Former county employees who were recently terminated by the Leavenworth County Commission accused commissioners of violating the Kansas Open Meetings Act. But the Kansas Attorney General’s Office found no violations by commissioners, according to letters from an assistant attorney general.

Former county employees who were recently terminated by the Leavenworth County Commission accused commissioners of violating the Kansas Open Meetings Act. But the Kansas Attorney General’s Office found no violations by commissioners, according to letters from an assistant attorney general.

The findings of the Attorney General’s Office were mentioned during Thursday’s County Commission meeting by Commissioner Louis Klemp.

Former Human Resources Director Tamara Copeland and former County Counselor Mollie Hill filed open meetings complaints against the commissioners.

Copeland and Hill were terminated by commissioners Oct. 30. Hill has since been hired by Leavenworth County Sheriff Andy Dedeke to serve as general counsel for the Sheriff’s Office.

Assistant Attorney General Lisa Mendoza sent letters regarding the finding of the Kansas Attorney General’s Office to Copeland and Hill on Nov. 7. Copies of the letters also were sent to David Van Parys, who is the current county counselor.

Copies of the letters were provided to the Leavenworth Times following Thursday’s commission meeting.

One of the letters concerns a complaint Copeland filed Oct. 19 before she was terminated. In this complaint, Copeland alleged that Klemp and Commission Chairman Doug Smith violated the open meetings law by discussing a planned motion ahead of an Oct. 12 meeting.

The motion, which was approved during the meeting, placed the county’s Human Resources Department under the direction of the county clerk.

Klemp joined the commission in October after being appointed to fill a vacancy. The Oct. 12 meeting was his first meeting after the appointment.

In a response Klemp provided to the Attorney General’s Office, he denied discussing the motion with other commissioners or anyone acting on their behalf. Smith also denied discussing the motion ahead of time, according to Mendoza.

During an Oct. 26 meeting, Klemp addressed the allegation. Klemp argued he could have met with another commissioner before officially taking office without being in violation of the law.

In her letter, Mendoza said Klemp’s argument was correct.

“The KOMA applies to members of a public body,” she wrote in the letter. “It does not apply to members of a public body before they are sworn into office or before their appointment to the office becomes effective.”

Mendoza’s other letter addresses complaints filed by Copeland and Hill on Oct. 31, the day after they were terminated by the commission.

According to the letter, Copeland and Hill expressed three areas of concern regarding a comment Klemp made Oct. 26 about an action he wanted to take, the discussion of personnel matters in open session and an allegation that commissioners acted against the intent of a court order.

But the Attorney General’s Office concluded that the Kansas Open Meetings Act “was not violated based on the facts presented,” according to Mendoza.

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