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The Lake News Online
  • Commission sends letter addressing Sunshine violation

  • An official response has been sent to the Missouri Attorney General's office by Camden County Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken addressing allegations of violations of the Sunshine Law.
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  • An official response has been sent to the Missouri Attorney General's office by Camden County Presiding Commissioner Kris Franken addressing allegations of violations of the Sunshine Law.
    The Camden County Commission was notified of the allegations in a letter dated May 2 from the attorney general's office. The letter was in response to a complaint filed with the state.
    The letter stated "the complainant has alleged that multiple decisions concerning the county have been made outside of a properly noticed public meeting, and as such no notice was provided to the public and there are no meeting minutes to provide a record of the decisions that were made."
    The complainant specifically cited the commission's decision to appoint Franken as the interim director of the Camden County Planning and Zoning Commission and the commission's decision to hire two attorneys. The complaint alleges there is no record of the decisions being discussed or voted on during commission meetings.
    In Franken's response, he said "neither of the incidents occurred."
    The commission has not violated the Sunshine Law, he said.
    The letter says Franken's appointment as interim director of the planning and zoning department following the resignation of Don Hathaway was not handled improperly.
    Franken said the decision was made during a closed session of the commission while discussing the job parameters of a replacement for Hathaway. No vote was taken therefore it would not be reflected in any meeting minutes.
    In his response, Franken clarified that he had previously stepped in to manage the planning and zoning department when Camden County was without a director.
    Because the department falls directly under the discretion of the commission, the management of the office is their responsibility.
    As the county's only at-large commissioner, Franken has the ability to deal with all cases that come through the planning and zoning department.
    Franken said the "supposed hiring" of the two attorneys was regarding revisions to the Camden County Unified Land Use Code at the request of then director Hathaway.
    Franken said the commission did not hire any attorneys. The attorneys consulted were those with longstanding working relationships with Camden County.
    Franken identified the attorneys consulted as Charles McElyea, county attorney, and Ryan Harding, who handles legal issues for planning and zoning.
    It will be up to the attorney general's office to determine if the commission acted within the guidelines of the law.
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