Meyer brings term-limit discussion to City of Pratt meeting

Fran Brownell
Pratt Tribune
In a Pratt Tribune file photo from 2019, Doug Meyer is honored by City Manager Bruce Pinkall for his service to the city as Mayor. He stepped down from that seat last year and finished his second term as a city council member.

Outgoing Pratt City Commissioner Doug Meyer would like to the opportunity to continue serving his community as a city commissioner, but term-limits currently in place negate that possibility. He brought the issue to discussion at the December 7 Pratt City Commission meeting, and again to the Monday, December 21 meeting, after seeking commuinty input. 

The Monday meeting, planned to be Zoom available, was derailed by technical issues.

The term-limit regulation was put in place a decade ago as a result of a public vote held in a special election. Currently, city commissioners serve three-year terms and are eligible to run for a second three-year term, but not for a third term.

The term-length resolution was presented to commissioners at their December 7 meeting by Pratt City Attorney Regina Probst, who said that the restriction on the term-limit regulation which was put in place in 2010 by a special election expired April 2020, giving commissioners the leeway to rescind the city’s two-term-limit ordinance, if they desired.

After some discussion of pros and cons of the term-limit issue, commissioner Jason Leslie, who opted not to seek reelection last November, said he had received three letters after commissioners issued a call for public opinions, stating that all three letters were against removing the term limit ordinance.

Leslie said he had thought about it long and hard and could not bring himself to support removing something the public had voted in place 10 years ago.

“If it needs to be removed, I think the public should vote for that, not us, as commissioners,” Leslie said.

Meyer held the opposing view that term-limits were no longer needed.

“I think it’s served its purpose,” Meyer said. “If people don’t want to keep you in office, they won’t vote for you.”

No action was taken after the discussion.

Mayor Gary Schmidt  announced length of service awards for six city employees: Police Department Dispatcher Myonne Borst, 40 years; Gregory Holmes and Todd Hoffman, Volunteer Fire Department, 20 years; and Rodney Goemann, power plant operator, 15 years, and Police Officer Ken Wright and John Kissell, wastewater treatment plant, both 10 years.

Schmidt said honored employees would be presented their awards at a future date where COVID-19 is not a health concern.

City Manager Bruce Pinkall noted that Pratt City Hall offices have been closed to the public because of COVID-19 issues for the past three and a half week. The offices remain closed until further notice. Many city employees and staff members mourn the loss of City Finance Director Diana Garten, who passed away on December 22. She was 60. Her funeral service was Monday, December 28.

In other business at their December 21 meeting, commissioners:

*Gave a stamp-of-approval to the Pratt Disc Club Golf event at Lemon Park, Saturday, January 16, 2021, with proceeds to benefit Pratt’s non-profit Bread of Life Community Kitchen.

*Approved a bid of $11,425 by Stanion Wholesale Electric Company in Pratt for purchase of a 500 KVA transformer for the new Pratt County Emergency Building, as recommended by Pratt Electric Utility Director Jamie Huber.

*Approved 2021 Cereal Malt Beverage applications for El Trancazo at 723 North Main and Cigarette Outlet #195 at 702 East First Street, with City Clerk LuAnn Kramer noting that Kwik Shop at 116 Washington Street had not applied for a 2021 license renewal. Licenses for other current Cereal Malt Beverage outlets in Pratt were approved at the December 7 regular commission meeting.

*Reappointed Deb Goyen, Lisa Perez-Miller and Lisa Coss to three-year terms on the Pratt Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau Committee.

*Approved Resolution 122120 Exempting the City from the Requirements of K.S.A. 75-1120a, providing for Uniform System of Fiscal Procedures, Accounting and Reporting for Municipalities as presented by Probst, who said most cities in Kansa opt out.

*The January schedule for commission meetings has been revised from the regularly-scheduled meeting dates of the first and third Mondays of the month.  In January commissioners will meet on the second and third Mondays, which fall on January 11 and 18. Commissioners-Elect Jeanette Siemens and Kyle Farmer will be installed at the January 11 meeting.