A Prairie Village councilman ousted a year ago after allowing a homeless man to spend several nights in Prairie Village City Hall criticized those who sought to have him removed and singled out Mayor Ron Shaffer on Monday night.
David Morrison returned to his Ward 5 council seat at Monday night’s council meeting after a Kansas Court of Appeals judge granted his request to be reseated immediately. Earlier this month an appeals court overturned the ouster decision made against him last year.
Morrison, quiet during most of the meeting, launched into his criticisms after requesting to speak near the end of the meeting. He described his ouster as “improper” and apologized for allowing his homeless friend, Kelley Malone, access to city hall.
“I made a huge mistake,” he said. “I’m very sorry for what I did, but it won’t affect my judgment moving forward. It was a one-time lapse in judgment.”
Morrison then contrasted his actions, which he described as “doing the right thing in the wrong way” with Shaffer, who Morrison said has been doing “the wrong things in the right way.”
He accused Shaffer of receiving inappropriate campaign contributions in his race for Johnson County commissioner, including contributions from representatives of LANE4 and the Tutera Group, which both have projects in Prairie Village.
“What we have is a cesspool of soft corruption,” he said. “I will do my best to the champion the people of Ward 5 and stand up to you.”
Shaffer said Morrison’s comments “weren’t worth responding to.”
Before the meeting Morrison said his ouster was politically motivated because he was the swing vote on the proposed $50 million Mission Chateau retirement center proposed by the Tutera Group, which he opposes. After his ouster, his replacement, Courtney McFadden, voted against the project Jan. 6. Shaffer broke a tie to allow the project to move forward.
Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, whose office filed the motion to remove Morrison from office, said his office would ask the Kansas Supreme Court to review the decision overturning the ouster.
The council began ouster proceedings against Morrison last year after learning Morrison had provided Malone with his security code access to restricted areas of city hall and the police department. Malone spent several nights unaccompanied at city hall. Council members said Morrison’s actions violated the city’s ethics rules.
Morrison’s return bumped McFadden from the council. She was appointed December 2013 to fill Morrison’s seat. On Monday night Shaffer presented McFadden with a proclamation and thanked her for her service.
“It’s really been a honor and privilege working with everyone,” said McFadden. “I look forward to working with you on future endeavors.”
McFadden said she has not decided whether she would file for the council seat when Morrison’s term is up in April 2016.
The city has installed a new locking system at city hall that allows police to better track who enters the building.