Port Authority approves ethical practices agreement

John Richmeier
The Leavenworth Times

When they met Tuesday, the Leavenworth County Port Authority Board of Directors approved an ethical practices agreement.

The agreement lays out nine practices that the members of the Port Authority agree to follow. This includes not taking advantage of, or benefitting from, information they obtain that is not generally available to the public.

The Port Authority is a quasi-governmental organization that focuses on economic development. The Port Authority’s board members are appointed by Leavenworth County and local city governments.

Port Authority Chairman Greg Kaaz said the board approved the agreement five to seven years ago under a previous chairman.

“I thought it was very good at that time,” he said.

Since that time, the makeup of the Port Authority’s Board of Directors has changed and the board has expanded from five to seven members.

Kaaz said he thought the ethical practices agreement should be re-approved.

The agreement, which was unanimously approved Tuesday, states board members shall act “honestly and in good faith with a view to the best interests of the county and its communities.” The document also states the board members will not seek “preferential treatment for themselves or third parties.”

The agreement also states members will keep information they obtain through their board activities confidential and inform the chairman of any inadvertent breach of confidentiality.

Board members also agree to disclose “relationships or other personal or professional dealings that may conflict or appear to conflict with the interests, business or responsibilities” of the Port Authority.

Kaaz asked the board members to sign the agreement.

Also Tuesday, board members revisited a proposal for requesting that county economic development funding be used to help pay for a sewer extension project in Lansing.

Last year, the Port Authority board was asked by county commissioners to make a recommendation for how $1.7 million could be used for economic development.

Port Authority board members recommended last year that $1.2 million of the $1.7 million be used to extend sewer service to the Tonganoxie Business Park and upgrade water service to the site. County commissioners approved this recommendation.

This left $540,538 of the $1.7 million still unspent.

Port Authority Vice Chairman Dan Gutshall has proposed that $240,538 of the remaining funds be allocated for an East McIntyre Road sewer extension project in Lansing.

The idea was tabled during last month’s Port Authority meeting. Gutshall suggested Tuesday that the matter be removed from the table so the recommendation could be forwarded to the County Commission. But this was voted down with only Gutshall and Vernon Fields voting in favor of the motion.

Kaaz noted that the Port Authority has focused primarily on industrial projects and industrial parks in the past.

Kaaz said there have been questions about the purpose of the Port Authority’s partner agency, the Leavenworth County Development Corporation.

“There is a committee that’s working on that right now,” he said.

Kaaz expressed a reluctancy to move forward with Gutshall’s recommendation until there has been a determination about goals for LCDC. He said the Port Authority will have to follow these goals because the two organizations work so closely together.

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