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AUDIO: County Wants Health Department

Todd Pittenger - July 30, 2013 1:56 pm

A split Saline County Commission wants the Salina-Saline County Health Department to become a county agency.

In executive session County Commissioners conferred with County Counselor Mike Montoya early Tuesday afternoon. Afterwards, they again discussed the issue, and a possible counter-proposal to the city.

Commissioners accepted several things that the city offered including the city paying $500,000 to fix the roof of the current building. They also agreed to allow $500,000 of health department reserve funds to be used to remodel the building.

In the counter-proposal the health department will become a county department, with the city helping to fund it. Employees would fall under the county umbrella. Commissioners envision it working much like the agreement that funds Emergency Medical Services in Salina. EMS is jointly funded, but is solely a city department.

County Commissioners Randy Duncan and Jim Gile voted in favor of the counter-proposal. Commissioner John Price voted against it.

City Commissioner Jon Blanchard was at the meeting, and had words with Duncan afterwards. Blanchard was perplexed about the insistence that the health department become a county agency. He challenged Duncan to explain how the county can better operate the agency than it could be jointly run. Duncan said that he believes the county does business better than the city.

Blanchard then sat and spoke at length with Commissioner Jim Gile. He told Gile that he is disappointed in him as well, saying that he had a chance to make a difference.

The events Tuesday come after an emotional special Salina City Commission meeting Monday evening where the city had drafted a new proposal to send to the county. Highlights of the proposal include:

1. $500,000 city funding for the building

2. $500,000 in health department reserve funds to be used for renovation only

3. The concept of an interlocal agreement be agreed upon and details then worked out

The proposal was contingent upon the health department staying intact.

Prior to the Tuesday afternoon meeting, county commissioners began the morning discussed the issue at an early study session, and later heard multiple people speak about it at their formal meeting. At each meeting numerous people urged the county to accept Monday evening’s proposal from the city, and to enter into a new joint agreement.

If the health department does become a county department as proposed, employee insurance for the agency staff will greatly increase. The agency currently is under the city plan. The cost of health insurance for the county plan would cost over $139,000 more a year for the employer. It would also cost employees more than double what they currently pay, or a little over $3,400 more a year.

There are also concerns about program cuts. In other counties in the state, where joint city-county health departments have split, over time programs have been lost.

Dan Kvacik

July 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm

what changes will be proposed?

Simon Jianas

July 30, 2013 at 3:05 pm

I think it is time for to admitted the city has tried. Pull you head out county. Duncan in particular and accept the cities gracious offer


July 30, 2013 at 3:24 pm


bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 6:24 pm

The current county commissioners have to be sent from some alien lands that have long term goals of slowly dismantling all intelligent life forms on earth, beginning with Salina, KS. OMG, I am sick of hearing how Duncan is rude to everyone, thinks he is god, and thinks he knows more than the health dept staff, local doctors, and the medical community because they are all telling him his idea is not good for the welfare of the community. Yet he is bent on cutting services, staff, and says it is because he is a good steward. Blah, Duncan is scary and needs to stick to selling neon pens and other useless gadgets. Price, he has his own issues but has the most common sense of the three, and Gile has no clue why he is there and just votes with Duncan whenever he gets nudged to wake up.

do gooder

July 30, 2013 at 6:48 pm

Duncan you have to think about your city and the staff at the health dept. You should and need to listen to the staff of the health dept. The city is trying to work with you, it makes no sense why you will not continue letting the health dept operated the way it has for the last 3 decades plus. It has worked thus far. Leave your personal agenda out of it and stop playing with peoples lives. The decision should never be up to 3 men that is crazy. Duncan you should be ashamed of yourself…

bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Everyone should listen to Jon Blanchard destroy Dandy Duncan. Listen to that audio bit. Duncan has zero logical explination of why he wants this to be county run only. Blanchard simply says he wants the health dept to be jointly run because that is what all the professionals are telling him would be best. Blanchard asks Duncan what he is basing his decision on to ignore those recommendation, and Duncan says he doesn’t want to represent anything with the city of Salina or Brookville. Cocky, ignorant, and not very smart.

do gooder

July 30, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Aaron and the other city officials please keep trying to work with the county, Duncan is crazy but try please

bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 7:07 pm

GILE, you are the county and cities only hope at doing something smart. Don’t side with the only guy that wants to destroy this joint department. Unreal. Jim you try hard, please Jim. Please Jim. Be reasonable.

bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I just listened to these audio bits, I have so much respect for Blanchard now. He cares. He truly cares and does not care about his own little agendas unlike Duncan. Blanchard thanks for trying so hard. I know its like rationalizing with a tree.

do gooder

July 30, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Come on Gile use your own mind and make your own decision please Mr. Gile Please show Duncan you can think for yourself

Aaron Householter

July 30, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Everybody, i think we are getting really close on this. I can tell you that every commissioner, city and county are interested in getting this resolved. Like the public we represent, we are a diverse group. We get pulled in different ways by different issues.
Its far to simple to say, “gee, why cant they just get it together”. There are many ideas on how to “do it right” at work here.
Ive never felt that going back into that old building was a good use of taxpayers money and i think, very short sighted. Again, thats my thought.
I want the health board to be more autonomous with less commissioner interference.
These are only some of my basic thoughts. You have to remember, there are 7 other people who have their own diverse take on this.
Dont forget we are taxpayers too and when your taxes go up, our taxes go up. We are concerned about the dollars.
Try to remember in your comments (as I should too) that these commissioners are real people and are trying the best they can. I may think they are idiots at times and i have no doubt they’ve felt the same about my ideas as none of us has hesitated to let the others know.
I think we will get there. Today’s discussion, i felt, were very positive. Yes there are still some things to iron out and none of the commissioners may be 100% happy about the final outcome, but we are all respresentatives of the different groups who put us in office and the final decision will probably represent that melting pot of ideas.
As usual i always welcome calls or emails of ideas or thoughts that you feel will help our community.

Tyler Rathbun

July 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm

This is a very prime example of why there should only be ONE government… This back and forth is very irresponsible as public leaders. Too put millions of dollars in the hands of only two county commissioners is really unfortunate for Salina and Saline County…

bob jacobs

July 30, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Aaron it is nice to see the city working so hard at this. I know there are plenty of haters out there that hate you, and others, and yet you come on here and willing to help and give your view. And you sort of defending Duncan as being a real person tells me who you really are. Thank you for that. But Duncan seriously has a god complex, and his lack of common sense is clearly displayed on those audio bites. Give one good reason Duncan of why you want this to be County run only. UHHHH, Uhhhh, I am going to lunch. Wow, great response. He doesn’t care if everybody that actually works there and has to do with the health of the community disagrees with his belief. He only cares about getting even with the city. So I am sorry about disrespecting him, he proves he does not deserve my respect. If he had a reason for it, that is one thing. But he is only doing this because of his anger toward the city on other issues. There are ZERO pros to being a county run dept solely, and SOOOOOOOOO many cons. And Duncan says he likes the cons better, even though everyone is telling him that is not the direction they need, want, or can go.

Scott Boyce

July 30, 2013 at 11:51 pm

So 6,000 people trumps 47,000 people? Consolidate the governments. Consolidation now consolidation tomorrow consolidation forever.

Iggy p Daily

July 31, 2013 at 1:55 am

Really the idiots on the city commission with the head dummy Aaron started all this when they tried to bully the county commissioners. That back fired now they are kissing county butt trying to get something back their big mouths tossed away. Hold your ground county commissioners. Blanchard back off you have done nothing for the people of the city to this point. You have ignored the citizens request to get the Greely Street bridge repairrd or to put up traffic signals in area’s that are dangerous and need them. Tend to city matters and quit being a bully.

Iggy p Daily

July 31, 2013 at 1:59 am

Scott you should of paid attention in your government class. The county would be totally in charge if they consolidated.

Fuchs Mi

July 31, 2013 at 8:24 am

Aaron Householter you and the other city commissioners started all this when you breached your agreement with the county. The city was responsible for the up keep and all repairs of the building. When this occurred you all tried to bully the county commissioners into doing what you wanted and that did not work. So you and your fellow commissioners then said we will walk away. You did not expect the county commissioners to say goodbye. You and your fellow commissioners then found yourselves in a pickle and you have been trying to get out of that situation first. This is but one thing you all have done. There has been much comment on your closing the Greely st bridge down and not fixing it. The people of Salina want that street opened again as a means of getting to the BiCenter and fair grounds. You city commissioners after closing the street down then refused to putting a traffic signal at Midway and Ohio evidently waiting for someone to be killed at that intersection.

Fuchs Mi

July 31, 2013 at 8:30 am

The city commissioners can run your mouths off about everything but do nothing but spend monies on things that most of the people in the city do not want or need. There are probably a half dozen other places that need traffic signals that are dangerous areas but it is being ignorned. The city commission took no action or even had a discussion about the police department and crime wave in Salina. That should have been a big concern but not for you elected commissioners. The list goes on and on. Time to start doing the things the taxpayers want for our city not your own personal agenda’s. Quit back stabbing the county commissioners and get that building repaired and operating again if the county will even consider working with you again after your previous actions.

Anita Mann

July 31, 2013 at 8:40 am

Aaron you have lost all respect from many of us because of your actions, attitude and personality. You are a bully and it will not be forgotten. Any thoughts of re-election will be met with strong opposition for anyone other than you.

Aaron A. Aurora

July 31, 2013 at 9:02 am

I agree with others on here about Aaron H. Evidently he has one supporter in little Bob Jacobs. The county commissioners are doing a bang up job on this issue. The health department people are running scared because they have had it so good and have had alot of people getting paid and doing very little. Those people are afraid if the county takes it over many of them will lose their jobs. Its time to cut the fat and do away with many of the services of the heath department. I further agree the city commissioners out spoken Aaron H. has done nothing to get this resolved but now comes on here like a little boy who got his hand caught in a cookie jar. It has been all said by others about how all this got started by the CITY COMMISSIONERS and now a few on here want to redirect the issues kind of like our president does. Sorry but that will not work here. If consolidation were to take place the County would be the main player.

bob jacobs

July 31, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Easy for a Salina resident to say this. Their taxes will not skyrocket. And their mad at Salina commissioners because of their own little agenda, so like the county commissioners did, you hold every future situation as a “get back at em” type situation. No worries about the merits of the situation at hand. You just look at what last made you mad and try to stick it to them. That shows your integrity, common sense, and your intelligence level, just like your county boys. This makes no sense, and if you think it does, then move aside and leave the logical thinking to the rest of us. Trim the fat? Cut services? I have never used their services and probably don’t need to, and I am conservative, but for you to say cut it all and the hell with the vast numbers of citizens that rely on that, is pretty accurate and your level of intelligence. You have no idea that even doctors and people making 200,000, 300, 000 a year use some of these services because they make the county a healthier county in general. You have no idea, except to say cut it all. That makes you irrelevant in rational thought.

do gooder

July 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Duncan just leave things alone, please try to reconsider and do what is best for saline and salina and just leave it the way it is.

bob jacobs

July 31, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Gile – referring to health department staff wages “I’d like their wages, I’d go for it.” Then Gile admits most people would not want to do what the health dept does. And then says he didn’t want to chase those turds around all his life either, but he did. UHHHHHHH
And Gile said, “I take this personal too, like Duncan does.”
Well the citizens would like you to not take things personal. THIS IS NOT ABOUT RANDY DUNCAN OR JIM GILE. WHAT DONT YOU GET GILE.

bob jacobs

July 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm

And the County is taking it over now. Gile went with the dark side. Because he does whatever Duncan wants. So now in a year, services will be cut, staff reduced, taxes raised, and SIDS, STDs, disease, sanitary services, infant mortality rates, etc etc, will go downhill because of Gile and Duncan’s ego. But they don’t care. They think they are god and the people getting the services are expendable. They think they know better than every doctor, every health staff, every clinic operator, every person that has told them to their face that this is a bad idea. To those that say cut it all, not a bad idea in general to be fiscally responsible. But you are saying to cut stuff that will affect your county as a whole. You think there are problems now. Wait a year when all services and staff is cut, things will go downhill. And you will be the ones screaming about how bad off this county got. Good steward of taxpayer dollar. NO. This is simply Duncan and Gile getting back at the city, and using a perfectly well oiled machine (department) as their tool, in the meantime that machine will loose all of its oiled parts and will be a pile of nothing that the next set of commissioners will have to cleanup.

do gooder

July 31, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Duncan and Gile, leave your egos at the door and put your heads together and do what is right for the city and county…. Aaron H and J Blanchard are working with you just try to put your differences aside and work on what is best for everyone.

do gooder

July 31, 2013 at 6:58 pm

Bob I agree with you.

bob jacobs

July 31, 2013 at 9:07 pm

Iggy Pop, I of course don’t work there. Swing and a miss on your part. AGAIN. And, if I am so wrong, state some things I said wrong and give reason why. I will destroy your every point, or anyone else that says I am wrong. You are mad at the city commissioners just like Duncan and Gile, and that is your motivation. I don’t know or met anyone involved, but I am sick of their bs. Promise, I have not been to the meetings, but I will from now on. Will you Iggy? I bet not. My name is Robert Jacobs and I will be there. Will you? Step up or go play in the kiddie pool.


July 31, 2013 at 9:52 pm


I love it!!! Keep going guys!!! This is great!!!

Iggy p Daily

July 31, 2013 at 11:25 pm

I also read somewhere where you said people earning $200K and $300K use the health department. How about the names of those people. Also how would you have information on individual people that use the health department and what services they use. Think I hit a home run as you have some connection and if you are who you say you are I will know that after I investigate you.

Iggy p Daily

August 1, 2013 at 8:41 am

Just as I figured there is no Bob or Robert Jacobs in Salina or Saline County. Surprise surprise surprise.

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