Mound City Council votes to increase its own pay
Shelby Murray, Mound City Clerk, administers the oath of office to new City Attorney Burton Harding at the city's council meeting on March 7. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)
MOUND CITY – At the end of the Mound City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 7, council members went into a 10-minute closed door session to discuss non-elected personnel.
However, within a couple of minutes, Burton Harding, who was officially sworn in as the new city attorney toward the end of the meeting, opened the door to the council’s chamber and announced that they had stopped the session because the subject of the meeting was not allowed under the Kansas Open Meeting Act (KOMA) regulations.
As city employees and members of the press came back into the room, council members were guarded, and the discussion of the matter at hand was brief. Harding announced that the council terminated the executive session early because their intent was to discuss a pay raise for themselves.
All discussion of elected officials must be in open session according to KOMA guidelines.
The issue came up at the council’s February meeting, and Harding suggested then that the issue be tabled until research could be done on how to handle it.
At the March 7 meeting, longtime Councilwoman Fanchion Shadden said that she did not want to be paid for her work on the council because it would conflict with her financial situation.
However, she made the motion and the council voted unanimously in favor of giving themselves a $20 per meeting raise to $50 per meeting.
The council also voted to change the mayor’s salary from $40 per meeting to $150 a month to include the regular monthly meeting plus $50 for each additional meeting. The rationale behind the mayor’s increase was the extra work the mayor does during each month.
The council then voted to apply Shadden’s monthly earnings to reduce dumping fee charges for the septic-tank cleaning business she operates.
The council approved paying Harding $250 per month to attend meetings and for prosecuting cases in municipal court. He also indicated that he would bill $175 per hour for addition consulting on codes and other issues.
The council also voted to hire John Purvis, a rural Mound City attorney, to be the municipal judge. Purvis is the husband of 6th District Court Linn County Judge Andrea Purvis, and he has considerable experience both as an attorney and as a municipal judge.
He will replace Osawatomie attorney Richard Fisher Jr., who was recently appointed to the bench in the 6th Judicial District. Fisher was paid $185 plus mileage for each municipal court session, however, the council voted to increase to $250 the amount the city will pay Purvis.
The council also discussed city-sponsored events for the year, including the Easter egg hunt, the fishing derby, the Jayhawk Blast around July Fourth, and the Christmas tree lighting.
Council consultant Josh Baldwin asked the council to set budget amounts for all of the events, and while each event was discussed, only the fishing derby had a budget set and approved by the council. The council approved an $800 budget and discussed whether to give fishing poles as prizes or gift cards to Big Ideas Gun & Pawn where they could buy fishing tackle.
Councilman Cody Beckman said he preferred the gift card idea. “It’s better getting a card than a chintzy pole that will break.”
With boxes of candy ready to be put into the plastic eggs sitting around the council chamber for the city’s Easter egg hunt, the council discussed the event.
City Clerk Shelby Murray said that in 2022 the city spent about $1,200 on the event.
“After last year’s success, I think we’ll have even more kids,” said Mayor Wade Doering.
The discussion included having one of the two Easter bunnies showing up unexpectedly for the event last year. City Clerk Shelby Murray said she had been told that a second person in a bunny costume would show up again this year in addition to policeman Chip Moore, who will pose dressed in a bunny costume for pictures in a booth.
Murray said the second bunny was a hold over from when another organization sponsored the event. She said she was not sure which organization that was.
‘We were trying to figure out the bunny situation,” said Baldwin.
The council also discussed having a car show, food trucks, inflatables, and someone to serve alcoholic beverages at the Jayhawk Blast. It was proposed to purchase about $10,000 worth of fireworks for the event.
In other business, the council:
• Approved spending $2,950 for cleaning the city’s water storage tank. The state mandates that water tanks be cleaned and serviced every five years, Murray said.
• Approved an update to the city’s traffic and uniform public offense codes.
• Approved paying up to $425 to send Moore to a class.
• Approved spending $3,000 on an engineering study of sidewalks around the city in preparation for a applying for a grant to replace several blocks’ worth.