Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd was appointed Thursday as the special prosecutor to consider an assault allegation against Kansas City Councilman Michael Brooks.
Jackson County Presiding Judge Marco Roldan appointed Zahnd after Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said her office had a conflict of interest — an assistant county prosecutor is planning to run for Brooks’ 5th District council seat in 2015.
Brooks is accused of choking his legislative aide in his council office. He has vehemently denied the allegation. The Kansas City police have turned over their investigative file for review. Zahnd will decide whether charges should be filed.
A spokeswoman for Zahnd said his office had not yet received the file and there is no timeline for a decision.
While denying the allegations, Brooks submitted his resignation from the City Council, effective Jan. 2. On Thursday, the council decided on a process to choose his replacement.
It calls for Mayor Sly James to appoint a group of three to five 5th District residents who are currently serving on municipal boards or commissions and active in the district. That citizens group will review all applications and submit a panel of three qualified prospects for the City Council to interview. The council will appoint someone to represent the 5th District until a new council takes office Aug. 1.
Council members have said they do not want to pick anyone who is planning to run for the 5th District seat in 2015 and this would strictly be an interim appointment.
The deadline to submit an application to the city clerk is 5 p.m. Jan. 9. The schedule calls for the citizens group to interview the applicants Jan. 14-16 and for the council to interview the finalists and make a decision Jan. 22. The appointee would take office the week of Jan. 26.