A second member of the Leavenworth County Commission is suggesting the board's chairman should resign.

Updated at 6:11 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018 with additional information

 

A second member of the Leavenworth County Commission is suggesting the board’s chairman should resign.

“In the best interest of the county, he should resign,” County Commissioner Doug Smith said.

Smith was talking about Commission Chairman Louis Klemp.

Smith’s comments follow a commission meeting Tuesday in which Klemp used the term “master race” while speaking to a woman who was making a presentation.

“I don’t want you to think I am picking on you because we are part of the master race,” Klemp said during the meeting. “You have a gap in your teeth. We are part of the master race. Don’t you forget that.”

Klemp also has a gap in his teeth.

His comments were made to Triveece Penelton with the firm Vireo. The firm was hired to do a land use study for a County Road 1 corridor.

Penelton is an African-American woman.

County Commissioner Bob Holland, who is the remaining member of the three-member commission, has told other media organizations that Klemp should resign.

Klemp, who is scheduled to leave the commission in January, did not return phone messages Thursday.

Smith was seated at a dais with Klemp during Tuesday's meeting. But Smith said he was reviewing documents when Klemp made the comment, and he did not fully pick up on what was said.

Smith has since been made aware of what was said. He said the remark was inappropriate.

"I would never have made the remark," he said.

Smith said he has not talked with Klemp about the comment because the law does not allow county commissioners to speak to each other outside of an open meeting.

Commissioners are scheduled to meet again Tuesday.

Holland said Thursday that he will ask Klemp to resign if he does not do so on his own.

Earlier this year, Holland requested an opinion from the Kansas Attorney General's Office regarding whether Klemp can be removed from the position of chairman by his fellow commissioners.

Even though he is still awaiting that opinion, Holland said he may make a motion Tuesday to remove Klemp from the position of chairman.

Last year, Holland criticized remarks made by Klemp in which Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and slavery were mentioned. Klemp later said his remarks were disappointing and lacking in clarity.

Klemp was appointed to his position on the commission last year following the resignation of former Commissioner Clyde Graeber.

Klemp was selected to fill the vacancy by Republican precinct committee men and women from the 2nd District of the County Commission.

Vicky Kaaz recently was elected to serve as the next commissioner for the 2nd District. She is scheduled to take over the position in January.

Kaaz said Thursday that Klemp should resign.

"He has embarrassed our community," Kaaz said.

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