A new contract for the Leavenworth County administrator is for a term of one year. But it will automatically renew each year unless county commissioners give a sixth-month advance notice.

A new contract for the Leavenworth County administrator is for a term of one year. But it will automatically renew each year unless county commissioners give a sixth-month advance notice.

The contract for Mark Loughry was approved Jan. 24.

Loughry's annual salary as the county administrator is $147,659, according to County Clerk Janet Klasinski.

The contract requires Loughry to continue residing in Leavenworth County. He lives in Basehor.

Loughry has been in his position with the county since 2017. But his job title initially was financial administrator.

Under the terms of the new contract, the county government will pay Loughry an amount equal to six months of his salary as severance if he is terminated while he is still willing and able to perform his duties. Failure to renew his contract upon its expiration will be considered a termination.

While he voted in support of the one-year contract for Loughry, County Commission Chairman Doug Smith has been critical of multi-year contracts that were approved by former board members.

In 2017, county commissioners filed a lawsuit to challenge the validity of several multi-year contracts that had been approved by a former commission. Under these contracts, the employees would have continued receiving their salaries after being terminated.

Last year, the County Commission reached settlements in the lawsuit with two former county employees.

In December, a judge ruled that the contract of a third former county employee was invalid.

Kansas Senior Judge Edward Bouker found that the contract of former Human Resources Director Tamara Copeland "was an attempt to improperly bind future boards in matters involving their own administration and responsibilities, thus violating public policy."

Copeland is appealing the ruling.

County commissioners voted in favor of Loughry's new contract Jan. 24 by approving a resolution that authorized Smith to execute the agreement.

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