KMBC Channel 9 News

Clay County commissioners denied off-hour access to buildings during investigation

July 13, 2017 - 7:41 am

Clay County Commissioners' access badges have been deactivated during an investigation into activity within the local government. 

The decision to limit access to county facilities is not sitting well with some commissioners. The action was announced Monday by County Administrator Dean Brookshier.

I was informed that the commissioners would no longer be assigned office space," said Jerry Nolte, presiding commissioner. "It is the county's responsibility to provide office space and equipment to run an office.

"I have to have access to these things to do my job." 

Until further notice the three commissioners -- Nolte, Eastern Commissioner Luann Ridgeway and Western Commissioner Gene Owen -- will be allowed in county-maintained or -operated building only during regular business hours.

There were several disturbing reports of unacceptible behavior by one officeholder, according to a statement from Brookshier. The nature of the behavior was not specified. 

Owen and Ridgeway both released written statements supporting Brookshier's action.

There have been fireworks before in Clay County politics. 

In February, 2015 the FBI was investigating Clay County government actions, including the county’s contracting and personnel practices, according to a story in the Kansas City Star.

In November of 2016 Clay County commissioners exchanged heated words. KSHB Television reported Owen threatened Nolte for allegedly calling him a coward. 

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