Wyandotte County’s Unified Board of Commissioners said in a new legal filing that it has the discretion to fill an empty seat on the panel and should not be subject to court action.
The board made the claim in a response to a resident’s lawsuit seeking to force the appointment of a new commissioner for the at-large District 1 seat. The post came open when Mark Holland was elected mayor last year.
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Commissioners twice tried to fill the post, but they deadlocked 5-5 at a meeting last June and again in July.
In pleadings filed Thursday, the board contended that filling the position is a political decision for which the courts lack jurisdiction.
The seat is not up for election until next April.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Carolyn A. Wyatt, who said she has suffered a lack of representation because the at-large District 1 commissioner’s position remains open.
Her petition cited the Unified Government’s charter requiring the commission to fill a vacancy and stated that its members “have failed, refused and neglected to carry out their clear and unambiguous official duties.”
The board argued in its response that Wyatt doesn’t have legal standing to bring the claim and fails to state a claim for which relief can be granted.