Riley County commissioners furthered their discussions on possible changes to the Law Board appointment process during their meeting Monday.
Before discussions began, the commission heard from Dr. Lorenza Lockett during public comment, as he represented the Coalition for Equal Justice. Lockett was there to follow up on three asks for the county and city commissions during previous meetings.
“We believe the city and the county to work together and we request a joint meeting. We at the CEJ would like to be a part of that process,” says Lockett.
Lockett says the current process with any changes is being rushed as the county has 18 more months until they make another appointment.
Lockett was also joined by CEJ Co-Chair Megan Hartford, who requested any decisions made to changes in the appointment process be tabled for now. They would like an opportunity to present a more detailed account of their asks at the next City/County/County meeting.
“We feel that the Law Board application process and the move to make the process more transparent are of the upmost importance and thus deserve ample time and attention to get it right,” says Hartford.
Commission Chair John Ford addressed that one of the asks, which is all applications be made public, is already available to the public on the county website.
The commission then looked over each of the questions they submitted. Questions ranged from experience with similar entities, to personal life. Ford liked the idea of this new questionnaire saying it would be functional for a public interview process. However, he wants to make sure the questions do not go too in depth as to not deter people from applying, but also detailed enough to give them guidance.
Another potential change the commission discussed was allowing the public to ask questions in a public interview, which County Clerk Rich Vargo highly discouraged. He feels this may deter some applicants as the county does not receive many applicants for their boards.
“The law gives you the sole desecration and authority to make those decisions. Everyone has the opportunity to contact the commissioners through the website and email for any comments regarding any candidate,” says Vargo.
The six questions the commission agreed upon will be officially approved at a later meeting.