Court of Appeals reverses, approves back pay for former Wabaunsee County appraiser

Reversing an earlier decision, Former Wabaunsee County Appraiser Robert Miller will receive back pay from the county after a Court of Appeals ruling in his favor late last week.


The Court of Appeals sided with Miller, saying the county should have waited on both terminating him and ending his salary and benefits until a property valuation director had a chance to review the case. Originally, the appellate court ruled the Wabaunsee County Commission was justified in terminating Miller after county commissioners mentioned serious concens about performance during his tenure, which began in 1999.


Miller was appointed to serve a four-year term from July 1, 2009, through June 30, 2013. However, commissioners had an executive session with Miller in March 2011 outlining concerns about Miller's performance, including high turnover, use of leave time, timeliness of work done, training, excessive personal phone calls, failing to clock in and out as directed and filling out incorrect time sheets. Court documents say Miller was told to resign or be fired. Miller's employment was terminated the following week.


An administrative law judge held a three-day hearing and ordered commissioners in November 2011 to reinstate Miller and award back pay because proper disciplinary procedure was not followed before Miller was fired.


Commissioners appealed, saying the judge should have used what's called a deferantial standard of review and the judge also did not have authority to consider the disciplinary policy because breach of contract was not claimed. District court voided the decision and sent it back to an administrative law judge, who ruled in favor of the county commission in October 2013.


Miller subsequently appealed, and the property valuation director did not order Miller removed until after his term expired.


Wabaunsee County now has to pay Miller's salary and benefits plus interest from when he was fired in March 2011 to when his term was supposed to expire in June 2013.


Ryan Michaelis now serves as the county appraiser.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 10:13