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Commission hires new county counselor
New assistant county attorney also introduced
new deh county commission nana brammer pic web
Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor, left, introduces newly hired Assistant County Attorney Nna Brammer to the County Commission Tuesday morning. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

In other business Tuesday morning, the Barton County Commission:

• Named Marissa Woodmansee as 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services program director. On June 27, 2016, Woodmansee was appointed as the Juvenile Services interim director. She has been with the 20th Judicial District Juvenile Services program since 1999, serving in progressively more skilled positions during her employment. 

She was named interim director at a time when there was much uncertainty at the state level over the future of Juvenile Services. But, “I believe we are on a firm foundation now,” Woodmansee said.

She said while it may look a little different now, Juvenile Service will remain intact.

“You’ve done a good job for us,” Commissioner Don Davis said.

• Approved a resolution authorizing abstract work to be performed in preparation for the 2017 tax sale. The resolution also authorizes certain tracts of real estate be sold for back taxes. This money is then distributed to the various taxing entities in the County.     

On a related note, the commission approved contracting with First American Title Company to handle abstracting services for the sale. The company is willing to provide the needed services at $70 per parcel, said Pam Curtis, manager of First American Title Company. The price has remained the same for the past three years.

• Approved the purchase of overhead heaters for the Road and Bridge Department shop. Three of the four overhead heaters installed in the county shop in 2009 have failed, spewing carbon monoxide into the building. After pricing options, it is suggested that four replacement units be purchased from ComfortPro Inc. for $8,352. The price includes the units, labor and materials, said Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips.

• Approved replacing the flooring in the Driver’s License Office. The Facilities Management Department requested bids for replacement flooring in the office and Abbey Carpet and Floor provided the lowest bid at $3,060.11, said Facilities Leader Gary Bruner.

The office will be closed for these renovations from Jan. 27 through Feb. 10. Those needing drivers license services during that time will have to go to another area office.

• Approved the county’s 2017 membership in the Kansas Legislative Policy Group at a cost of $4,322.68. The KLPG is a bi-partisan coalition of around 30 western Kansas counties with the common interest in the preservation of the counties tax base and retention of local control. It serves as a policy and decision making body establishing legislative priorities at its annual meeting and providing excellent speakers to address KLPG members about the important topics of the day. 

“I find great value in it,” said Commissioner Alicia Straub, who is active in the group and is attending one of its meetings next week in Topeka. 

The KLPG was initially formed to help counties fight the state over the robbing of the Oil and Gas Depletion Fund. It has brought over $2 million back into Barton County in the past few years.

• Approved a Federal-Aid Construction Engineering Agreement with the Kansas Department of Transportation for a bridge replacement project on East Barton County Road. Under the agreement, the Barton County Engineer’s Office will do inspection work and KDOT will reimburse the County for 80 percent of the inspection cost, said County Engineer Barry McManaman.  

 Legal representation was on the minds of Barton County commissioners Tuesday morning as they approved contracting with Carey Hipp as the county councilor and were introduced to Näna Brammer who is a new assistant county attorney.

The county had accepted proposals for legal services to be provided by a counselor on only a six-month basis, commission Chairman Jennifer Schartz said. Several applications were received, ranging from requests for $3,000 per month to $12,000 per month. 

Hipp came in at $3,000.

“We just feel it is in the best interest of the county,” Schartz said. This is only a part-time position and the commission didn’t want to spend as much for it as for a full-time job.

The commission hesitated to enter a long-term agreement until it understood how it things would work as it proceeded without hiring a new county administrator.

This job was most recently handled by Richard Boeckman, who served as county administrator and counselor. After his resignation, the commission deemed it better to hire a separate counselor.

Services generally include interpretation of law, advise on labor and employment matters, attendance at County Commission meetings and other duties as requested. Services will be civil in nature, with all criminal matters being handled by the County Attorney’s Office.

Allen Glendenning with Watkins, Calcara had been hired to negotiate the buyout of Boeckman’s contract and other legal matters. He will finish his work on these before Hipp takes her post. 

Hipp is a partner with the firm Sherman, Hoffman and Hipp of Ellsworth.   

It was Barton County Attorney Amy Mellor who introduced Brammer. She said Brammer will handle traffic and misdemeanor cases for now, being cross-trained to tackle juvenile cases. 

Brammer’s title will be assistant county attorney III. She joins Assistant County Attorney I Doug Matthews and Assistant County Attorney II Rita Sunderland in the office. 

The County Attorney’s Office was authorized to add an additional attorney and support staff this year. Recent remodeling in the County Attorney’s Office provided space for the new attorney, Mellor said.

Brammer, of Sylvan Grove, successfully passed the July 2016 Kansas bar exam.  As such, she was one of the new attorneys taking state and federal oaths on Sept. 30, 2016. she is a graduate of Washburn University School of Law.