Expansion of the Leavenworth County Commission came up Monday during a meeting of the commission.

Expansion of the Leavenworth County Commission came up Monday during a meeting of the commission.

Commissioner Bob Holland raised the issue as commissioners reviewed the minutes of a meeting that took place Thursday.

During the earlier meeting, Holland made a motion to seek voter approval for expanding the commission from three members to five. But no one provided a second to the motion.

Holland said Monday that he would like the minutes of Thursday’s meeting to clarify what happened to the motion.

Chairman Doug Smith said the motion died because of a lack of a second.

Holland said he wanted it stated in the record that Smith is against a five-member commission.

Smith argued that he never said he is against the expansion of the commission.

“I said we’re going to study it,” he said.

Smith said he supports putting the issue before voters. But he argued commissioners need to work out issues such as the salaries of the five commissioners, office space for the new members and how the commission districts would be redrawn.

Currently, each commissioner has his own office at the Leavenworth County Courthouse. But Holland said Monday he sees no reason for having office space. He also argued that the money being paid for the salaries of the three commissioners could be split five ways.

Currently, each commissioner’s salary is about $40,000 per year.

Smith said he would like to put together a committee to study the issue after the first of the year.

Former Commissioner Louis Klemp, who attended Monday’s meeting, said commissioners need to honor whatever voters decide.

He said voters had twice voted down the idea of a county administrator. But the commission eventually created the position anyway.

“We have to honor what the (voters) say,” Klemp said. “We haven’t done that in the past.”

Klemp said the issue of expanding the commission needs to be studied.

Monday’s discussion came as the three-member commission is short one member.

The commission’s 2nd District seat is vacant following the resignation of Commissioner Clyde Graeber. He stepped down last week because of health reasons.

Graeber is a Republican. Republican precinct men and women from the 2nd District plan to gather Thursday to pick Graeber’s replacement on the commission.

Also Monday, rural Leavenworth resident James Berry addressed the commissioners during a public comment period.

He asked the commissioners what they would do if Tyson Foods resurrected plans to locate a poultry plant near Tonganoxie.

Last month, Tyson Foods officials announced plans to construct a poultry facility south of Tonganoxie. The plan faced opposition from local residents.

Tyson Foods officials eventually announced they were placing plans for building the facility in Leavenworth County on hold. This announcement came after county commissioners voted to rescind a resolution that had expressed intent to issue industrial revenue bonds for project.

Smith said he would not support the Tyson Foods project in Leavenworth County.

Holland said he could not say Monday whether he would be supportive of the project. Holland said he would not be doing his job if he said no before hearing the proposal.

“I would have to say that I would listen and make a rational decision at that time,” he said.

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