County Fires Department Head, Agrees to Airport Security

Saline County Commissioners had an active day Tuesday. Among other things, they fired a department head and signed an agreement top help with security at the airport.

At around 3:15 in the afternoon,the Saline County Commission returned from an executive session.  Road and Bridge Director Gary Nash’s probation period was scheduled to end next week.  In a 3-2 vote, the County has elected to terminate his employment.  Voting to let Nash go:  John Price (who made the motion), Jim Gile (who seconded the motion) and Dave Smith.  Voting “nay” were Monte Shadwick and Luci Larson. Shadwick said no comments would be made.

Airport Security

In a 5-0 decision, Saline County Commissioners agreed to sign an interlocal agreement involving the Salina Airport Authority and the Sheriff’s Department.  Last night, the City Commission signed the same agreement on behalf of the Salina Police Department.  The two agencies will share responsibility for providing law enforcement support as routinely scheduled commercial flights resume at the airport.

SAA Executive Director Tim Rogers said that Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) screeners have no arrest authority; he said the Police Chief and Sheriff are willing to share responsibility of a checkpoint.  They will alternate responsibility for being present during different flights; from Monday through Friday, Great Lakes will have two flights to Salina and fewer flights during the weekend.

Rogers noted that the presence of law enforcement has a “settling effect” on passengers.  Both the Sheriff and Police Departments routinely provide a host of services at the airport.  The agreement formally acknowledges expectations.

Link Road Discussion

Commissioners had earlier directed County Engineer Neil Cable to make a formal assessment of the costs to gravel Link Road, according to previously adopted minimum standards.  Residents had requested that they be able to purchase gravel for this road.

Cable had earlier expressed concern that applying gravel would temporarily improve conditions, but would not have lasting impact.  Cable estimated that the cost to purchase and deliver the equivalent of 1” of aggregate for a defined section of roadway would be $15-20,000.  In order to bring the road up to Saline County minimum standards, “to the greatest extent possible while working within existing road easements”, Cable estimated a contractor’s cost of $200,000.

Commissioner Dave Smith advocated that homeowners be permitted to purchase the gravel if they so choose, even if it meant only temporary improvement of the road.  Chairman Monte Shadwick said, “We can make this so attractive that the line” of people requesting the same service could be significant.

Smith responded by asking, “What is the risk?”  Shadwick said that the “danger is in implications”.  If properties were to sell, new owners might not fully understand that previous owners had made a one-time purchase of gravel.  New owners may have expectations of County services that were never made.

Smith pressed and said, “I think we ought to let them do it.”  Shadwick responded that he wasn’t willing to say how he’d vote on this matter.  Smith was asked to return to the homeowners and see if they still wished to purchase gravel, at an estimated cost of $15-20,000.

Commissioners also:

  • Learned about one possible type of new voting machines. Later that afternoon, the public was able to see these Unisy Voting Solutions, as represented by Adkins Election Services.
  • Issued a proclamation declaring May 2016 AMBUCS National Visibility month.
  • Appointed Diana Fairbanks to serve on the Saline County Crime Victims Fund Board.
  • Ended the probationary period of the Road and Bridge Director.
  • Were given an updated Interlocal Agreement, with the City, in regard to prisoner maintenance, dispatch services, finger printing and an evidence room. The public will have an opportunity to comment before the finalized agreement is put to a vote.  This agreement may be discussed at tomorrow’s Committee to Reduce the Jail Population meeting.
  • Approved replacing a simplex pump and sewer lift station at Road and Bridge with a duplex pump, at a cost of $41,896.
  • Saw a demonstration of existing capabilities of the Jail’s surveillance systems.
  • Heard a report on the Health Department, from Director Jason Tiller. Maternal Child Health is working with USD 305 to find ways to educate students about the possible long-term effects of risky sexual behaviors and any resulting sexually transmitted diseases on their fertility later in life.
  • Voted to pay for a series of repairs to the jail’s sewer out of the 2016 Capital Improvement fund. These unexpected but necessary repairs had not been budgeted for in 2016, but repairs to other parts of the sewer had been authorized.
  • Heard a Human Resources update from Director Marilyn Leamer.

Building Authority

Select members from the City and County Commissions met as the Building Authority Board.  They:

  • Welcomed Karl Ryan to the board; he’d been appointed by City Mayor Kaye Crawford.
  • Accepted the only bid they received from Ritter Tile, for $16,000, to replace carpet and tile in rooms 107 and 107B. Ten thousand dollars will be spent to install new carpet tile after additional work is done to remove the existing carpet, which has been glued onto tile.
  • Approved a phone wiring contract with Nex-Tech. Before this contract can go into effect, both the City and County will have to enter into their own contracts for phone services from Nex-Tech.
  • Reviewed 2017 budget documents. A facelift to the exterior is planned.
  • Considered a bid for crack sealing; additional follow-up was requested.

Monte Shadwick was absent from the Building Authority meeting.  Luci Larson was absent during some of the afternoon’s meeting.

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