An ongoing review of employee contracts was in the spotlight again as Leavenworth County commissioners met Thursday.
One commissioner, Bob Holland, said he did not want to move forward until he receives answers to questions he submitted to a law firm that was hired to review the employment contracts.

An ongoing review of employee contracts was in the spotlight again as Leavenworth County commissioners met Thursday.

One commissioner, Bob Holland, said he did not want to move forward until he receives answers to questions he submitted to a law firm that was hired to review the employment contracts.

At issue are contracts that were approved in 2016. Several employees, including the financial administrator, county counselor and human resources director, were given contracts that ensure they will continue to receive their salaries if they are terminated unless they are convicted of felonies or fraud.

After the commission’s current chairman, Doug Smith, joined the board earlier this year, the law firm of Anderson & Byrd of Ottawa was hired to look at the validity of the contracts.

Holland, who voted in favor of the contracts last year, said Thursday that he sent 35 questions to Anderson & Byrd, but he has not received answers. Holland said he had sent out the questions March 2 and asked to have written answers by March 10.

Holland indicated he had read a draft of a letter intended for county employees who have contracts.

Smith, who has been critical of the contracts, made a motion to approve letters to be sent to contracted employees. He did not provide further details about the content of the letters.

“I totally oppose that because my questions have not been answered,” Holland said.

Commissioner Clyde Graeber, who also has been critical of the contracts, suggested waiting until Holland has answers to his questions.

Smith withdrew his motion and asked if commissioners should vote to have the law firm answer Holland’s questions.

Former Commissioner Louis Klemp was in the audience and asked to speak. Klemp questioned how much time will be spent preparing responses to Holland’s questions.

The county is paying Anderson & Byrd at a rate of $200 per hour.

“How many hours is it going to take to answer those questions?” Klemp said.

Graeber said he wants to show respect for Holland by allowing him to receive the answers.

“I don’t think that’s out of line,” Graeber said.

Commissioners voted to request that Anderson & Byrd provide answers to the questions within 10 days.

The vote was 2-1 with Smith voting against the motion.

Former Commissioner Dean Oroke also was in the audience Thursday. He suggested that the questions, which had been the subject of the motion, should be made available to the public.

“You made it public by voting to take that action,” he said.

Holland said he does not have a problem with providing a copy of the questions to Oroke.

The Leavenworth Times requested a copy of the questions following the meeting, but Holland said he did not have a copy in his office. The other two commissioners also said they did not have copies in their offices Thursday, but Smith said he would make a copy available later.

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