Riley County Law Board members being sworn in by Riley County Clerk Rich Vargo

Riley County Law Board Secretary Barry Wilkerson and new Chair Craig Beardsley

RCPD Legal Adviser Mike Gillespie addressing Law Board–photos by Cathy Dawes

It’s unusual for a non-elected person to be selected to serve as the Riley County Law Board Chair, and perhaps a first that both the chair and vice-chair are non-elected, but that’s just what happened at Tuesday’s meeting. Craig Beardsley, who has served on the board for two  years, is the new chair and new board member Be Etta Stoney will be the new vice chair once she’s sworn in later.
While that was the decision of the majority of the board, board member Usha Reddi, who also serves as Manhattan Mayor, voted against the move, and voiced some of her concerns,  indicating she thought one of the top roles should be an elected official. Reddi later indicated she thought Beardsley would be fine as Chair, but that at least one of the top positions should be taken by an elected official who works directly with governmental budgets impacted by law board decisions.
Board member Barry Wilkerson, who made the nominations for Beardsley and Stoney, explained some of his reasoning, telling the group he’s very supportive of the at-large positions on the board and aware of complaints before that people in such positions weren’t given an opportunity. Wilkerson added “This seemed like a good time to go to the at-large positions that would benefit both the city, the county, the public, and the police department.”

New Board member Mike Dodson nominated Reddi for the Chair position but the nomination did not receive a second. Discussion focused on how much power the Chair has, and while Riley County Police Director Brad Schoen indicated involvement is driven by the individual chair, that he mainly seeks assistance from RCPD legal adviser Mike Gillespie as needed between law board meetings.

Reddi added previously there had seemed to be a process and the outgoing chair had some say–and she didn’t understand where the change had come from.

There was also some discussion of Stoney’s status as she was unable to be at the meeting since it had been rescheduled from its usual Monday time. Riley County Police Legal Adviser Mike Gillespie told the group while it was a little out of the norm and not typical, that Stoney could be sworn in at any time.
 Board members sworn in at Tuesday’s meeting were Marvin Rodriguez, Barry Wilkerson, Craig Beardsley, Usha Reddi, Mike Dodson, and Ben Wilson. Wilkerson was selected to serve as secretary late in the meeting, a  position he has held for many years.
Following about an hour of discussion on the reorganization, board members voted to keep the meeting time at noon on Mondays except for holidays and approved a police radio maintenance agreement with Ka-Comm., Incorporated, for $35,736.

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Source: KMAN Local News