Following a discussion that lasted about two hours, and included a couple of executive sessions and comments from over a half-dozen citizens, Salina City Commissioners Monday evening voted to publicly reprimand Commissioner Jon Blanchard.
The issue surfaced a week ago, when Salina Mayor Kaye Crawford said that she was troubled that Blanchard released a document which contained confidential information discussed during an executive session. The information in question is in regard to discussions in 2014 between the City and the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce which ended with a significant reduction in chamber funding and the formation of a new city-funded economic development organization.
Primarily at issue is a redacted document which was initially released by the City. Blanchard, though, later personally released the unedited version of the document.
Blanchard explained his action.
Commissioner Dr. Trent Davis said that he understood why Blanchard released the information. But at issue wasn’t the reason for the release but that rather the way it was released.
Commissioner Melissa Hodges said that too much city business is done in secret.
During the discussion, eight different citizens spoke on the issue. Nearly all of them had concerns about too much secrecy surrounding government business in Salina.
Prior to the vote on potential discipline for Blanchard, Commissioner Hodges made a motion to release all of the documents related to the issue involving the chamber of commerce, without redactions. That motion was defeated on a 3-2 vote, with Hodges and Blanchard casting the two votes to release the documents.
The motion to publicly reprimand Blanchard passed 3-2, with Hodges and Blanchard casting the two votes not to discipline.
The public reprimand is simply a recognition that the ethics policy was violated, and a reminder that it is unacceptable behavior.
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