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Legislation #: 070188 Introduction Date: 2/8/2007
Type: Ordinance Effective Date: none
Sponsor: COUNCILMEMBER XBARNES
Title: Amending Chapter 2, Article X, and Code of Ordinances by repealing Section 2-1551 entitled “Same -- Background checks / investigations of persons nominated” and enacting in lieu thereof a new section of like number and subject matter that provides for background checks/investigations of persons nominated to serve as a judge of the Kansas City Municipal Division.

Legislation History
DateMinutesDescription
2/9/2007 Filed by the Clerk's office
2/8/2007 Referred to Finance and Audit Committee
2/14/2007 Advance and Do Pass as a Committee Substitute, Debate
2/15/2007 Passed as Substituted

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COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR ORDINANCE NO. 070188

 

Amending Chapter 2, Article X, and Code of Ordinances by repealing Section 2-1551 entitled Same -- Background checks / investigations of persons nominated and enacting in lieu thereof a new section of like number and subject matter that provides for background checks/investigations of persons nominated to serve as a judge of the Kansas City Municipal Division.

 

WHEREAS, the Council recognizes the importance to its citizens of selecting persons to serve as judges of the Kansas City Municipal Division who are the best qualified among those nominated by the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission to serve in that capacity; and

 

WHEREAS, the Council recognizes the importance to its citizens of selecting persons to serve as judges of the Kansas City Municipal Division who will personally observe the high standards of conduct expected of judges, who will respect and comply with the law and who will act at all times in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the Kansas City Municipal Division; and

 

WHEREAS, the Council recognizes that it is important for it to consider information of a persons past experiences, accomplishments, actions, omissions and decisions, in addition to that supplied by the nominee, in deciding who among those nominated are the best qualified to serve and who are the most likely to observe the high standards of conduct expected of a judge; and

 

WHEREAS, the Council deems having such information from an independent source to be so important to its decision of selecting a person to serve as a judge of the Kansas City Municipal Division that a nominees agreement to a background check / investigation as described below needs to be an additional qualification to serve as a judge of the Kansas City Municipal Division; and

WHEREAS, Section 306(f) of the City Charter provides that in addition to those qualifications required by the Charter, persons nominated to serve as municipal court judges may be required to also possess any additional qualifications prescribed by law; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to that authority it is the desire of the Council to establish an additional qualification for office; NOW, THEREFORE

 

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF KANSAS CITY:

 

Section 1. That Chapter 2 Article X of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Kansas City, Missouri is hereby amended by repealing Section 2-1551 entitled Same Background checks / investigations of persons nominated and by enacting in lieu thereof a new section of like number and subject matter, to read as follows:


Sec. 2-1551. Same Background checks / investigations of persons nominated

 

(a) Background check / investigation required. No person shall be nominated to serve as a judge of the Kansas City Municipal Division unless that person has agreed to and been the subject of a background check / investigation provided to the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission.

 

(b) Performance of the background check / investigation. The City Manager shall assist the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission with completion of the required background checks / investigations by identifying funding for the background checks / investigations, and identifying providers of such services. The Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission shall direct the vendor provide such services.

 

(c)                Nature of background check / investigation. The report of the background check / investigation will be limited to the information described below from the sources indicated below:

 

(1) suspensions or revocations of driving licenses or privileges or points or other strikes assessed against driving privileges as indicated in state drivers license or motor vehicle records;

 

(2) credit records indicating nonpayment of debts, including judgments therefor;

 

(3) tax records indicating nonpayment of taxes, including penalties and judgments therefor;

 

(4) education records indicating enrollment, graduation from and degrees and honors received from accredited colleges and law schools and completion of, and grades received for, classes or courses started or taken;

 

(5) dissolutions of marriages, applications for, or disputes over, child custody, nonpayment of child support, nonpayment of alimony or maintenance to a spouse or former spouse, failure to comply with court-ordered conveyances of real or personal property, bank accounts or money to a spouse or former spouse, allegations of physical, mental or verbal abuse and allegations of alcohol, drug or other substance abuse or mental illness obtained from court records;

 

(6) suspensions, restrictions or limitations imposed on gambling as identified in the records of the gaming commissions or other regulatory bodies of Missouri, Iowa and Kansas;

 

(7) being arrested, taken into custody, indicted, convicted, tried for or charged with a felony, misdemeanor, infraction of ordinance violation, including matters dismissed or nolle prossed by a prosecutor, suspended impositions of sentence; convictions, orders to pay restitution and pardons, including those or any other complaints erased by law, whether formal or informal or pending or closed;

 

(8) standing of licensure as an attorney and any complaints, revocations, suspensions, reprimands or citations for breach of ethics or professional conduct by or from a court, judicial commission or bar association or committee thereof; and

 

(9) whether a party to any civil or criminal legal proceeding and the nature of proceeding as indicated in either open or closed court records.

 

The report of the background check / investigation will not include the nominees social security number, date of birth or current residential address.

 

(d) Dissemination of reports of background checks / investigations, completed questionnaires, tax clearance letters and letters of reference. The reports of the results of any background check / investigation shall be provided to each member of the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission. For each nominee subsequently submitted to the Council, the Chair of the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission shall deliver, or cause to be delivered, directly to the Mayor and each member of the Council a written communication that a background check / investigation was completed and that the results of the background check / investigation either contained no information of concern to the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission or did contain information that the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission believed it needed to bring to the attention of the Council, a copy of the completed questionnaires submitted to the Commission by the nominated persons, tax clearance letters and letters of references, with the nominees social security number, date of birth and current residential address redacted. The City Manager shall not be provided copies of any such documents and shall have no responsibility for disseminating or retaining copies of any such documents. No member of the Commission or member of the Council shall disseminate copies of these documents to any other person. However, nothing in this subsection shall prevent, restrict or prohibit the Mayor or a Councilmember from questioning a nominee about information contained in these documents.

 

(e) Retention of reports of background checks / investigations. Upon either the Councils appointment of one of the persons nominated or its choice to not fill a vacancy, each member of the Council, including the Mayor, shall return his/her copies of the written communication concerning the results of the background check / investigation, the completed questionnaire, tax clearance letter and letters of reference directly to the Chair of the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission. Thereafter, the Chair shall retain the original, or a true and accurate copy, of each completed questionnaire, tax clearance letter, letter of reference and report of each background check / investigation for a period of five (5) years and maintain each as a closed record to the extent allowed by the Missouri Sunshine Law, Sections 610.010, et seq., Missouri Supreme Court Rules, or unless otherwise ordered by a court.

 

(f) Violation; penalty therefore. Any person that violates the provisions of subsections (d) and (e) above concerning the limitations on the dissemination of completed questionnaires or reports of background checks / investigations or the retention of such reports shall be deemed guilty of a violation of this ordinance. Conviction of such a violation shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00 or by imprisonment of not more than 20 days or both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 2. Section 2-1551 shall apply to any panel submitted to the Mayor and Council after the effective date of this ordinance. Background checks/investigations shall also be performed for any panel of nominees pending on the effective date of this ordinance before selection by the Mayor and Council. A release for such background check/investigation shall be signed and submitted by each nominee.

 

________________________________________

 

Approved as to form and legality:

 

_________________________________

Galen P. Beaufort

City Attorney