By Diane Silver
While I was busy with the dentist, freshly anointed Johnson County District Attorney Phill Kline was stirring up trouble in his new job.
Apparently, when Kline cleaned house this week and booted out a bunch of experienced prosecutors and investigative staff, he neglected to read the county employee's manual, or perhaps he read it and ignored it. Either way, when Kline fired eight staffers, he may well have violated county rules, which state that such staff can only be fired for cause.
Being told they only had hours to clean out their desks made these staff a tad testy, and they proceeded to file a grievance against Kline. The County Commission proceeded to then say that Kline had until noon today to say if he would participate in grievance hearings, which apparently is the normal procedure in the county. At noon, Kline's reply was: No.
What happens next appears uncertain. One newspaper report says that the whole case could go to the Kansas attorney general, who is of course, Paul Morrison, who whopped Kline in the November election. One report says that the next move is up to the angry ex-employees.
Here are the latest news reports.
Kline says no
Kline ignored county rules, and fired employees say that criminals will profit
A Kansas City Star columnist says there's too much hysteria over Kline's firings
Personally, I sort of, but don't quite agree with columnist Mike Hendricks. Yes, it is normal for a new administration to bring in its own people, but shouldn't a DA have some respect for rules?
Friends in Johnson County claim that some of those fired were in the middle of trials, or that at the very least, trials were suspended for a day because no one knew who was going to get fired. Does anyone know if any of that is true? If it is, that is also cause for concern.
And finally, Kline's huge DA salary is again under fire.