Leavenworth County commissioners voted Monday to send a letter to a former commissioner asking that he return any county property, including personnel files, still in his possession.

Leavenworth County commissioners voted Monday to send a letter to a former commissioner asking that he return any county property, including personnel files, still in his possession.

The letter will be sent to former Commissioner Dennis Bixby, who left the commission in January after being defeated in last year's Republican primary.

Bixby was replaced on the commission by Doug Smith, who now serves as the body's chairman.

Smith suggested during Monday's meeting that a letter be sent to Bixby demanding the former commissioner return personnel files and any other county documents in his possession.

Bixby has been blamed for the leak of a personnel document concerning Senior County Counselor David Van Parys. The document was cited in a television news story that aired earlier this year on KSHB Channel 41.

Commissioner Bob Holland has said Bixby mistakenly left behind a folder with the document after being interviewed for the news story.

During Monday's meeting, Smith initially accused Bixby of stealing such documents from the county. But Holland said it was not fair to say the documents were stolen because they had been given to Bixby when he was a commissioner.

Previously, commissioners were allowed to have copies of personnel documents.

County Administrator Mark Loughry, who joined the county government in January, has said he and Van Parys believe state law does not allow an individual commissioner to access personnel files. And he said this issue has now been addressed in the county government.

Smith said Monday that he is concerned about the potential liability to the county government.
“We know he has these documents, and we're not doing anything to get them back,” Smith said.

Holland questioned whether commissioners have the legal authority to make such a request of Bixby.

Van Parys said commissioners can demand that county property be returned. He said it might be appropriate for him to consult with the county attorney or sheriff before issuing a letter to Bixby requesting the return of any county property in his possession, including records.

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