Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler must serve 150 hours of community service as part of court agreement

The agreement does not specify what type of community service Distler would do, but prohibits any of it to be in the context of her duties with the city or in campaigning or politics. The agreement also says she cannot use any of her service in advertisements. File photo.

Shawnee Mayor Michelle Distler must do 150 hours of community services as part of the requirements of a diversion agreement with the Johnson County District Attorney’s office.

Distler is charged with perjury and accused of entering false information in an open meetings complaint filed with the state attorney general’s office.

The one-year diversion agreement she signed Jan. 21 was entered into the court records this week. It means that court proceedings in the felony trial will be put on hold. If she successfully completes the diversion requirements, prosecutors have agreed to dismiss the case against her.

Agreement details

A court document obtained through an open records request shows much of Distler’s diversion agreement is standard for such agreements.

For example, she must pay a $150 diversion fee and $204.50 in court costs, as well as report to a case manager, provide written notice of address change and any arrests or citations.

It does not specify what type of community service Distler would do, but prohibits any of it to be in the context of her duties with the city or in campaigning or politics. The agreement also says she cannot use any of her service in advertisements.

She has two weeks to begin and must complete a minimum of ten hours a month, with a $75 monitoring fee. The service must be completed by Sept. 15 of this year.

Failure to meet the terms means Distler’s case could come before the court again. If that happens, she would lose certain rights as a defendant, including the right to confront witnesses.

Distler’s case stems from a March 7 email thread that included four council members as well as others. Distler told an investigator she was concerned that the discussion violated open meetings laws, but reluctant to put her own name on it for fear of repercussions from some political opponents. She said she tried to file anonymously, including identifying information from another person and that the complaint was filed accidentally. Investigators disputed that.