Thursday, June 20, 2013

"SHAME ON YOU": Meeting over, no commissioner selected


KANSAS CITY, KAN. --- After hours of interviews and three separate votes, the Unified Government Board of Commissioners still do not have someone in the At-Large District 1 seat.

Three votes ended in a 5-5 tie, with Unified Government Mayor/CEO Mark Holland casting both a tie-breaking and tie-creating vote each time, choosing former UG Commissioner Nathan Barnes over Don Budd, Jr. after commissioners voted 5-4 in favor of Budd, Jr.

After one effort by Holland to adjourn the meeting earlier failed, commissioners finally agreed to do so at around 9:20 p.m.

Commissioner Mike Kane, who earlier accused Holland of leading a witch hunt against Don Budd and Nathan Barnes, voiced his disappointment once again.

"We were given a task to pick a winner," Kane said. "To walk away from that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. We owe you people a vote tonight."

Commissioner Ann Murguia announced her support for Don Budd, Jr., earlier in the evening. Commissioners Brian McKiernan and Jane Philbrook said they voted for Barnes. Other commissioners did not disclose their votes.

"I thoughtfully considered who I believed in my heart was the best choice," McKiernan said.

Holland had said he hoped to reach a consensus, meaning one candidate would receive eight or nine votes. After three separate ballots, no candidate received the magic sixth vote required to officially become commissioner.

UG Commissioner Hal Walker, the leading advocate in a strict background check of each of the candidates before the tax issue came up, suggested a number of alternative paths.

First was leaving the seat open for 18 months or dipping back into the original pool of 18 candidates. However, fellow commissioners seemed disinterested in either option.

In their candidate interviews, Barnes and Budd Jr., spoke about The Star article.

Barnes acknowledged the back-taxes, but said he paid them this week and is now caught up on them. He said the problem occurred after a business partnership went wrong. Budd Jr., meanwhile, labeled the article as inaccurate.

After the third vote, the board finally agreed to adjourn the meeting, which led one audience member to shout "Shame on you" as commissioners walked off.