Opinion Columns & Blogs

Legal or not, county hiring lacked openness

The Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office announced last week that it had found no fault with how the Sedgwick County Commission handled the hiring of Brig. Gen. Michael Scholes as county manager, apart from a failure to use proper wording justifying a related executive session. The commission reached a consensus to hire Scholes in a closed Aug. 19 meeting and only told the public two weeks later, as it authorized the signing of his contract. Even if that sequence of events complied with the weak Kansas Open Meetings Act, it flunked the commonsense test. A governing body that comes to agreement in secret and rubber-stamps decisions in public is not operating openly. The hiring of Sedgwick County’s first county manager in 25 years also followed a search process that made little effort to gather citizen input or allow public scrutiny. – Rhonda Holman