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Wyandotte County commission deadlocks 5-5 between finalists for vacant commission seat

Updated: 2013-06-21T04:03:47Z

By STEVE KRASKE

The Kansas City Star

In a meeting filled with catcalls, boos and charges of a “witch hunt,” Wyandotte County’s Unified Board of Commissioners on Thursday deadlocked 5-5 over a vacant commission seat.

After three split ballots and with at least one commissioner acknowledging that he was growing weary, the panel adjourned without deciding how, if or when it will fill the at-large 1st District seat. Mark Holland held the seat when he was elected mayor/CEO in April, creating the vacancy.

Commissioners split between developer Don Budd and former commissioner Nathan Barnes. The two emerged as finalists from an 18-candidate pool.

During the two-hour hearing, commissioners voted on paper ballots, and a clerk did not reveal how each panelist voted. But during statements between the ballots and in interviews afterward, Commissioners Jane Winkler Philbrook, Brian McKiernan, Gayle Townsend and Tarence Maddox indicated they backed Barnes.

On each ballot, Holland was asked to vote because neither candidate reached the six-vote threshold to win. Each time he backed Barnes.

Barnes and Budd answered questions and addressed commissioners about tax delinquencies reported Tuesday in The Star. Barnes said he erred by relying on a business partner who failed to pay. But, he said, he paid the $6,000 obligation in full this week for property at 1314 Quindaro Blvd.

Budd said he was a minority partner of the now-defunct BMPZ LLC and was not responsible for day-to-day management.

The next meeting is July 11.

To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to skraske@kcstar.com.

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