October 20, 2020

Beware…Do You Have Zombies In Your Midst?

With Halloween right around the corner, the KLC Municipal Law Department thought this might be a good time to remind our cities about a spooky problem that may be lurking deep in the shadows for our cities - Zombie Commissions and Boards.

From time to time we receive inquiries from our cities about the local ethics commission, tourism commission, or - in keeping with the Halloween theme - cemetery boards, that for any variety of reasons have become undermanned or fully dormant due to the required seats of the applicable board not being filled.

The failure to have an operating board or commission could put the fear into even the most fearsome goblin. Imagine having an ethics complaint filed only to have to disclose to your local media that the ethics commission created to hear the complaint has ghosted from existence due to no one currently being an active appointment. Or a local motel has a great idea about how all the transient room tax that they collect could be spent and being told that there is no one on the tourism commission.

This is no time to hide under the desk in fear of what might be lurking in the shadows. Open your ordinance code and look at the boards the city currently has in existence. If there are several vacancies that have been unfilled since the Nixon Administration, contact your city attorney and ask them to see what the statutory process is to get the board fully staffed and how quickly this can be done.

In the alternative, if a city has a board that was locally created which was needed for a time but is now outdated - like a Buggy Whip Approval Board - consider repealing those ordinances and seeing if the actions of that board are best served by an actual city employee or official.

The KLC Municipal Law Department is well-trained as to all aspects of zombie-hunting. We can help. After a review of your city boards and commissions, give us a call. We are happy to assist your city attorney or any other local official to check for any potential zombies hiding not under your bed - but in your municipal code. We can be reached at 800.876.4552.