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AG Derek Schmidt reaches settlement with City of Independence over KORA violation

Release Date: Mar 08, 2017

TOPEKA – (March 8, 2017) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday executed a settlement with the City of Independence to resolve a violation of the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA).

In May 2016, the attorney general’s office received a complaint alleging that the City of Independence violated the KORA by refusing to disclose a copy of a blank evaluative tool used by the city commission to evaluate the city manager. Upon investigation, the attorney general’s office determined that the City of Independence violated the KORA by not disclosing this document. The investigation also revealed that the blank evaluative tool, which the city alleged was “specifically created solely to assist in the evaluation” of the city manager, was in fact a City Manager Performance Evaluation form publicly available on the internet and thus not subject to discretionary closure under the law.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the City of Independence signed a Consent Order admitting that it violated the KORA when it failed to provide a copy of the publicly available form to the complainant in response to the her KORA request. The City of Independence has agreed to provide a copy of the blank evaluative tool to the complainant in an expeditious manner, obtain training, and pay a civil penalty of $250.

A copy of the Consent Order, which was signed yesterday by the attorney general, is available at http://ag.ks.gov/open-govt/enforcement-actions. Information about requirements of the KOMA and the KORA can be found at http://ag.ks.gov/open-govt.

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