The two city commissioners who plan to attend Monday’s regular meeting will hear from at least three people who want to take “baby steps” toward the ultimate goal of establishing an animal rescue and adoption center.
Commissioners Tom Shaw and Kevin Cruse will not attend the meeting. Shaw already had planned to be gone to help family members as one recovers from surgery. Cruse said on Thursday he wouldn’t be able to attend because of the death of his mother-in-law. The vacant position of Commissioner Peter Cook has yet to be filled, so that leaves only Mayor Bill Hogelin and Commissioner Jeff Perez to attend Monday’s meeting.
The commission needs at least three members to make a quorum, so the commissioners on Monday will be unable to act on any of the agenda items that were established before the announcement of Cruse’s absence. The commissioners still plan to hear comments from the public and staff and could discuss other issues.
The commission hasn’t failed to make a quorum in at least 20 years.
Four people have requested to be scheduled for the commission’s first public comment session at the beginning of the meeting. Those wanting to be included in the first session must sign up prior to noon Friday before a meeting. A second comment session near the end of the meeting is open to all.
Of the four signed up for the first comment session, three represent the local Basic Animal Rights Council.
One council member, Chris Clisham, said on Friday the trio are planning a three-pronged approach for Monday.
Stacy Peoples will talk to the commission and city staff about a proposal for how stray animals should be handled now and in the future, with the long-term goal being a new animal shelter. Dr. Eva Dudek, owner of Parsons Pet Hospital, will address the need for such a shelter and other issues. Lastly, Clisham will give statistics about stray animals, such as Dudek’s clinic took in 50 dogs just in May. Parsons Pet Hospital has a contract with the city to take in stray dogs and cats. The city doesn’t have a dog pound.
Clisham also plans to speak about the incidents of pet abuse and neglect she has been called about.
Clisham said the rescue and adoption center is still far in the future.
“We’re trying to take baby steps,” Clisham said. “We just want to open the door.”
Paul Marks also is on the agenda to talk about animals, although he is not a BARC member.
On Thursday, City Manager Debbie Lamb said none of the agenda items were time sensitive, so they will be added to the next meeting’s agenda. Most involved payments.
One agenda item for Monday is the discussion and possible action on filling the vacancy created when Cook resigned. Action isn’t possible now, and Perez and Hogelin likely won’t discuss Cook’s replacement much without the other two commissioners.
On Thursday, Ross Albertini, city attorney, reported that he heard back from a Kansas League of Municipalities attorney on a question concerning the appointment. One of the commissioners had asked if it was possible for David Larsen to be appointed to the vacant position while he also serves on the Parsons Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals. Albertini said the state statute doesn’t address that situation.
The league attorney said an attorney general opinion stated a person serving on both boards would be a conflict of interest. Larsen could be appointed to the city commission, but he would have to resign from the planning board first. His seat could remain vacant until the commission appointed Larsen back to the planning commission after the city commission term expires in January.