Joan Strickler, observer
All Commissioners present, Kearns presiding.
Sink, Gillmore, and Gordon presented their 2009 audit report on the County’s finances. They found no material weaknesses in the system and reported no deficiencies in their comments. It was emphasized that all department heads report to the finance director, Johnetta Shepek, so she can keep track of all expenditures and receipts.
County Counselor Clancy Holeman said he is reviewing any impact the City’s ordinance regarding sexual orientation might have on the County. In October he will be discussing past legislative priorities of the Commission to prepare for an October 18th conference with the local legislative delegation. Commissioner Kearns asked Holeman to also look into the need for a policy regarding destruction of emails. There should be a requirement for personnel to protect email review in litigation cases.
Representatives from the Department of Transportation spoke briefly at the meeting. One lane closures near the airport should be open by the weekend. The railroad realignment disruptions will be in the process for the next couple of years.
County Treasurer Eileen King said new personalized license plates cost $46.50 and are good for five years. No duplicate plates will be allowed, not even when different counties are involved.
Tim Hegarty, with the Riley County Police Department, reported a slight increase in personal property crimes. He said the RCPD is running thin staff-wise and is in the process of hiring. It will be a year before the department can be fully staffed. As the County’s population increases there will be a need for more patrol officers. The issue of dealing with persons with mental illness in the jail continues to be a growing problem.
Robbin Cole, Pawnee Mental Health, continued the discussion of problems facing some mentally ill individuals in the County. During the summer there were two periods when the State closed its hospital doors to any voluntary admissions for two week periods because all beds were full. She said a new 30 bed unit at Ossawatomie State Hospital has been completed but the Legislature has not provided the funds to open it. Social and Rehabilitation Services is facing an $11 million deficit in its fee fund. If the Legislature does not provide the funds to deal with that deficit, community programs may find their support cut once again. The current SRS secretary, Don Jordan, is retiring this year assuring that a new secretary will be appointed by the new governor.
Cheryl Collins, director of the Riley County Historical Society and Museum, reported the Kansas Statehood/Civil War Commemoration Committee will meet Tuesday, October 5, at 4:00 p.m., at the Museum. The group will discuss local plans for commemoration of the 150th anniversary of Kansas becoming a state and the anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War.