaking his trust.

Asked about the shouting, which could be heard in the commission's chambers, Skelton first said he didn't know anything about it.

He then said he had been "joking around" with Unruh, who had told Skelton to take a deep breath.

Skelton later admitted he had been upset, did not show his best side and was having a bad day.

"I think I'm entitled to one every once in a while," he said.

Unruh declined to comment about whether Skelton appeared to be upset with Peterjohn.

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