The Leavenworth County Commission has a new chairman – Louis Klemp.

The Leavenworth County Commission has a new chairman – Louis Klemp.

Klemp was unanimously approved as chairman Tuesday during an annual reorganization of the board.

Commissioners also voted Tuesday to change their meeting schedule, but they decided to leave the boundaries of the commission districts unchanged.

Klemp was appointed to represent the County Commission’s 2nd District in October following the resignation of Commissioner Clyde Graeber.

Klemp previously served on the commission from 1978-1982 and 1992-1996.

He ran for the County Commission in 2016 but lost to Graeber in the Republican primary.

Graeber resigned from the commission last year due to health issues.

Klemp was appointed to fill the vacancy by Republican precinct committee men and women from the 2nd District.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Klemp suggested that he should serve as the new chairman.

“I would like to work with the county administrator and I would like to be chairman of the board,” he said.

Klemp said that when he previously served on the commission, the board started the practice of rotating each of the three commissioners through the position of chairman.

Of the current commissioners, Klemp noted that Bob Holland had served at least two years as chairman and Doug Smith served as chairman last year.

After Klemp was approved as the new chairman, commissioners set their meeting schedule.

In the past, the commission met Monday and Thursday mornings. But commissioners recently changed their schedule and started meeting twice on Tuesdays, once in the morning and again in the evening.

“I think we need to go back to the old way,” Holland said.

Smith said he would like to continue to have the evening meetings through the month of January. Smith said he wants to evaluate the level of public support for the evening meetings.

Holland said he has been to meetings of the Leavenworth City Commission, which take place in the evening.

“They really don't have anybody come to their meetings,” he said.

He said people can find the time to come to a daytime meeting if it is important to them.

Klemp said one reason he supported moving meetings to just one day a week is because it makes it easier for people who might want to run for the County Commission.

County Administrator Mark Loughry said commissioners can approve a charter resolution, which would allow them to have only one meeting a week.

Commissioners voted to start meeting once each week. Under this schedule, they will generally meet each Tuesday morning. But on the fourth Tuesday of each month, they will meet in the evening instead of the morning.

Having the one evening meeting will allow commissioners to attend Mid-America Regional Council meetings during the daytime hours on the fourth Tuesday of the month.

Loughry said commissioners still needed to meet again Tuesday evening this week because an agenda for that meeting already had been published.

Commissioners discussed changing the boundaries for their districts.

Klemp said he supported the change to increase the rural area he represented in the 2nd District.

County Clerk Janet Klasinski said the boundary lines were last changed in 2012. The change came after the 2010 census.

Klasinski acknowledged that the High Prairie and Alexandria townships previously were in the 2nd District. But those townships became part of the 1st District when the boundaries were changed in 2012.

She said the only township that remains in the 2nd District is the Delaware Township.

The 2nd District also includes Lansing and a portion of the city of Leavenworth.

A map with new boundary lines for the 1st and 2nd districts was prepared for commissioners to consider Tuesday. The new boundary lines would have extended the 2nd District farther west, and the 1st District would have extended into the city of Lansing.

Klasinski recommended leaving the boundaries unchanged. She said the lines will have to be redrawn after the 2020 census.

She said the boundary lines also will have to be redrawn if the commission is expanded to five members.

A group supporting the expansion of the commission plans to circulate a petition to have the issue placed on the ballot for the November election.

“I make a motion that we leave them alone,” Holland said of the boundary lines.

The motion to leave the boundaries unchanged passed 2-1. Klemp voted against the motion.

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