- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - A Lawrence attorney says the Kansas Board of Regents likely violated state open-meetings laws by employing the former University of Kansas chancellor as a special adviser without taking a public vote.

Attorney Max Kautsch said regents could’ve violated state law when they gathered in a closed-door session to approve Bernadette Gray-Little’s salary as special adviser, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

“It seems pretty clear to me that it is a violation,” Kautsch said.

Kautsch’s criticism stems from a recently released letter written in 2016 by the board’s president offering Gray-Little a more than $510,000 salary with the position “as an expression of our gratitude.”

Board spokesman Matt Keith provided the newspaper with a 28-page FAQ document authored by the Kansas attorney general’s office and said the regents have “the authority to discuss personnel matters in executive session.”



“Accordingly, the board’s practice has generally been to conduct any discussions dealing with personnel matters in executive session,” Keith told the newspaper.

He said the act doesn’t prohibit the board from reaching a consensus in executive session as long as it doesn’t “take binding action in executive session.”

But Kautsch argues that the board’s offer letter fits the description of “binding action,” which he said can only be made in public session.

“We already know it is unseemly because it took this long for it to become public,” Kautsch said. “It seems like it is a violation of the open meetings act and a violation of the public’s trust.”

Gray-Little announced stepped down as chancellor last summer. She has declined to comment on her advising role, referring questions to the board.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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