Klenda appointed county?s interim communications director

Linda Klenda was named interim Marion County communications director Monday by the Marion County Commission.

She succeeds Michele Abbott, who is leaving in November to be emergency management director for Hutchinson and Reno County.

In making the announcement, Commission Chairman Randy Dallke said Klenda, who will begin her new role Nov. 21, has been with the department 10 years.

Klenda was named to the position after 30 minutes of executive session with the commissioners alternating between herself, Abbott and Sheriff Robert Craft.

Abbott outlined appointments and programs that Klenda and the commissioners will need to stay aware of after Abbott leaves.

The commissioners and Road and Bridge Director Jim Herzet discussed developing a road-crossing permit policy in light of findings that Tri-County Telephone is running fiber-optic cable throughout the northern part of the county down road shoulders 42 inches deep rather than crossing the roads.

Dallke said he would be more comfortable if the cable was being run down the ditches to lessen chances that it could be cut if roads are rebuilt.

The commissioners also discussed the problem of allowing persons who have the money to pay for the county to gravel sections of roads leading from their homes.

Commissioner Bob Hein affirmed that traditionally the county has gravelled the road on its own after that.

Commissioner Dan Holub said with the rising prices of raw materials such as gravel and fuel, the county can no longer afford to do that as long as the home has at least one access point to other roads.

?Besides,? he said, ?it gives the impression that we can be bought?that if you?re rich you can get things done the poor guy can?t have.?

Elite Engineering of Gardner was awarded a bid of $17,458 to inspect 301 county bridges at $58 each. Higher bids of $22,575, or $75 a bridge, was submitted by Schwab Eaton of Manhattan, and $19,565, or $65 a bridge, from Cook, Flatt & Strobel of Topeka.

Herzet said the firm of Kirkham Michael at Ellsworth, which has done much work for the county, refused to submit a bid. Instead, the company said by letter that they believed bridge inspections should be judged by quality specifications rather than by monetary bid.

Herzet said all of the bids meet state specifications, and that money is important because the bids had gone up from an expected $45 a bridge based on previous years.

The commissioners gave Herzet permission to spend about $400 for a pin locator to find pins denoting property lines. The locator can be shared among departments instead of having to hire an outside consultant each time a pin needs to be located.

Rollin Schmidt, recycling director and director of the county?s noxious weed, transfer station and household hazardous waste concerns, said a $2,257.50 bid for Tordon herbicide awarded to Ag Service of Hillsboro will be dispersed for brush control by helicopter contracted by the railroad.

Markley Service submitted bid of $2,375 for the 50 gallons of chemical.

Schmidt said he is encouraged by a survey revealing near elimination of the noxious weed sericea lespedeza from the county.

He reported 571.55 tons of municipal solid waste were disposed of from the transfer station for September at an average cost of $37.86 per ton at the landfill for fuel, driver and tipping fees.

Commissioners continued to discuss updating the county revitalization plan with department heads, including eliminating the program if covered homes are eliminated during national disasters, or in reinstating them after the disasters if their reconstruction leads to higher value to cover afterward.

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