Sedgwick County Counselor on paid, administrative leave

Local

Sedgwick County Commissioners held a special session on Wednesday to go over a personnel matter.

After going into executive session, three of the five commissioners voted to put Sedgwick County Counselor Eric Yost on paid administrative leave.

“I think it’s completely unnecessary, and I think it makes Mr. Yost look like he’s done something wrong and it’s a negative. It comes across as being negative towards him,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Howell. “I think he’s a good man. In my opinion and with my knowledge, I don’t know of anything that he’s done wrong.”

Howell and commissioner Richard Ranzau voted no on the paid administrative leave.

Commissioners Michael O’Donnell, Dave Unruh and David Dennis voted yes.

KSN asked the reasons why Yost has been placed on leave.

“I’m just trying to continue to make good decisions for Sedgwick County,” said Unruh. “Been trying to do that for 16 years.”

Unruh would not get into specifics as to why Yost is on leave, calling it a personnel matter.

Last week, commissioner Richard Ranzau said he believes Yost is out of favor with O’Donnell, Unruh and commission chair David Dennis because Yost advised the trio of commissioners to not fire the county manager.

County manager Michael Scholes had no comment today regarding the paid leave for counselor Yost.

Ranzau also said Scholes was a target for termination by three of the commissioners. Ranzau said Scholes had talked to the FBI originally about issues with Michael O’Donnell.

O’Donnell is now facing charges of fraud and money laundering from the FBI.

And with Yost now on paid administrative leave, KSN asked commission chair David Dennis for a comment. 

“I continue to be troubled by public, unproven allegations,” said Chairman Dennis. “And that’s why I believe it is important there be an external process to provide answers. I learned a long time ago just because someone makes a claim, (that) does not make it true.”

Chairman Dennis offered a statement and part of it talks about clarifications he wants to get out to the public. That includes talk of a recent FBI investigation mentioned by commissioners Howell and Ranzau.

“A first example of misinformation publicly stated, I will say again, that it is my clear understanding that I am not considered a suspect in a whistleblower investigation,” said Chairman Dennis.

A majority of the commissioners said a replacement could be considered for county counselor Yost.

Yost and his attorney have made it clear they have not ruled out a lawsuit.

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