Commissioners ?relieve? EMS director of duties

by Jerry Engler

The Free Press

Former Emergency Medical Services Director JoAnn Knak was appointed by the Marion County Com?mission Monday to be interim EMS director after the commissioners ?relieved? the current director, Steve Smith, from the position, effective at noon.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming used the word ?relieved? after a 10-minute executive session with Smith for non-elected personnel.

The commissioners, following the decision at about 11:20 a.m., had the county clerk call the sheriff?s office to have an officer oversee Smith remove his personal items from his office.

In other discussion, Com?missioner Randy Dallke left his seat to address the other two commissioners as a private citizen, saying he and his employees at his fireworks stand were disturbed at Emergency Management Director Randy Frank?s actions over the weekend in dropping off material urging only organizations handling fireworks rather than individuals.

County Clerk Tina Spencer said, after checking with county road and bridge, she forwarded a $32,000 invoice from Hett Construction for a new sidewalk to the City of Marion for payment as part of an agreement for which the county is already paying a 60 percent share of street and sidewalk construction between the courthouse and the new jail.

Spencer announced an end of June payday figure of $1,184,446.71, regular sales tax received of $65,597.76, and special jail sales tax received of $48,519.97.

The commissioners awarded a road and bridge area fuel bid of $16,034 for 5,300 gallons of diesel from Cardie Oil of Tampa over a competitive bid of 16,231.60 from Cooperative Grain of Hillsboro.

They appointed physician Paige Hatcher Dodson as county coroner to succeed physician Don Hodson, who is retiring.

Commissioner Dan Holub asked City of Marion Administrator Roger Holter to explain remarks attributed to him concerning the possibility of the city of Marion taking charge of Marion County Lake from the county to enhance its use.

Holub said the county already spends many thousands of dollars at the lake annually to enhance recreation through fishing, boating and special events, and that Marion merchants acknowledge the benefits in increasing their sales.

Holter agreed, saying any remarks inferring county shortfall were misinterpreted or taken out of context.

Holter said as a resident and investor at the lake himself, he has appreciated county efforts to upgrade opportunities there.

The commissioners met in multiple executive sessions: with Hudson for 10 minutes before dismissing him, in a personnel session for 30 minutes before appointing Knak, with Spencer for personnel, with Register of Deeds Jo Ottensmeir for personnel, twice with County Attorney Susan Robson in 15-minute and 10-minute sessions for attorney-client with no decision, and with Sheriff Rob Craft for 10 minutes for personnel.

They met an additional 15 minutes in executive session for personnel with Road and Bridge Director Randy Crawford before announcing that Jesse Hamm would switching positions with Bud Druse to become road and bridge foreman and Druse assistant.

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