Charles Jones steps down Wednesday night from the Douglas County Commission, but not before he tackles a full lineup of contentious county issues.
Jones, a Democrat whose district is entirely within the city of Lawrence, is resigning effective at midnight tonight. He'll be sworn back in Jan. 13 to begin serving the four-year term he won in November.
Jones, 50, is taking a month off so that he can enroll in the Kansas Public Employees Retirement Program, or KPERS. When Jones first took office in 1999, Jones declined to enroll, incorrectly calculating that his $16,000 commission salary would drag down the retirement payoff earned during his previous 10 years of work for state agencies.
That miscalculation cost him four years of KPERS participation that would have bolstered his retirement income. Jones figures it will cost him about $5,000 in penalties and lost wages to get those four years back, but the move will pay off by allowing him to add $9,000 a year to his retirement income beginning at age 67.
Before taking his temporary hiatus, Jones and his fellow commissioners will consider several items during tonight's meeting, set for 6:35 p.m. at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Mass.:
- Creation of a new ECO2 committee, to push for development of business parks and preservation of open space in the county.
- Support for nomination to list Black Jack Battlefield, east of Baldwin, to the National Register of Historic Places.
- A request to provide up to $15,000 to help finance a Heritage Summit next month at the Eldridge Hotel, part of an effort to promote the area's history and generate federal grants to help attract tourists.
For updates on this story, see the 10 p.m. 6News report on Sunflower Broadband's cable Channel 6 and pick up a copy of Thursday's Journal-World.
- A discussion of the county's existing fireworks regulations, which permit the sale of fireworks in rural areas July 2-4. Commissioners Bob Johnson and Jere McElhaney have said that they see no reason to change the rules, although Lawrence city commissioners have banned the use of fireworks within the city limits of Lawrence.