City code brought into question

Questions regarding Sabetha’s City Code were presented at the Sabetha City Commission meeting held at 6 p.m. Monday, June 24. Present for the meeting were Mayor Doug Clark, Commissioners Julie Burenheide, Maridel Wittmer, Norm Schmitt and Nick Aberle, Assistant City Administrator Bill Shroyer and City Clerk Steve Compo. Guests present were Austin Wasinger, Bob Ruddick and David Herbster.

Wasinger presented documents to the commission regarding Sabetha City Code — saying he had questions regarding two members within the law enforcement department.

“My concern is with some employment policies, specifically within the law enforcement,” Wasinger said. “Some within city code and city code also references state law.”

The first two documents presented were taken directly from the City of Sabetha’s website at http://www.cityofsabetha.com/Codes%20and%20Ordinances.html and were in regard to the following codes:

Chapter 1, Article 3: Officers and Employees, Section 1-302: Persons Not Eligible to Hold Office. The section reads: No person shall be eligible to any appointive office unless such person shall be a bona fide resident of the city or of the territory within a two mile radius of the city prior to his or her appointment. Provided however, that the city may hire nonresident expert employees and/or appoint nonresidents as a municipal judge, as law enforcement officers or as city attorney, when deems necessary by the governing body, including the appointment of nonresidents who might also serve as municipal judge or law enforcement officers or attorney of another municipality or public agency: provided that nothing herein shall authorize the appointment of nonresidents of this state. The code references state code K.S.A. 14-1502, Ord. 1194, Sec. 1, which is the third document that was presented.

Chapter 10, Article 1: Police Department, Section 10-104: Qualifications (a). The section reads: Each person appointed as a police officer of Sabetha shall be a citizen of the United States; hold a high school diploma or equivalent (GED); be at least 21 years of age and not over 45 years of age at the time of appointment; be of good health to be certified by a physician approved by the city and of good moral character and have no criminal record. Upon appointment each person will be required to serve a six month probationary period and may be dismissed at any time during or at the completion of the probationary period by the governing body with or without any showing of cause. Furthermore, upon appointment, each personal employed shall be given notice of the contents of this section.

“There are a couple of employees within law enforcement that may not qualify to be employees,” Wasinger said. “Because of residency and age.”

“It says there are exceptions for law enforcement officers as far as residency,” Mayor Clark said.

“Except for state residency,” Wasinger said. “They must be a resident of the State of Kansas. It is my understanding that we do have one officer who lives in the State of Nebraska.”

“It would be worth looking into it,” Schmitt said.

After a short discussion, Mayor Clark asked Shroyer to have the city’s attorney, Martin Mishler, look over the code and come to the next meeting with some information.

Also at the meeting:

The commission approved the minutes from the June 10 meeting.

Commissioners approved Resolution 2019-15 for a fire truck lease. Herbster was present to have Mayor Clark sign documents for a fire truck lease.

Commissioners approved Resolution 2019-14 to set a hearing for a code violation structure located at 1015 Dakota Street. The hearing is set for 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 12, at Sabetha City Hall. See resolution on Page 9A.

Commissioners approved giving non-essential employees Friday, July 5, off.

It was announced that the new Sabetha Health and Wellness Center Ribbon Cutting will be held at 11:30 a.m. Monday, July 1.

Commissioners asked questions about the progress of the Sixth Street Project. They also discussed the City’s House Demolition Assistance Program.

The commissioners’ next meeting will be held at p.m. Monday, July 8, at Sabetha City Hall.

Heather Stewart197 Posts

Heather Stewart is a reporter for The Sabetha Herald, where she has been on staff since 2015. She specializes in court and sports reporting, as well as photography. Heather is a 2011 Kansas State University graduate with a degree in psychology. She lives in Sabetha with her husband.

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