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Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

Leavenworth administrator vote on hold

February 15, 2007

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Leavenworth County voters will wait an extra 16 months to determine whether a county administrator position is necessary.

The County Commission unanimously decided this week to suspend a ballot initiative on the administrator's post, originally scheduled for the April 3 general election, until August 2008.

Commission Chairman J.C. Tellefson, who has spearheaded the effort to have a public vote on the county administrator initiative, called the initial decision to add the question to the April ballot his "first mistake" in his first month in office.

"I had hoped when I came up with this (ballot initiative) that in February, I'd be knocking on doors and educating the community," Tellefson said. "The mistake was, I didn't see everything coming. We need to be talking about NBAF (the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility) and County Road 1. If we had a little more time, we could get this done, but we're doing a lot of tremendous things right now."

Commissioners Clyde Graeber and Dean Oroke agreed that a vote on the issue in April would be moving along too quickly.

"I'm not sure if we've allowed enough time to get word out to the public of the possible benefits or possible nonbenefits of the position," Graeber said.

The initiative to create a full-time chief of staff for the county has been voted down twice in the past 10 years, in 2002 and 1998.

It has yet to be determined exactly what duties the county administrator might hold. The administrator's potential salary remains unanswered as well.

According to Tellefson, that individual might serve as a gatekeeper, making the commission as a whole more organized and efficient.

Having an administrator "allows you to sleep well at night," Tellefson said, pointing to success with similar position in Shawnee and Sedgwick counties.

- Lansing Current reporter Joel Walsh can be reached at (913) 727-1525.

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