KCUR News
9:17 am
Mon March 1, 2010

Gardner Recall Election: Politics And Business

Kansas City , Mo. – Voters in Gardner, Kansas will go to the polls tomorrow to decide weather to recall 2 of their 5 city council members.

The Gardner Recall Committee, a grass-roots citizen's group, claims council members John Shepherd and Mary Peters, and a third member, Dan Thompson, violated the Kansas Open Meetings Law with their plan to strip the Mayor Dan Drovetta of his power on the 5 member council. In one of the first meetings after their election last spring, supporters of the recall say the new council members attempted to shut down the meeting, calling for a change in the city charter.

Dan Thompson was left off the recall ballot because the law allows only 2 names on a recall ballot at one time.

The backdrop for the recall vote is the 735 million dollar Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Allen Group intermodal project.

Shepherd, Peters, and Thompson oppose the project. They believe the tax incentives expose the city to too much financial risk.
Mayor Drovetta was among those who worked to attract the project. But he says the recall is about citizens wanting transparency in government, not the transportation hub: "They got together in secret, devised a change in the structure of government and did this completely outside the public view."

Councilman Shepherd said in an interview Sunday he had mixed feelings going into the election. If he's recalled, he said he'll move on feeling proud of his 15 plus years on the Gardner council.