Sedgwick County commissioner resigns after DA investigation

Sedgwick County commissioner Michael O’Donnell has submitted his resignation, effective immediately.

O’Donnell has been under fire for his involvement in a false attack ad during the Wichita mayoral campaign last year, and there have been calls for him to step down.

Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett issued a statement late Friday saying that after an investigation, his office found that ouster proceedings are appropriate against O’Donnell.  Bennett said attorneys for O’Donnell were notified of the findings, and they reported that O’Donnell would submit his resignation by 5 p.m. Friday.

Bennett said he has received confirmation that O’Donnell has tendered his resignation, which will end the need for official ouster proceedings.

O’Donnell was on the November 3rd general election ballot, and he was trailing Democratic challenger Sarah Lopez by a narrow margin.   Provisional ballots are now being counted by the election office and the final numbers are expected to be certified Monday at noon.    If O’Donnell does not win the election, a replacement will be elected by the Republican precinct committee to be appointed by the Governor to serve until January 10th, when the new commissioner would be sworn in.    If O’Donnell wins the election, the precinct committee would elect a new person to fill the vacancy, and that person would be appointed by the Governor.

Bennett says there will be more information regarding two other elected officials who have also been under investigation for the false ad.  There have been calls for Wichita city council member James Clendenin and Kansas House member Michael Capps to resign over their involvement in the ad.

O’Donnell issued a statement late Friday:

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in the greatest community and work for the wonderful people of Sedgwick County these last four years. I am proud and humbled by how much we have accomplished, even in unprecedented times, for this region, county, and my district. Thank you to my parents and family, friends, colleagues, and supporters for your love, guidance, and support. I look forward to this next journey in my life.”