Burlingame council accepts resignation; city clerk says she didn’t resign

Monday night, the Burlingame City Council accepted the resignation of City Clerk Patti Gilbert, but Gilbert said Tuesday morning that she had not submitted a resignation and has had no official communication with city officials since April 24 when she was suspended with pay for two weeks.

During an April 24 special meeting, the council met in 10 executive sessions for more than an hour and 30 minutes before voting to suspend Gilbert, giving no reason.

Gilbert said Tuesday that she did not know the council was discussing her position during the April 24 executive sessions and did not know why she was suspended.

The last day of her suspension would have been May 8, but in the motion to accept Gilbert’s resignation Monday night, the council set that day as her last day of employment. That motion was offered by Burlingame City Council Member Carolyn Lee and seconded by Burlingame City Council Member Vikki DeMars after a five-minute executive session held to discuss non-elected personnel.

Burlingame Mayor Mike Dorr said after Monday’s meeting that he could not discuss the reason for Gilbert’s suspension or why the council accepted her resignation, which he said was submitted by Gilbert on April 24.

Dorr confirmed the city had recently undergone a state audit in connection with the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, but would not say if the audit pertained to Gilbert or her duties as city clerk. He did say Gilbert’s resignation resolved any issues with her employment and he expected no further action by the city on the personnel matter.

Gilbert has been a city employee for eight years. She has served as city clerk for about four years.

Contacted Tuesday morning by Osage County News, Gilbert said she had not submitted a resignation to any city officials.

“I didn’t actually hand in a resignation,” Gilbert said. “I had one typed out, because I’d been thinking about it for awhile. They suspended me before I had made the decision to hand it to anybody.”

She said the resignation was among papers on her desk in her office, which she had not visited since she was suspended April 24.

“They came out of executive session and said I was suspended with pay for two weeks, and I just handed over my keys and left,” Gilbert said.

She said she learned of the council’s action Monday night when a spectator at the meeting called her inquiring if she had submitted a resignation. She said as of Tuesday morning, she had not received any information from the city about her employment, and the last official notice she received was the notification she had been suspended, with that suspension set to end May 8.

Gilbert said she had no knowledge of a state audit. She said she was unsure of what action, if any, she would take regarding her employment, but she had sent an email to a city council member Tuesday stating she had not submitted a resignation.

Following council members’ action on Gilbert’s employment Monday night, they met in two more executive sessions with utility clerk Janene Fry present. Afterward, the council approved Burlingame City Council Member Carolyn Lee’s motion to appoint Fry as an interim city clerk until the city clerk position was filled. The council set Fry’s interim wages at $14 per hour. Fry has been employed in the city office for almost three years.

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