Last month, the Leavenworth County Human Resources Department was placed under the control of the County Clerk’s Office. But several days later, county commissioners shifted oversight of the department to the county administrator.
Now, the department is once again under the control of County Clerk Janet Klasinski.

Last month, the Leavenworth County Human Resources Department was placed under the control of the County Clerk’s Office. But several days later, county commissioners shifted oversight of the department to the county administrator.

Now, the department is once again under the control of County Clerk Janet Klasinski.

Commissioners voted 2-1 Thursday to return control of the Human Resources Department to the Clerk’s Office. Commissioner Bob Holland voted against the motion.

Commissioners Doug Smith and Louis Klemp have expressed concern about the leaking of personnel information including a document about Senior County Counselor David Van Parys that was cited in a television news story that appeared on KSHB Channel 41.

The Human Resources Department was placed under the control of the County Clerk’s Office on Oct. 12 after Klemp joined the commission. Klemp was appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Commissioner Clyde Graeber.

Commissioners voted Oct. 16 to place the Human Resources Department under the direction of County Administrator Mark Loughry.

At the time, Smith, who serves as the commission chairman, said the contract of Human Resources Director Tamara Copeland indicated that she worked for the commission. Smith said the county administrator serves as an arm of the commission.

Commissioners voted Oct. 30 to terminate Copeland along with two other contracted employees.

Noting that Copeland is no longer employed with the county, Klemp made a motion Nov. 2 to return the Human Resources Department to the control of the County Clerk’s Office.

Klemp said he wanted to free up Loughry to focus on the administration of the county government.

Loughry said last week that he wanted time to discuss the matter with Klasinski. Klemp withdrew his motion at that time.

During Thursday’s meeting, Loughry said he had discussed the matter with Klasinski. The county administrator recommended that the Human Resources Department be placed under the control of the Clerk’s Office.

Klemp said he was bothered by an earlier memorandum expressing an opinion of someone from the Human Resources Department that indicated individual commissioners can access personnel files of people they supervise.

Loughry said this issue was brought to his attention. Loughry said he and Van Parys believe that state law does not allow an individual commissioner to access personnel files.

Loughry said he believes this issue has been corrected.

Smith said this means state law has been violated in the past.

“That’s not a good thing,” he said.

Smith questioned whether there was any way to find out if commissioners have obtained copies of other personnel files in the past.

Klemp said no local agency will investigate the matter.

“Maybe this needs to go further,” he said.

Smith asked if Klemp wanted an audit or to hire a private investigator.

Klemp suggested that most of the remaining employees of the Human Resources Department could be fired.

“I’m talking about just removing them,” he said.

But commissioners took no action to terminate the employees.

Holland suggested leaving the department under the direction of Loughry because the county administrator has experience with human resources.

Holland said he would really like to hire another director for the Human Resources Department.

Following Thursday’s meeting, Klasinski said she does not plan to hire a new human resources director. The county clerk said she will look at entering into an agreement with a human resources consulting firm to provide legal and technical expertise.

Klasinski said the firm would not replace the county’s Human Resources Department. But the firm could be used as needed.

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