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Legislation #: 070772 Introduction Date: 9/6/2007
Type: Ordinance Effective Date: 11/4/2007
Sponsor: COUNCILMEMBER FORD
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
7/11/2007 Filed by the Clerk's office
9/6/2007 Referred to Finance and Audit Committee
9/12/2007 Do Pass
9/13/2007 Assigned to Third Read Calendar
9/20/2007 Councilmember Riley Move to Amend
9/20/2007 Passed as Amended
9/27/2007 Councilmember Johnson Move To Re-refer
9/27/2007 Re-Referred Finance and Audit Committee
10/3/2007 Hold On Agenda (10/10/2007)
10/10/2007 Hold On Agenda (10/17/2007)
10/17/2007 Do Pass as a Third Committee Substitute
10/18/2007 Assigned Third Read Calendar as Substituted
10/25/2007 Passed As Third Substitute

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THIRD COMMITTEE SUBSTITUTE FOR ORDINANCE NO. 070772

 

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, if requested by the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission, 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. If requested by the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission, each applicant shall request, and pay for, a background check / investigation conducted by a provider of such services approved by the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission and cause the report of that background check / investigation to be provided directly to the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission and the applicant. At a minimum, the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission shall require a background check / investigation of all persons nominated by the Municipal Judicial Nominating Commission.

 

(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 city, county, state and/or federal taxes currently owed, including penalties and judgments therefor; including, but not limited to, earnings and profits tax and business license tax (the payment of which can be evidenced by a tax clearance letter issued by the Citys Revenue Division of the Finance Department), as well as City personal property tax and real property tax and tax liens on any property owned by the applicant;

 

(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; nor will it include copies of any federal, state or local tax returns.

 

(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 or an applicant from disseminating his or her own report or records. Reports shall be retained as required by State law.

 

(e) Violation; penalty therefor. Any person that violates the provisions of subsection (d) 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. This penalty shall not apply to an applicant who disseminates his or her own report or records.

 

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. 

 

________________________________________

 

Approved as to form and legality:

 

 

_________________________________

Galen P. Beaufort

City Attorney