Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Kansas: As district attorney, Phill Kline says he's above the law -- or at least the rules

[updated 7:30 a.m. 1/17/07]

By Diane Silver

The dispute between new Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline and the eight employees he fired on his first day on the job is going to court.

The KC Star reports that the seven prosecutors and chief investigator filed by Kline filed suit against the new DA today in Johnson County District Court.

What's really curious about this situation is that Kline claims that he is above the rules of the county, which declare that employees can only be fired for cause. Unlike his predecesser, Paul Morrison, Kline believes he can ignore rules and guidelines. All of which leads me to wonder if one of the county's chief law enforcement officers also believes he is above the law.

The Star explains:
In a letter to (county) commissioners Friday, Kline said state statute designates him as an executive officer of the 10th judicial district. Under the statute, the letter states, his office is considered “a separate entity within said district for administrative purposes.” In addition, the letter said, a district attorney is not bound by a county’s personnel policies or rules.
As always with this darling of the religious right, the story never seems to end. Stay tuned.


This news doesn't deserve an entire post to itself because it's a kinda yes-kinda no, ah, kinda thing. A Johnson County district judge has ordered Kline to participate in the county's normal grievance procedure and to actually go to grievance hearings with his fired employees. (That's the good new.) However, that order is on hold until a hearing can be held by another judge on Tuesday. (Not so good.)

Once again, stay tuned for further developments.

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