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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County counselor resigns post saying he can't represent commission

Updated: Jul 2

By Charlene Sims, info@linncountyjournal.com


MOUND CITY  – A little more than two months after he accepted the post of Linn County Counselor, Overland Park attorney Mark Hagen has resigned that position. In a letter dated June 24, Hagen said that actions by the commission made it impossible for him to represent the county.


Commission Chair Danny McCullough read an excerpt from the resignation letter of County Counselor Mark Hagen on Monday, July 1. 


 “This will serve as my notice to the Linn County Board of County Commissioners that effective July 5, 2024, I resign as County Counselor for Linn County, Kansas unless sooner demanded by the commissioners,” was the portion that McCullough read.


However, the letter also said, “As I said in the executive session this morning (June 24), communications have broken down between attorney and clients to such an extent that effective representation is no longer feasible.”


Commissioners unanimously voted to accept Hagen’s resignation.


Hagen is expected to retain his post as attorney for the Mound City Council.


During his brief tenure that began April 22, Hagen assisted the commissioners in cancelling the county’s contract with the Southeast Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center, removing the county from the Oak Grove contract for solid waste dumping, finalized Zoom accessibility for commission and planning commission members, offered legal advice on many issues including concerns about broadband fiber-optic cable in the county ditches, local solid waste compactor sites and the contract with the Hell’s Bend Bridge project. 


Former county counselor Gary Thompson began many of those projects that were halted when Thompson resigned the post in March.


At the June 3 meeting, Hagen explained to commissioners McCullough and Jim Johnson why then-Chair Jason Hightower asked that department heads not attend meetings. He also gave direction to the commissioners on how to streamline their meetings. 


“There have been a series of misunderstandings between commissioners and staff, so that we took a temporary pause on having the various department heads come and report,” he said at the June 3 meeting. “Once those get resolved, I think it was the intention of the chairman at least and my recommendation is to certainly you can resume then but you need to take care of business first.”


However, the absence of department heads and an attempt by Hightower to implement stricter adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order likely led to Johnson and McCullough removing Hightower from the chair position.


Hagen’s advice at the June 3 meeting about streamlining their meetings was, ”It’s a way of speeding up the commission meeting, making them a little more productive, a little more focused on the items that need to be taken care of right now and not take off so many tangents. It may be a little disruptive initially but it lets the department heads focus on doing their jobs while this commission is meeting and doing its job to make decisions.”

                                                                  Hagen is the second county counselor that has walked out on the Linn County Commission in less than four months. Long-time county counselor Gary Thompson walked out on the commission on March 4 after repeated attacks on his performance, salary and hours by Johnson and Ali Hamilton, a solar farm opponent who is now running for the Commission District 2 post.


At the March 4 meeting, Johnson accused Thompson of padding his invoices with extra charges. However, Thompson said that a third page to his contract allowed those extra charges when he was needed at commission meetings beyond the scheduled time.


Previous commissioners Vicki Leonard and Mike Page both said that while it may not be on record, they both remember adding extra compensation for Thompson setting up and working on the codes court. However, commission records did not include a third page.




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