Frontenac mayor resigns after council fires three city employees
City Attorney, Administrator, and Clerk fired
FRONTENAC, Kan. — “We were very stunned. I mean, our attorney isn’t at a loss for words very often, and he was visibly shaken,” says Linda Grilz, the now-former Mayor for the city of Frontenac, Kansas.
Grilz says when she got to the city council meeting on Monday night, she didn’t know what she was walking into.
Shortly after the meeting started, councilwoman Pat Clinton made a motion to fire City Attorney Tim Fielder, City Administrator Brad Reams, and City Clerk Terri Kutz.
The motion was seconded by councilman John Macary and was approved in a six to two vote.
“I said I veto the vote, and then I said that if the council did not want the administrative team, then they didn’t want me either, and they could have my resignation,” says Grilz.
Grilz thinks part of the decision could have come from the cities ongoing lawsuit against the city of Pittsburg for encroachment on Wild Red Road.
But, she thinks it’s more likely that it stemmed, in part, from the termination of Jayme Mjelde, the district court clerk, who was fired for an H-R violation at the September 3rd meeting.
Mjelde was re-instated by the city council and moved to the position of Interim City Clerk during Monday night’s meeting after the three employees were fired and Grilz resigned.
“Our staff was enforcing the human resource rules that the council’s approved. There were things that we could not state in a public meeting because of the confidentiality of negotiations that were still in process. So, unfortunately, we couldn’t tell them [the public],” explains Grilz. “So, ya know, they [the council] don’t like what you’re doing, but then you’re supposed to read their minds on which time we follow the rules and don’t follow for this person. And I just do not go for that.”
Grilz also thinks city council members violated open meetings laws because there was no prior discussion during council meetings to fire the staff.
Grilz: “I have a feeling that there was some discussion about what was going to happen at the meeting last night ahead of time. And, well obviously that’s not allowed in Kansas government,” says Grilz. “It defies all odds of common sense and decorum of a meeting and how you conduct a meeting and the proper way of handling people in terms of a termination. They didn’t bring up a charge in executive session, they didn’t say anything like that. The way they cooked up this plan, and I think they circumvented what is the intent of Kansas law and open meetings. I can’t work with people like that. I’m sorry.”
Residents in Frontenac that we spoke to seem to have mixed feelings. Many people, like resident Samuel Mckelvui, were surprised to hear the news.
“I was really surprised, especially with Linda Grilz resigning like that. You know, the ripple effects from something like this could be big,” says Mckelvui.
But others, like Rick Norton on Facebook, says “Clean house and start over… make Frontenac great again.”
Grilz also says she’s not sure if she is or isn’t currently the mayor because the council never accepted her resignation during the meeting.
She is on the ballot for the mayoral position in the November 2019 election. But, she says she is trying to find a way to get her name off of the ballot.
We reached out to each of the city council members.
We were able to reach Mike Snow and John Macary, but they both declined to comment.
We have also reached out to the Kansas Attorney General’s office in regard to the alleged open meeting violations.
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