County Commissioners Hear Citizens Concerns

The Mitchell County Commissioners met for their Monday morning meeting. Since Chairman Mike Cooper was absent Vice-Chair Jim Marshall was in charge of the meeting. This seemed to be the day for citizens to present their personal concerns as this took up a large amount of the agenda.

Gary Sigel from Hunter was on the agenda to speak about "Government ethics or lack there of." Sigle spoke about what he termed the City of Hunter's City Councils "converting city funds to personal use and the council's criminal action in not taking the oath of office in a public meeting therefore violating the open meetings act." He feels there are criminal penalty's involved in the way they dispersed city funds and failed to take an oath of office.

Sigle said he took his accusations to the Kansas Attorney General and was told these charges were not in his realm of authority and he does not get involved in city issues. He also sent this information to Mitchell County Attorney, Mark Noah, and got no results. Noah said, as far as he could see there was never an intentional act of fraud or criminal action taken by the members of the council or any intentional abuse of the open meetings act that he can see.

Commissioner Marshall said although the city of Hunter is in Mitchell County, as County Commissioners, they do not have any authority over the actions taken by any city's governing body within the county. Sigle said he came to the County Commissioners to ask them to appoint a special council to act in circumstances such as these and have the authority over this sort of actions.

Commissioner Tom Claussen said he does not understand where Sigle is coming from because these council members are unpaid volunteers who give up their time to serve on the city council. Commissioner Marshall asked if it wasn't true Sigle was asked to go back on the council following the election and why didn't he want to do that. Sigle said the rest of the council "locked him out" They decided what they were going to do before the meetings and didn't give him a chance to discuss things so his vote didn't count.

Sigle explained the records he requested from the council that were not given to him and checks that were paid to people that he felt shouldn't have been paid. He said, "There is a major crime rate going on down there right now." The commissioners told Sigle they were not in favor of any procreation of city records and it is up to the mayor and city council to make these decisions. "The County Commissioners have no authority over any criminal cases. Any decision would have to come from the Attorney General, or the County Attorney" Marshall said. Sigle left the Commission Room saying he has other options that he will pursue this issue further.

In speaking to County Attorney Mark Noah later in the day he told this reporter that the problem stemmed from the fact that Sigle was running for the office of mayor during the last election and got 18 votes. Bob Wiles was not running for office but got 21 write-in votes and was elected mayor. Sigle was asked to go ahead and serve on the council and he, himself, made the decision not to go back on the council.

John Rowdybush was not on the agenda but asked for a 15-minute executive session with the Commissioners and County Clerk, Chris Treaster, present. Later in the meeting the commissioners granted this meeting for the reason of Financial and Trade Secrets of Corporations. No decisions were made. Rowdybush was told to come back in the middle of November if he wanted to discuss this further.

Ruth Roberts was on the agenda to discuss "Fire Meetings and General Questions." She was not present and asked to be put on next week's meeting agenda.

Sheriff Doug Daugherty was present and asked for a 5-minute executive session to discuss non-elected personnel. No decisions were made.

Commissioners issued a cereal malt beverage license to Lakeside Convenience Store at Glen Elder.

Larry Emerson, Public Works, brought in a concrete bid from Beloit Redi-Mix. No bid was received from Abram Ready-Mix for this quarter of the year. The commissioners accepted the Beloit Redi-Mix bid of $116 per cubic foot for the 6.33 mix the county uses on their projects. Emerson said they do not use as much concrete on their bridge projects as in the past since many bridges use a lot of steel. They will pour the south was of the bridge near Schmidt's tomorrow.

Emerson received word from John Cashatt; County Engineer the county can trade three other bridges in the county in order to do the Tice Bridge. These three would include the Blue Hill Township Bridge, 4 mi. east of Hunter and 1-½ miles north of the Victor Road. The second bridge would be one on the Victor Road 1 mi north of the Kersin farm. The third bridge was would be one west of where Mark Beam lives, located one mile south of the Jewell County line. All three of these bridges are in excellent condition but if something happened and any of these three original bridges failed the county would have to bring that bridge back up to its original state of repair.

Emerson said they are finished sealing roads and had some sealer left over so patched and sealed the courthouse parking lot and the roads at the fairground. They will go back and do the striping down the center of they roads yet this fall.
Pruitt's fell through the low water bridge with a grain cart, east of where Don and Barb Pruitt used to live. He crew dug this out and put in a new culvert so Pruitt's can get through. After harvest they will go back and put a concrete cap on it.
They finished the county mowing Friday. Commissioner Marshall said he has heard nothing but good things since Emerson's crew got the roads mowed.

Commissioner Claussen and Heather Hartman, Community Development, attended the NCK Planning Commission meeting in Concordia last Thursday. State Representative Susan Concannon and Representative Vern Swanson attended. Senator Elaine Bowers was unable to attend. Hartman and Claussen said Representative Concannon strongly advised keeping the Concealed Carry Waver in place for this coming year as the legislature is going to revisit this issue early in their session. This was passed in the last hour, last minute in the Legislative Session before they adjourned.

Commissioners discussed the changes in the Food Service Layout at the old Law Enforcement Center. They have figured out a different part of the same building that will be easier to change over to the two kitchen rooms needed to fix the meals for the prisoners in the jail. After discussion it has been decided they may not need as much expensive commercial equipment as was first thought. The expense may be lower than the predicted $42,000 worth of equipment.

Commissioner Claussen had a concert as to how much revenue this jail will lose when the new Cloud County facility opens since it is closer to Salina and better roads. They will have to wait and see about this.

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