County commissioners ask for letter to address executive order

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

The county administrator has been asked to prepare a letter to send to members of Congress regarding the possible impact a presidential executive order may have on Leavenworth County.

Commissioner Mike Stieben raised the issue Wednesday during a County Commission meeting.

His comments concerned an executive order issued Jan. 26 by President Joe Biden.

The order states the U.S. attorney general “shall not renew Department of Justice contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities, as consistent with applicable law.”

Leavenworth County is home to a private detention facility operated by the company CoreCivic. The company’s Leavenworth Detention Center houses inmates for the U.S. Marshals Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Ryan Gustin, a spokesman for CoreCivic, initially told the Times the Leavenworth Detention Center would not be directly impacted by the executive order. But he later said this assessment had been premature and CoreCivic officials are “not yet fully aware of how this executive order could impact each of our facilities.”

Stieben asked County Administrator Mark Loughry to research the matter and determine if the order will negatively impact the community. Stieben suggested Loughry could draft a letter to send to the county’s representatives in Congress.

Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said the Leavenworth Detention Center pays a significant amount of taxes in the county.

“If we were to lose that that’s a big deal,” he said.

Commissioner Doug Smith and Commission Chairman Mike Smith agreed a letter should be sent to members of Congress.

Loughry said Thursday that he will prepare a letter, which will be brought to commissioners for their approval.

He said the letter, once approved, may be sent to all four members of the Kansas delegation in U.S. House of Representatives as well as the two U.S. senators from Kansas.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR