Beneke resigns from MCCEDC

Mike Beneke, who was appointed by Marion County Commissioner Randy Dallke to serve on the Marion County Community Economic Development Corp, resigned effective Aug. 28.

The note from Beneke had few words and simply stated: “I resign Aug. 28.

“It’s been a pleasure and experience,” Beneke said, “and we have had our ups and downs.

“(The group’s) hope was that we would be announcing our new director this week, but that’s not happening.”

Beneke said he wanted to give the position a year, but by concensus he was asked to resign.

“I have no regrets as to where we are now.”

In addition, he said, he hopes the group is successful despite the roadblocks that have been in the way.

Beneke also served as the MCCEDC treasurer, which later in the meeting, Jared Jost, member representing Hillsboro, was unanimously elected to that position.

MCCEDC board member Hannah Bourbon, representing Peabody, said she remembered how Beneke was continually thinking about ways that would benefit the group.

“During a stakeholder’s meeting,” she said, “he was so constructive with ideas. He was even writing in the margins, and was thinking about ideas the entire time.”

Bourbon said the group needs people similar to Beneke within the group.

“I think Mike did add that to the group,” she said.

In other business, the MCCEDC:

◼ discussed how they will approach the commissioners about each making an appointment regarding vacated seats.

◼ learned that Katherine Young, administrative assistant, attended a Kansas Open Meetings Act and Kansas Open Records Act seminar.

◼ selected a group of three people to review the bylaws and look for any inconsistencies or other problems in the language.

Seibel said he would volunteer as did ex-officio member Anthony Roy and Jost.

◼ explained that one reason for changing the bylaws was because the current language means that Marion representative Darin Neufeld, is not in compliance with respect to his position on the board.

But, because Neufeld wants to remain on the board, the MCCEDC voted to change his appointment to member-at-large, which is in the bylaws, Seibel said.

◼ David Mueller, who was selected by commission chairwoman Dianne Novak, sent a letter of resignation.

Seibel said he wanted the group to know that Mueller believes in the mission, but with his added responsibilities at Tradewind Energy he needed to step down.

◼ Merlyn Entz, board member, inquired about the annual meeting, which according to the bylaws, is the second Tuesday in October or Oct. 2.

Seibel suggested moving the October meeting to the date of annual meeting, and recessing temporarily to conduct annual business and then return to the meeting.

“That way we won’t meet twice,” he said.”Periodically, Hillsboro Development Corp. has done this, unless we want a big shindig banquet?”

If the group decided to have a party, Seibel said three weeks is enough time to do that.

◼ discussion about changing the December date to a new date because it falls on Christmas Day.

◼ heard from Seibel about difficulties getting in touch with Brad Jantz, county counselor.

He finally got response from Jantz via email.

“I really feel like I am back to square one on knowing what this proposal is about,” he said.

Bottom line is that we haven’t had much progress, he said.

Young said we could hire payroll company, and quotes for insurance.

“We can do this on our own,” Seibel said, “but it would be cumbersome.”

◼ asked members of the public present: “Why do you choose to invest (in whatever investment)?”

The majority of people said they are looking for a return.

In addition, Seibel said that two of the three commissioners Dallke and Becker support the efforts of MCCEDC.

Novak is not in favor or at least doesn’t go along with much of the group’s plan.

“We gave a purpose, priority and practice,” Seibel said. “(The plan) is not flowery, but it all in there.”

◼ learned that Seibel was approached by an individual who wanted to know about the advertising funds from the former director, Teresa Huffman.

“She had a budget for advertising and, (according to the individual) what she did was use some of that advertising money to display businesses in Marion County.”

Seibel said the idea behind this information is that if the MCCEDC group could carve out some of these funds.

It could be used as a co-payment to help businesses, in a similar way to what was done in the Kansas Tour Guide, produced by the Kansas Chamber of Commerce.

◼ cited examples of how advertising money could be used at the Chisholm Trail 8.

Seibel said maybe the advertisement could be to come to the lakes, including both Marion Reservoir and Marion County Lake as a way to draw people.

a◼ commended Young on the “tremendous job” she is doing on Facebook, Bourbon said.

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