Written by Jerry Engler Wednesday, 20 June 2007 01:19
With tears in his eyes and emotion in his voice, Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet Monday gave his two weeks resignation notice to the Marion County Commission on Monday.
The commissioners had announced earlier in the meeting that the second-ranking member of road and bridge, Road Supervisor Steve Hudson, was being named park director at Marion County Lake to succeed Dale Snelling.
After Herzet’s resignation, the commissioners called Hudson back for a half-hour executive session.
Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said afterward that Hudson would continue preparing for his county lake job, but also would act as consultant for the county in road and bridge when Herzet leaves until a successor is found.
In his resignation letter, Herzet described himself as a wide-eyed 19-year-old who began working for road and bridge nearly 35 years ago. He said he had enjoyed the work, and eventually worked his way up to director.
Herzet said: “The events of the past two weeks brought on a tremendous decision for me. We have worked hard to change the public perception of the road and bridge department.
“The commissioners need to realize we are here for public safety, not their personal agenda.
“You must remember your employees are your most valuable asset,” he added.
“Without them, jobs go unfinished, and done without a sense of pride. You have to realize they are not expendable. They are the ones who make it all come together.
“So, with that in mind, I hereby give you my two-week notice, and my last day will be June 29, 2007. Once again, thank you for almost 35 years.”
Commissioner Bob Hein told Herzet, “I’d like to thank you for all of the years you’ve put in. I hate to see you make this decision.”
Commissioner Dan Holub said he knew Herzet had worked hard to change public perception and improve roads.
“You did a wonderful job there, Jim, and we are going to miss you,” Holub said. “You exceeded expectations.”
Dallke said he knew the decision had been difficult for Herzet, and that it will be tough for the county to have lost such a person.
Hudson, meanwhile, said his is planning no changes in operations at Marion County Lake. He wants to review “how things happen on a daily basis” in his opening weeks on the job.
Hudson and his wife have put their home up for sale and plan to move into the lake home where the Snellings formerly lived. Much of his conversation with the commissioners centered on remodeling and repair work at the home.
County Clerk Carol Maggard reported county cash on hand May 31 at $12,520,710, which included most collection of second-half property taxes before dispersion to other governmental units. She said the county general fund was at $3,095,205 and the road and bridge fund was at $1,741,437.
She said the auto fund administered by County Treasurer Jeannine Bateman showed expenditures of $48,310, but that was because they included $46,342 Bateman turned over to the county general fund.
Maggard said she has received a letter from the U.S. Department of Interior that it will issue Marion County a check for $17,443 in lieu of taxes for the property covered by Marion Reservoir.
The commissioners approved an agreement to pay Wichita Door Contractors $13,785 for installing new entry doors for the courthouse.
The commissioners said they will await instruction from County Attorney Susan Robson before putting county properties obtained by default at county tax sales on the market.
Dallke said they want to make sure speculators, who often don’t pay taxes, don’t have access because the commissioners want lots sold to benefit community growth.
The commissioners voted 2-0 to allow Adam Kleiber of Hillsboro to shoot off fireworks off at his family farm in June for his wedding.
Kleiber said volunteer fire department personnel will be there to ensure safety, and his insurance company has agreed to cover for the event.
Dallke abstained because of interest in selling fireworks.
Maggard showed correspondence with addresses recovered from illegal trash disposal at Dumpsters at the County Lake. The commissioners said the materials will be turned over to Robson, and she will be writing to offenders.
Hein said, “We have to put a stop to it.”
The commissioners again agreed to provide $2,500 in support of Kansas Legal Services, a private non-profit group that gives legal service to persons who can’t otherwise attain them in such cases as divorce involving abuse, and Social Security disability appeals cases.
Ty Wheeler, KLS attorney from Wichita, said he has helped Marion County residents with Social Security claims who were living on as little as $90 a month and food stamps.
Wheeler’s records show that in 2006 he handled seven of eight Marion County Social Security cases successfully with a minimum monthly payment of $632, which resulted in $156,996 in benefits.
The sales taxes paid by these residents probably paid he county back, he said.
He also handled seven of eight domestic violence cases successfully, he said.
The commissioners signed an agreement presented by Judicial District Representative Cecil Aska that would allow court records to be sold for $1 each through the Information Network of Kansas with 25 cents of that returned to the county court for technology upgrades.
Rollin Schmidt, household hazardous waste director, reported that in collections in Durham, Peabody, Burns, Tampa, Florence, Ramona, Lincolnville and Goessel this year, he collected 1.72 tons of materials including latex paint, used oil, aerosols, oil base paint, fuel blends, flammable solids, poisons and batteries.
The commissioners approved a transport road and bridge fuel bid of $20,114 from Cardie Oil Co. of Tampa for over a competitive bid of $20,248 from Cooperative Grain & Supply of Hillsboro.
The bid included 5,500 gallons of diesel and 2,500 gallons of unleaded gasoline.