Feb 22, 2023

Hays USD 489 board member alleges misconduct, board attorney says no

Posted Feb 22, 2023 11:15 AM
Board members Allen Park, Meagan Zampieri-Lillpopp and board president Craig Pallister at Monday night's Hays USD 489 school board meeting. Courtesy photo.
Board members Allen Park, Meagan Zampieri-Lillpopp and board president Craig Pallister at Monday night's Hays USD 489 school board meeting. Courtesy photo.

Hays Post

A board member at Monday night's Hays USD 489 school board meeting alleged the school district was not keeping proper minutes of the board's meetings.

Board member Allen Park alleged the board clerk was not including all the information that is required in the board minutes. 

He argued his comments about why he voted no on an agenda item should be included in the minutes.

"The law says to keep an accurate journal of what the meeting is like," Park said.

The district began using a program called BoardDocs when Superintendent Ron Wilson was hired to lead the district in 2019. The program allows the public to access meeting agendas, minutes and documents related to board meetings online.

Park said more information was contained in the minutes prior to BoardDocs being used. This predates any of the current board members' election to the board.

"When a patron looks at our minutes, it's just the agenda with what the results are," Park said.

Board member Tammy Wellbrock said in her prior work she was advised not to explain in minutes the reasons behind yes or no votes.

Wellbrock asked the district's general counsel Bill Jeter to comment on Park's concerns.

"You are stating that it's illegal and I want legal interpretation," Wellbrock said to Park.

Board president Craig Pallister said to Park, "You said we were breaking the law."

Jeter said he had researched the issue. He said when he first looked at the law he thought it should be interpreted the same way that Park was interpreting it.

 However, after further research, he found that was not correct.

"There is no Kansas law that tells the board of education what you need to have in your minutes," Jeter said.

The Kansas Attorney General has issued an opinion that says that all the law means is that the clerk has to maintain a journal in the district office with a copy of all the board minutes.

"It is not a directive in what needs to be contained within the individual minutes," Jeter said.

In Robert's Rules of Order and recommendations to other government bodies, there is a minimum list of things that need to be in the minutes, Jeter said.

That includes
• Date and time of the meeting
• Is there a quorum and which board members are present
• Approval of all prior minutes that have not been approved
• Synopsis of each motion and if that motion passed or failed
• Time the meeting is adjourned

The Kansas Attorney General also said boards have the right to direct their clerks what they want in their minutes.

However, the Hays school board already has a policy on what should be contained in minutes, Jeter said.

That policy says minutes should contain a summary of all motions, including those that do not pass and shall not contain summaries of comments by a board member, guest or staff either written or oral unless the board chooses to make written remarks a part of the minutes.

Jeter said that would mean the board as a whole would have to vote to have any remarks added to the minutes.

"There was not a law broken because there is none," Pallister said. "I resent the question that we broke a law when there was not a statute."

Jeter said he has recommended to other organizations that the bare minimum is what the minutes should be.

"The only things that really are important are what is the outcome of the vote and what's the motion," Jeter said. ... "It's not important for history how anybody voted, just whether it passed or not."

During his tenure on the board, Park has made repeated allegations that the board has been in violation of various policies. However, no wrongdoing has ever been found.