A Franklin County commissioner is in a fight for his position.
A petition to force a recall election of Steve Harris had enough verified signatures.
The election will be in the November general election, county clerk Janet Paddock said.
Steve Cox, a member of the concerned residents of the Fourth District which Harris represents, said there were 531 verified signatures. They only needed 460 or 40 percent of the number of persons who voted in the last preceding general election for the office of the targeted official.
Harris, a Republican whose term ends in January 2019, was unavailable for comment.
“We were informed late [Tuesday] that the verification has been complete,” Cox said. “We passed with flying colors. We are pleased with the outcome.”
The residents are concerned because Harris has not regularly attended morning county commission meetings since April when he accepted a human resources position at the Department of Veterans Affairs in Topeka.
“It is not really what we want to do,” Cox said. “We don’t have anything personally against commissioner Harris. If he can’t represent us in the degree he was elected to do, then we feel we still have no recourse but to move forward.”
Cox read a statement Wednesday from the Fourth District residents:
“He has failed to perform his duties prescribed by law consequently failing to represent his electors during commission meetings and failing to deliberate and vote with the other commissioners on matters considered during the meetings he missed. For example, between April 13 and July 30, 2016, he missed all the commission meetings, including 14 regular meetings, nine study sessions and was not present to approve 41 consent items or vote on 52 items of business, while still accepting $11,000 in salary and benefits combined.
“The concerned citizens of the Fourth District have taken the only recourse that was available to them. The state of Kansas made a provision to remove elected officials under certain conditions. These are the conditions listed in the petition and they have met the legal requirement for such action by the county attorney.
“This was not the first choice of the people who met to discuss these actions with commissioner Harris. When asked by numerous people to resign his position, he refused. Commissioner Harris was told his refusal to resign would leave the citizens of the Fourth District no other alternative but to begin the recall process. That is what the group decided to do and this is just the next step in the process to bring the issue to a vote of the people of the Fourth District. These decisions and actions by the people of the Fourth District are not based on emotions, but on the actions of commissioner Harris.”