Pittsburg City Commissioner releases statement regarding road dispute in Frontenac

City Press Releases

July 10, 2019

PITTSBURG, KS – Pittsburg City Commission President of the Board Dawn McNay shared a prepared statement during the City Commission meeting held Tuesday night addressing the dispute with the City Frontenac regarding a section of road straddling the Frontenac and Pittsburg boundary.

On Monday, July 1, Frontenac City Council approved legal action against the City of Pittsburg over the construction of an 85-foot concrete approach connecting Wild Red Road to Atkinson Avenue. Approximately 55 feet of the approach resides within the Frontenac city limits. Frontenac officials approved litigation despite Pittsburg’s offer to resolve the issue with a formal agreement.

In a statement to fellow commissioners, McNay described how she became aware of the issue and how the City of Pittsburg attempted to address Frontenac’s concerns:

“I was first made aware of the improved [right of away] at my bi-weekly meeting with Daron.  He shared that the Pittsburg Highland developer and street contractor had received letters from Frontenac City Clerk demanding money and that the road be removed.

“He also shared that he had brief conversation with Frontenac City Administrator, Brad Reams and Brad mentioned that our communities could just draft a MOA [Memorandum of Agreement] to address the maintenance of the right of way.

“I was already planning to invite Frontenac Mayor Linda Grilz to meet just to touch base on shared interests and offered to visit with her regarding Wild Berry road. Linda and I met for coffee on May 28.  We agreed that we could facilitate a meeting between city staff to discuss the right of way. It was surprising that at that meeting she was unaware that the previous Friday, the Frontenac City Clerk had sent an open record request to our City Clerk.

“With Frontenac homecoming taking place during this time, it took several weeks to get the meeting scheduled. During that time, Henry Menghini received two additional letters from Tim Fielder, their city attorney. I did reach out to Linda and Henry responded to Mr. Fielder that we would not be responding to the attorney’s demands until after our meeting.  I am still unclear if the [Frontenac] Mayor or City Manager authorized or was even aware of the continued letters sent by their attorney.”

McNay went on to describe a meeting between Pittsburg and Frontenac city officials held on Tuesday, June 18, which addressed Frontenac’s concerns over the improvements made. Pittsburg officials in attendance included Commissioner McNay, City Manager Daron Hall, City Attorney Henry Menghini, Public Works Director Cameron Alden, and Public Utilities Director Matt Bacon. In attendance for the City of Frontenac were Mayor Linda Grilz, City Administrator Brad Reams, City Attorney Tim Fielder, Police Chief John Zafuta, Public Works Superintendent Brian Cussimanio and City Clerk, Teri Kutz.

“We had a healthy discussion – it was about half through that I realized that Linda’s remarks were based on misinformation.  She believed that we had created a road instead of paving an existing approach in the right of way.

“The discussion around this revelation included confirmation by Frontenac public works superintendent Brian Cussimanio that there was an existing access from Atkinson to what is old Atkinson Road and Frontenac staff sometimes have to still use it to access water lines. It was at that moment that Mayor Grilz directed the discussion towards determining what a long-term maintenance agreement would look like between our communities. She did preface this by saying that she knew Mr. Fielder would not agree with this direction, which Mr. Fielder confirmed. 

“The agreed upon actions from that meeting were that Henry would outline the components of an agreement addressing the issues brought up in the meeting, which Daron would forward to Brad for consideration by their City Commission on July 1.  Pittsburg complied and prepared the relevant points by the deadline so that Frontenac could share the details of the proposed agreement with their City Council. In the proposed agreement, Pittsburg would hold Frontenac harmless from any claims, purchase an insurance rider naming Frontenac as an additional insured, assume all maintenance responsibilities, and not encroach on Frontenac.

“I am somewhat perplexed that the reports of the Frontenac City Commission meeting do not seem to reflect any input from the City Mayor or City Administrator as to our meeting discussion and agreed action plan. Their City Attorney was given great latitude to provide his interpretation of the meeting, questionable legal advice and a false narrative as to the reasons for improving the right of way.”

A complete transcript of Commissioner McNay’s statement can be read here: https://www.pittks.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Commissioner-McNay-letter-7.9.19.pdf. The City of Pittsburg has not yet received a formal demand letter from the City of Frontenac, and a lawsuit has not been filed.

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