Roeland Park’s long ethics session closed to public

Roeland Park City Hall, where the council met in executive session for 90 minutes with no pronouncement.

Roeland Park’s City Council ethics investigation — or non investigation, perhaps — became something of a mystery this week after a 90-minute executive session on ethics that produced no statement from the council.

At the May 20 council meeting, losing mayoral candidate Linda Mau charged that Councilor Megan England was behind an anonymous campaign flier distributed shortly before the April election. Mau described the contents of the flier as “vicious and defaming” and asked the council to censure England.

This Monday the council stopped its meeting slightly more than 30 minutes into the session and adjourned to an executive session to meet with its ethics attorney, Dan Church, who is separate from the city attorney. The executive session was a listed agenda item (Executive Session – 1. Dan Church: Ethics Responsibilities of Elected Officials (Document Not Confidential – Pg.11 )) and was cited as allowed under attorney-client privilege. A series of slides titled “Ethics Responsibilities of Elected Officials” was included in the council packet.

The council estimated it would be gone for 45 minutes, but recessed to a second 45-minute executive session, not returning to open meeting until after 9 p.m. by which time citizens attending the meeting had cleared out. City administrator Aaron Otto said later that no investigation is taking place and that the executive session was “to receive legal advice about the city’s ordinance.”

The only pronouncement from the council on its return was that no votes or actions had been taken. England was among councilors who did not attend the session.

Mau had contended that an ethics investigation was under way the night she leveled her charges.