The two new members of the Leavenworth County Port Authority named by the Leavenworth County Commission will be the first new members of the five-member body in at least 13 years. So the commission decided Thursday to take its time.
Two current members of the quasi-governmental economic development body founded in 1969, Charlie New and J.C. Tibbetts, announced last month their intention to step down once replacements had been named. The Port Authority itself forwarded two names ― Lexeco President Greg Kaaz and Young Sign Company Co-owner Ann Hoins ― to the city of Leavenworth and the Leavenworth County Commission, the two entities that together appoint members to the board .
“That wasn't binding for the city or the county, but the city commission did take it and they concurred with those two choices,” said County Administrator Pat Hurley.
Former County Commissioner John Flower has also reportedly expressed interest in one of the positions.
But Commissioner Dennis Bixby Thursday said he wanted a fourth name considered for one of the positions ― Teresa Commerford, a Tonganoxie resident and senior vice president of National Bank of Kansas City.
“It's a very exciting opportunity,” she said the prospect of serving on the Port Authority, explaining her background in commercial lending with National Bank of Kansas City.
Bixby said has known Commerford for some time and vouched for both her credentials and her character. He said her place of residence, too, makes her an asset, in his eyes.
“Do you think it's a good idea to spread out the representation on the Authority to the entire county?” Bixby asked Port Authority Chairman Terry Andrews.
Andrews said the board currently has among its members two residents each from Leavenworth and Lansing and one resident of the Tonganoxie area. Appointing Commerford would then make two representatives from Tonganoxie and one from Lansing in addition to the two Leavenworth representatives.
Commissioner Clyde Graeber said the current Port Authority had worked for the benefit of the whole county.
“I'm not disputing the fact that the Port Authority has done a lot for the county, they have,” Bixby said. “What I do see is trends growing in the southern end of the county.”
Andrews said the names forwarded by the Port Authority were not meant to be the only potential candidates for the positions. He said in the past the city and county have asked for recommendations.
“Our board took the recommendations submitted last month very seriously and looked to recruit younger individuals who had distinguished themselves in the business community,” Andrews said.
However, he added the board is open to any nominations.
Page 2 of 2 - “We would be happy to work with any two individuals you would like,” Andrews said.
Hurley reiterated that there is no time limit on the appointments because the resignations of Tibbetts and Hill do not take effect until new members are appointed. The commissioners opted to take some time to consider the applicants.