Morrison taking stock of ouster vote, says he wants to keep voting on council

Morrison says he was stunned that not one of his council colleagues voted for a lesser punishment for his ethics code violation.

A day after watching all 11 of his fellow city councilors vote to have him ousted from Prairie Village’s governing body, David Morrison isn’t quite sure what to make of the situation — or of what he’ll do next.

“I think I need to take a day or two to step back and assess the situation,” Morrison said. “It will depend on what the district attorney does. And what the people in my district want.”

For now, though, Morrison has no plans to resign. In fact, he wishes he had taken a more aggressive approach to the situation prior to Monday’s meeting. Morrison waived his right to a hearing to determine whether he had violated the city’s ethics code after the allegations surfaced about him giving his city hall security code to a homeless friend. It’s a move that he says he now regrets.

“There was no damage done to city property. No confidential records were released. [Kelley Malone] made $9.59 of phone calls. I re-paid the city for those,” Morrison said. “There was no private gain or benefit for me in having done what I did. I think I did the right thing, but in the wrong way.”

The task of completing Morrison’s ouster from office now lies in the hands of Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, based on a state statue that provides little clarity about what process is to be followed.

Statute 60-1206 only says that the district attorney “upon receiving written notice that an officer covered by K.S.A. 60-1205 has violated any of the provisions thereof, shall investigate the complaint. If reasonable cause is found for the complaint, proceedings shall be instituted to oust such officer…”

Morrison said he hopes to be able to continue to serve on the council without being suspended from his duties until after the District Attorney completes whatever process he determines. But he admits that being seated with a group of people who unanimously voted to have him kicked out won’t be ideal — especially considering that no one found it fit to vote for a lesser punishment.

“I thought going into the vote that there would be votes for censure, not just ouster,” he said. “I don’t know what happened in the executive session, but I think they must have decided that whatever they were going to do, they were going to do it in unison.”

As for Malone, Morrison says he hasn’t had direct communication with him since the incident.

“He left me a voicemail,” he said. “So I know he’s alive.”