Despite saying multiple times he wished to step down as Chairman of the County Commissioners, Monte Shadwick was chosen to continue to serve in that capacity for 2016. John Price will serve as Vice Chairman and Luci Larson will serve as Secretary.
When reorganization of the County Commission was discussed during the morning study session, Shadwick suggested Luci Larson serve as Chair, citing her ability to organize, to run meetings, and her interest in Parliamentary procedure. John Price said he supported Jim Gile for Chair, saying Gile “is out in the County all week long” and that Gile had been elected and not appointed. (Both Luci Larson and Dave Smith were appointed to their Commissioner positions by Governor Sam Brownback after Saline County residents approved expanding the County Commission from three to five commissioners in November 2014.)
Commissioners cited that in the past, Commissions had reached a unanimous decision on a Chair but acknowledged this decision might come down to a 3-2 vote. Additionally, Commissioners considered who would represent the Commission to other entities. Since Gile and Price served three years on the Building Authority Board, it had previously been suggested that Smith, Larson and Shadwick should serve on this Board. Price expressed interest in serving on the Health Department Advisory Council. The preference was to let the Chair serve on the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce.
During the citizen’s forum, David Norlin asked that Shadwick continue to serve as Chair, citing the importance of having someone who was elected to serve in the position. Price then formally nominated Shadwick to serve as Chair. This was immediately seconded by Smith. Public comment was again allowed and Ray Hruska said he supported Shadwick; Judy Larson supported Luci Larson. Shadwick did not withdraw his name, though he did vote against himself, in part because he’d said he had not intended to run. In a 4-1 vote, Shadwick remains the County Chairman.
The possibility that Price might serve on the Health Advisory Council in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity, drew comments from Karen Shade and David Norlin. Both cited Price’s past efforts to limit family planning options available at the Health Department–that in part encouraged efforts to expand the Commission’s size. Price said he was proud of his past actions to repair the HD building (after the roof cracked) and he wanted to protect unborn babies.
The Commissioners voted to continue meeting on Tuesday, from 8:30 AM – Noon and 1:30 – until 4:00 PM or when scheduled business is concluded. At the start of the sessions, Commissioners will likely vote to approve agendas.
The Commission approved these appointments in one mote:
• Shadwick will serve: Saline County Economic Development Organization, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Incentives Committee, the Commission on Aging, and the Salina Saline County Building Authority.
• Price will serve with the Saline County Soil Conservation and the Health Department Advisory Council.
• Larson will serve with the Saline Airport Authority, Salina Saline County Building Authority, and Tri-Rivers Fair Board.
• Gile will serve with the Central Kansas Mental Health, Local Emergency Planning Commission, and North Central Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention, and the EXPO committee.
• Smith will serve on the Salina Saline County Building Authority and the Jail Population Reduction committee.
Norman Mannel questioned whether Larson’s appointment to the Airport Authority might be in conflict of interest with her travel business.
Heartland Health Family Consultant Positions
Commissioners expressed interest in continuing to pursue grant money to fund two Family Consultant positions, in addition to the seven positions directly attached to the Heartland Program. Leesa Larson shared a testimonial about a three month infant drinking a bottle of water, as the mother had been unable to get to the store; the same infant showed signs of flattening of the back of the head and needed “tummy time” in order to develop appropriately. With Heartland’s intervention, this child experienced “catch-up” growth. The County will move forward in filling a position vacancy as one Family Consultant has taken a different position with USD 305. Price said “last year, I was interested in cutting” funding at the HD but “I don’t want to cut these children”. He said funding one Family Consultant position, and not two “would harm kids”.
Treasurer Reports Increased Interest Earnings
Treasurer Jim DuBois told Commissioners that the County had received $67,178.60 in interest on idle funds in 2015. He attributed the changes to better bidding and interest rates and to the move to Bennington State Bank in July, 2015. He said that in the first six months of 2015, Sunflower Banks paid $1,600 in interest on money markets; in the last six months of 2015, Bennington State Bank paid $26,213 in interest. As of December 31st, the County has investments of $61, 081,391—with $24,736,989.46 held in money market funds at Bennington State Bank and over $30,000,000 in a Kansas Municipal Investment Pool.
Hard Driving Allowance
Deputy County Appraiser Sean Robertson said staff working for the County Appraisers Office must supply their own vehicles. Last year, they drove 27,000 miles, of which 24,000 miles met the definition of having occurred under “hard driving conditions”. On behalf of Sheryl Sammons, Appraiser, he requested that the Commission return the “hard-driving allowance to 50% of the IRS rate of 0.54 for 2016”. This will result in an estimated increase in “driving cost of $1,495.” Commissioners will consider this at next week’s meeting.
Employee Wellness Program
Last week, County Administrator Rita Deister, Human Resources Director Marilyn Leamer and Smith took part in a conference call with the health insurance carrier about a proposed wellness program. Two options would decrease the employee’s deductible if the employee completes a yearly physical, completes an on-line health survey and participates in a smoking cessation program. The third option would impose a surcharge. Deister speculated that fewer than half of employees get yearly physicals; initially, costs could increase from greater utilization of the health insurance plan but Deister anticipates that participation in a wellness program will reduce costs overall over time.
• Shadwick and Deister took part in a conference call with KANSASWORKS, Great Bend office. They offer a program that helps inmates secure work and reduce recidivism, with a high success rate.
• Deister and Smith will participate in interviews for a new phone system. It is anticipated that the City and County have different needs and may need separate pricing.
• Kansas Representative JR Claeys supports legislation to address “conceal and carry concerns” that impact the Salina Saline County Building Authority. Additional information can be found in House Bill 2440, which if passed as drafted, would allow the Building Authority to permit open carry on the first and second floors. It would not necessitate the need to electronically screen individuals at the building’s four separate entrances.
• Voted to accept low-bid on three motor grader purchases, 5-0.
• Voted to accept two years of funding for the Impaired Driving Deterrence Program. Sheriff Glen Kochanowski said that the County will receive $8,281 and $8,446 in 2015 and 2016 to pay for overtime for four deputies and a supervisor to conduct five saturation patrols and three check lanes over the next two years. During 2013-14, these patrols resulted in 5,575 stops, 16 arrests for intoxicated driving and citations for 223 violations. Kochanowski said that “5 to 10 arrests for intoxicated driving” are made on average each month—or about “100 a year”.
• Signed a proclamation declaring January as National Stalking Awareness Month in Saline County.
• Placed two new hires on the salary schedule.
Dates to remember:
• The Jail Population Reduction Committee meets Wednesday, January 20, at Noon at the Community Corrections Conference Room.
• The EXPO committee meets Wednesday, January 20, at 6:00 at the Fairground Office.
• Saline County Soil Conservation will hold their annual meeting/banquet on Thursday, January 21 at 6:30 PM at the Webster Conference Center. A meal is provided at no charge, but individuals must RSVP by January 14, by calling 785-825-8269, extension 3.
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