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Clark Rusco honored upon retirement
new deh county commission rusco pic
The Barton County Commission Monday morning honors County Engineer Clark Rusco, center, upon his retirement this week. Also pictures are commissioners Don Davis, Homer Kruckenberg, Kenny Schremmer, Jennifer Schartz and Alicia Straub. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Monday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Approved reappointing Commissioner Jennifer Schartz and Great Bend City Attorney Bob Suelter to the Center for Counseling and Consultation Governing Board. The county recently solicited for open positions on board which reviews and makes recommendations on mental health services in Barton County and the surrounding area. The uncompensated terms expire in December, 2018, County Administrator Richard Boeckman said.

The county must appoint five members to the board, and there were three positions open. With the reappointment of Schartz and Suelter, there remains one unfilled seat, but the county had no applicants for it.

The Center is involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit, but the commission was told Monday that the county has no liability in the case.

• Reappointed Emergency Preparedness Manager Amy Miller to the South Central Regional Council for Homeland Security for a two-year term. The council supports statewide all-hazard preparedness while reducing vulnerabilities. It works to accomplish this by building capabilities and developing comprehensive strategies in partnership with other government agencies and the private sector. Miller has served as Barton County’s representative since 2006. 

This is one of seven similar councils statewide funded through Department of Homeland Security grants. 

 • Approved cereal-malt beverage licenses for 2015. According to state law, no retailer shall sell any cereal malt beverage without having secured a license for that business. When a business is located in the unincorporated portion of the county, that application shall be made to the County Commission.  

 The Barton County Commission Monday morning said goodbye to retiring County Engineer Clark Rusco, crediting him with reeling in millions of federal and state dollars while spearheading countless vital projects.

Rusco, who was hired on Aug. 13, 2001, leaves the post as of Thursday, retiring to Emporia where he plans to spend time with his family.

“He’s brought a great deal of money to the county over the years,” County Administrator Richard Boeckman said. He has many contacts with the Kansas Department of Transportation and has parlayed those resources to benefit many local projects.

The commission presented him with a certificate of appreciation and a clock.

Among the work done include upgrading the safety of rural road signs, promoting hike an bike trails, upgrading the use of technology in his office, the Cheyenne Bottoms scenic overlook east of Hoisington on K-4, working on the Wetlands and Wildlife National Scenic Byway, and numerous road and bridge improvements. “He will be missed,” Boeckman said.

Commissioner Jennifer Schartz said she and Rusco have worked together for many years. “He’s just a wealth of information about our county.”

But, while she is sad to see him go, she said she’s not fearful of the future. Schartz said the hiring of former KDOT engineer Barry McManaman as Rusco’s replacement will smooth the transition. 

“I’ve always enjoyed working with the commission,” Rucso said. “I’ve enjoyed all the projects over the years. It’s been great to come back to my home town and generate projects that will be around for years.”

Prior to working with the county, Rusco was the engineer for the City of Great Bend for several years.