“This was not done for any benefit or gain. It was a humanitarian act.”
That is how Prairie Village City Councilor David Morrison describes the incident which has led to ethics charges being lodged against him before the city council. Next Monday, Nov. 19, the council is scheduled to hold a hearing that will determine any actions against Morrison as a result of the charges.
Morrison apparently allowed a homeless man who is also a known drug abuser with a criminal record to stay overnight in city hall. The ethics complaint, filed by city attorney Catherine Logan, is available here.
“There are a lot of things I would like to address, but I have a letter going to the (city administrator), mayor and council” this week, Morrison told PVPost.com. Morrison said he does not plan to resign, but he will waive his right to a hearing. He will be available to answer questions from the council, but won’t be calling witnesses, he said, and does not want to take up the city’s time with a hearing.
“I have cooperated fully with the city of Prairie Village during the investigation and will continue to do so until this matter is fully investigated and concluded,” Morrison said.
City Attorney Logan said if the letter telling Morrison’s side of the story arrives, she will explain to the council that it does not need to hold an evidentiary hearing. However, since the council hasn’t had a chance to ask questions of either the staff or Morrison, this would be an opportunity for questions and answers, she said.
After questions, the council will deliberate its recommended action and then make that recommendation to the mayor. The choices for the council are 1) take no action, 2) censure Morrison or 3) recommend ouster from the council in a letter to the district attorney. The process for removal from the council is governed by state law.
The pertinent statute (60-1205) reads: “Grounds for forfeiture of public office. Every person holding any office of trust or profit, under and by virtue of any of the laws of the state of Kansas, either state, district, county, township or city office, except those subject to removal from office only by impeachment, who shall (1) willfully engage in misconduct while in office, (2) willfully neglect to perform any duty enjoined upon such person by law, (3) demonstrate mental impairment such that the person lacks the capacity to manage the office held, or (4) who shall commit any act constituting a violation of any penal statute involving moral turpitude, shall forfeit such person’s office and shall be ousted from such office in the manner hereinafter provided.”