After Kansas AG investigation, Baldwin City Council admits violation of Kansas Open Meetings Act

The Baldwin City Council has entered into an agreement with the Kansas Attorney General’s Office to cease violations of the state’s open meetings law and to receive training to prevent future transgressions.

The City Council entered into an Oct. 5 consent order with the attorney general’s office, which found that council members Christi Darnell, Kathy Gerstner and Dave Simmons engaged in serial communications outside of a public meeting setting. The agreement was the result of a state investigation of possible open meetings violations that Baldwin City Mayor Marilyn Pearse had reported in July.

The conversation in question involved the three council members’ opposition to Pearse’s June nomination of Shane Starkey to fill the unexpired seat of Councilman Stephen Bauer, who was killed along with his wife, Alison Bauer, in a car wreck in May.

In interviews with the Journal-World, Darnell and Simmons said they were part of serial conversations involving the nomination.

“We do not dispute that,” Simmons said. “I apologize for my mistake. We made a mistake and owned up to it. I learned from it, and I’m a better councilman from what I learned.”

(Read more: LJWorld.com / Lawrence, Kansas)