Commissioners Squeak-By With Attorney General
The City and County Commissioners were been cleared to take complete
control of the Riley County Law Enforcement
Agency by Attorney General Carla Stovall. They have had control for years but for the past two years many felt the
commissioners have stretched the law. At the start of the RCLEA only one city commissioner and one county commissioner
were appointed to the board. Other members were appointed from city and county residents.
As it stands now the city has appointed themselves to four of the positions
and the county has appointed themselves to two.
Riley County Attorney Bill Kennedy is the only member outside of the two commissions.
Laws have been on the books since 1868 preventing commissioners from
serving on other boards. In 1998 a new RCLEA
law passed the State Legislature over-riding the 1868 law.
Here is Attorney General Opinion 2000-6
Dear Mr. Kennedy:
You request our opinion concerning appointments by the Manhattan City
Commission and the Riley County Commission to
the Riley County Law Enforcement Agency (RCLEA). K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427(a) provides for representation on the
RCLEA as follows.
"(2) The Riley County Law Enforcement Agency shall have seven members who shall be selected in the following manner:
"(A) One member shall be a member of the board of County Commissioners
of the county, selected by such board of
"(B) one member shall be a resident of the county, to be selected by the board of county commissioners;
"(C) one member shall be a member of the governing body of the city of Manhattan, to be selected by such governing body;
"(D) two members shall be residents of the city of Manhattan, to be selected by the governing body of such city;
"(E) one member shall be the county attorney of such county; and
"(F) one member appointed, on alternating terms, by the governing body
of the city of Manhattan and the board of county
commissioners of Riley county which member shall be a member of the governing body of the appointing authority."
You ask whether the City and County Commissioners may appoint members
of their respective commissions as members of
the RCLEA pursuant to K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427(a)(2) and (D).
" When a statute is plain and unambiguous, the court must give effect
to the intention of the legislature as expressed, rather
than determine what the law should or should not be." Additionally, the court will not speculate as to the legislative intent
behind a statute that is plain and unambiguous, and will not read such a statute to add something not readily found in the
statute. (George v. Capital South Mortgage Investment, Inc.) The sole requirements for appointees to the RCLEA pursuant
to subsections (B) and (D) of K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 4427 (a) (2) are plainly stated as "a resident of the county" and "residents
of the city of Manhattan." Thus, residency in Riley County is the only requirement of subsection (B and residency in the City
of Manhattan is the only requirement of subsection (D). There is no prohibition in K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427 against the
commissions appointing their own members for the positions designated by those subsections, and we may not read such a
prohibition into the statute when the statute is plain and unambiguous.
Although nothing in K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427 (a)(2) prohibits members
of the Manhattan City Commission and the Riley
County Commission from being appointed to fill the positions designated by subsections (B) and (D) of that statute, we must
determine whether there are other statutes that prohibit county and city commissioners from filling those positions. K.S.A.
1998 Supp. 19-205 provides in part that "no person holding any state, county, township or city office shall be eligible to the
office of county commissioner in any county in this state." Assuming the positions on the RCLEA constitute a county or city
office, (See Attorney General Opinion No. 99-11) there is a conflict between K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-205 and K.S.A. 1998
Supp. 19-4427 (a) (A) and (F) which require appointment of county commissioners to the RCLEA.
When there is a conflict between a statute dealing generally with a
subject and another statute that deals specifically with the
subject, the specific statute controls. Moreover, a more recent and specific statute will prevail when in conflict with an older,
more general statute. K.S.A. 19-4427(a)(2), which specifically addresses membership on the RCLEA, was enacted in 1997,
while K.S.A. 19-205, a general statute governing county commissioners in all counties, has been in existence since 1868.
Therefore, it is our opinion that the provisions of K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427 (a)(2) control over the prohibition against
county commissioners holding other offices state in K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-205.. A similar prohibition against commissioners
of cities of the first class holding other offices was repealed in 1998. We could find no other statute that would prohibit a city
or county commissioner from being appointed to the RCLEA.
In conclusion, the Manhattan City Commission and the Riley County Commission
may appoint members of their respective
commissions as members of the Riley County Law Enforcement Agency pursuant to K.S.A. 1998 Supp. 19-4427 (a)(2)(B)
and (D), as long as those members meet the residency requirement of the statute.
Very truly yours,
Carla J. Stovall
Attorney General of Kansas