News Columns & Blogs

Can't keep violating open-meetings act

shhhh3All parties, including the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office, agree that the Wichita City Council violated the Kansas Open Meetings Act last month by using secret ballots to elect Jim Skelton as vice mayor. The DA's Office opted not to fine anybody, viewing the city's admission of the error and subsequent release of the council members' votes as sufficient to close the matter. City Attorney Gary Rebenstorf's apology and promise to ensure "that like mistakes are avoided in the future" were welcome. But city officials cannot violate the law every few years, as they have three times since 2003, and escape penalties forever.