Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau accused commissioner Michael O'Donnell of lying to the public while discussing whether to restore a job for a community health surveyor. Sedgwick County/YouTube
Sedgwick County Commissioner Richard Ranzau accused commissioner Michael O'Donnell of lying to the public while discussing whether to restore a job for a community health surveyor. Sedgwick County/YouTube

Kirk Seminoff's Pivot Point

Community engagement editor Kirk Seminoff blogs about news and issues in Wichita and Kansas.

Pivot Point

Grab your pot holders, the Sedgwick County Commission is boiling over

By Kirk Seminoff

kseminoff@wichitaeagle.com

November 30, 2017 01:05 PM

UPDATED November 30, 2017 04:17 PM

Would Sedgwick County Commission chairman Dave Unruh look best in a baseball umpire’s outfit or in NFL referee garb?

Maybe a crisp blue dress shirt and black bow tie worn by professional boxing referees.

Whatever the clothing, Unruh probably felt like he needed it as the man in the middle of a remarkable rant Wednesday by commissioner Richard Ranzau about fellow commissioner Michael O’Donnell.

Upset that O’Donnell changed his vote and tipped the majority toward reinstating a community health surveyor job in the county budget, Ranzau intensely questioned O’Donnell’s sincerity.

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Ranzau said O’Donnell makes decisions based on political motivation and used 23 words to call him a liar, without using the word itself.

O’Donnell didn’t respond with political jabs of his own, though he later told The Eagle’s Dion Lefler that Ranzau is mentally unstable.

Unruh did his diplomatic best at cutting off the swipes and returning the meeting to more normal decorum. Ranzau had little of it, continuing to go at O’Donnell.

“I was not very good at it today,” Unruh said of controlling the outbreaks.

Unruh shouldn’t have to play arbiter. Ranzau and O’Donnell should be able to work out differences before they get to the commission chambers, though it’s not the first time Ranzau has gone beyond the norm in criticizing O’Donnell during a meeting. O’Donnell’s behavior outside commission chambers has kept him in headlines, too.

A little soul-searching, guys, is needed.

If not, here’s hoping Unruh can channel legendary boxing ref Mills Lane by next week’s meeting. Then all commissioners would need is a tuxedoed Michael Buffer screaming, “Let’s get ready to rumble!”

'To lie to the public the way he does is inappropriate,' says county commissioner

County Commissioner Richard Ranzau accuses fellow commissioner Michael O'Donnell of lying to the public.

Sedgwick County/YouTube

Kirk Seminoff: 316-268-6278, @kseminoff