Tardy Shawnee mayor illegally parks in handicapped spot - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Tardy Shawnee mayor illegally parks in handicapped spot

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SHAWNEE, KS (KCTV) -

Shawnee Mayor Jeff Meyers was running late for a City Council meeting this week and he slid into the first available parking spot.

Except it was a handicapped parking spot and a former councilman took pictures of Meyers' illegally parked truck.

Former councilman Kevin Straub said Meyers has parked there before.

"I think he considers that his spot," said Straub, who shared his cellphone pictures with reporters.

Now with egg on his face, Meyers announced Thursday afternoon that he would donate $135 - the cost of a handicapped parking violation - to the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund.

In a statement, Meyers claimed that he knew "a full house was waiting on him because the parking lot was completely filled."

"The disabled spots were the only ones available and I made the decision that I would park there and accept whatever consequences occurred in order to get the meeting started. In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best decision. It won't happen again," Meyers said in his statement posted on the city's website.

Hogwash, according to Straub.

He said he entered the U-shaped parking lot just ahead of Meyers. Straub said Meyers failed to circle around the entire parking lot so it's impossible for him to know that all the parking spots were taken.

"If you don't go all the way around, you don't know if it's full or not," he said. "But he was running late and grabbed the first spot that was available."

The mayor also has access to any number of doors at City Hall and could have parked in the back of the building where ample spaces were available, Straub said.

After taking the pictures of the illegally parked truck, Straub said he asked the Shawnee police chief about it that night. He said the chief and his wife were astounded.

"He should know better," Straub quoted the police chief's wife as saying.

The chief didn't do anything that night, but Wednesday morning issued a written warning to Meyers.

When Meyers left the meeting a couple of hours later, Straub said he asked the mayor about him illegally parking. He said Meyers flippantly blew it off as necessary because he was running late and they couldn't start the meeting without him.

The mayor is only chagrined now and trying to make amends because of the adverse publicity, Straub said.

"I don't think he would have made (the donation) if he had not been caught. This is a way of getting out of trouble, a political move so he doesn't look bad," Straub said. "I don't think he will do it again (park illegally because of the publicity)."

Straub said City Hall insiders have told him that Meyers actually forgot that the meeting had been moved to Tuesday night because of the Veterans Day holiday. Straub said someone called Meyer to ask where he was and the mayor had to dash to City Hall.

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