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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Commissioners, treasurer to discuss reorganization plan

  • When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed setting up a meeting with the county's new treasurer regarding a plan to reorganize her office.
    And such a meeting apparently is now scheduled for Monday morning.
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    • In other business
      When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners took the following action:

      They approved an exception from zoning and subdivision regulations to grant a building per...
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      In other business
      When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners took the following action:
      They approved an exception from zoning and subdivision regulations to grant a building permit for a barn on what is considered by the county to be a non-compliant parcel at 19000 Fairmount Road.
  • When they met Thursday, Leavenworth County commissioners discussed setting up a meeting with the county's new treasurer regarding a plan to reorganize her office.
    And such a meeting apparently is now scheduled for Monday morning.
    Earlier in the week, commissioners voted to direct the human resources department to postpone implementation of salary increases proposed by new Treasurer Janice Van Parys.
    Based on an outside legal opinion, commissioners believe the treasurer, who took office Tuesday, should first review the idea with them.
    County Administrator Pat Hurley said the treasurer's plan calls for salary increases for employees beyond what already has been approved in the budget. This could require an amendment of the budget.
    If the changes take effect, he said, they could result in about $25,000 in additional salary and benefits for employees for the remainder of this year and an additional $137,000 beyond what already has been approved for 2014.
    Commissioners sought an outside legal opinion because County Counselor David Van Parys recused himself from the issue. He is married to the treasurer.
    In a telephone interview, Janice Van Parys said the additional money for pay increases won't come from local tax dollars. She said it will come from a motor vehicle fund with money from the Kansas Department of Revenue.
    She said the state pays this money to the county treasurer for acting as an agent for vehicle registration.
    Janice Van Parys plans to increase the revenue to her office by adding commercial vehicle registration to the services the office provides.
    "It balances it out," she said, referring to the increased salary expenses and funding.
    She said commercial vehicle registration previously was handled at the state level, but counties are now being asked to voluntarily take on these duties.
    Louis Klemp, who previously served the commission, discussed the issue with the current commissioners during Thursday's meeting.
    He suggested the outside legal opinion wasn't needed because an earlier Kansas Supreme Court case indicates the County Commission has no authority over the fund in question.
    Commissioner Clyde Graeber later said a recent opinion issued through the Kansas attorney general conflicts with the earlier case Klemp was citing.
    "It creates a gray area," Graeber said.
    Hurley said the commissioners had no choice but to seek an outside opinion because the county counselor recused himself.
    Klemp asked why the county had not sought a decision from the attorney general, which he said wouldn't have cost anything.
    Hurley said the county could have asked for an opinion from the attorney general, but that could have taken months.
    Later during the meeting, Hurley discussed having the treasurer meet with the commissioner regarding her plan. He said issues related to the reorganization plan keep coming up.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It keeps arising in different forms," he said.
    Hurley said commissioners also could ask the attorney who provided the opinion to meet with commissioners.
    Commissioners discussed possibly meeting with the attorney Monday, and then meeting with the treasurer Thursday. They also discussed meeting with an accountant who worked on the county's budget.
    But it appears Janice Van Parys will be meeting with the commissioners Monday morning. The County Commission's agenda for next week was updated Thursday afternoon to include a meeting with the treasurer regarding personnel actions as well as other matters.
    According to Hurley, the treasurer was placed on the agenda for Monday at Janice Van Parys' request.

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