A contract recently approved by the Leavenworth County Commission has caused some headaches in the county’s Public Works Department, the director said.

A contract recently approved by the Leavenworth County Commission has caused some headaches in the county’s Public Works Department, the director said.

“It’s creating a lot of problems within our department,” Public Works Director David Lutgen said.

Lutgen’s comments came during Wednesday’s meeting of the County Commission.

The three-year contract for Vincent Grier, the county’s new road and bridge superintendent, was discussed during the meeting. Grier was not present for the discussion.

Lutgen said Grier began his new job for the Public Works Department on Jan. 3.

“I wasn’t aware of the contract,” Lutgen said.

The public works director said he did not learn of the contract until last week. He said the position had not been advertised as one that would have a contract.

Lutgen as well as other Public Works Department employees do not have contracts.

Commission Chairman Doug Smith questioned how a contract was approved for the road and bridge superintendent position without the knowledge of the department director.

Human Resources Director Tamra Copeland said the contract was authorized when commissioners voted to approve a personnel action.

“I did as I was instructed to do,” Copeland said.

The contract was approved last month before Smith joined the commission.

Earlier this week, Smith replaced Dennis Bixby as the commissioner from the county’s 3rd District. The district includes the cities of Basehor and Tonganoxie.

Smith served as the county’s road and bridge superintendent before joining the commission.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber asked why a contract was offered for the new road and bridge superintendent.

Copeland said this is a discussion that would need to be handled in executive session.

The Kansas open meetings law allows county commissioners to meet behind closed doors in executive session for several specific reasons including discussing personnel matters.

Commissioners did not go into executive session Wednesday to discuss the matter.

The discussion of the road and bridge superintendent’s contract was sparked by remarks from former County Commissioner Louis Klemp.

Klemp mentioned the contract when speaking during a public comment period at the beginning of the meeting. And Lutgen later was asked about the contract following a monthly Public Works Department report.

The County Commission typically meets Monday and Thursday mornings. Commissioners met on Wednesday this week because Smith has a scheduling conflict today.

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