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Daily announces resignation from commission
District 4 commissioner moving to better care for his ailing wife
daily resignation pic
Jim Daily, District 4 Barton County commissioner, right, visits with District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld Wednesday morning after he announced that he will resign effective March 16 to care for his wife and move to the Wichita area. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Wednesday morning:

• Removed countywide burn ban, at least for now. Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller said on Dec. 15, 2021, the commission adopted a resolution establishing a temporary burn ban. At that time, conditions warranted its implementation.

Things are still dry; however fire chiefs in the county were fine with removing it now knowing it could be re-imposed should conditions warrant it.  

• Heard a report from Sunflower Diversified Services Executive Director Jon Prescott on the purchase of a reconditioned baler. 

In May, 2021, Sunflower Diversified Services received a grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for the purchase of a reconditioned baler. Included in the $59,763.56 project was the baler, freight, installation and electrical work. The Barton County Solid Waste Fund supported this grant in the form of the project match of $14,940.89 as the baler supports Landfill waste reduction as outlined in the Solid Waste Management Plan. 

• Approved the purchase of a replacement vehicle for the Barton County Landfill.

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock said he’d researched purchasing a ¾-ton pickup truck that would be more suited for landfill use to replace a ½ ton pickup. A request for proposals was advertised and no bids were received. Consequently, a demo RAM 2500 pickup was located at Marmie Motors in Great Bend that is available for purchase at a cost of $58.050. The purchase is being paid through the Solid Waste Fund which is funded through landfill tipping fees.  

The old truck will go to the Environmental Management Department for its use.

• Tabled acting on updates to the regulations for Barton County owned and operated memorial parks and cemeteries.

• Learned that after the dedication of the Golden Belt Veterans Memorial Center Stone in 2014, Barton County has sold enough lines for stone four.  

• Rejected a $9,3326 bid to handle the bulk mailing the 2022 real estate valuation notices. This was the only bid.

This is an annual item and in years past, bids have been in the $6,500 range, said County Appraiser Wendy Prosser. It has been a cost savings to her department in that it would cost about $10,000 to do it in house. 

However, the quote received wouldn’t save a lot, so commissioners decided to seek a rebid.

The work involves the creation of valuation notices, mailing labels and envelopes, Prosser said. By state statute, these must be mailed by March 1.

• Approved a revised bid for a camera surveillance upgrade project.

On Jan. 19, the commission awarded Nex-Tech Security the bid for the project that includes the upgrade of a camera server, various interior cameras and video decoders. It was later determined that the Commission was provided an incorrect bid amount. Nex-Tech Security remains the low bidder with the corrected pricing of $18,760.52, said Information Technology Director Dereck Hollingshead. 

• Ratified the lease of a van and pickup truck for Health Department for COVID-19 response.

In November, 2021, the Barton County Health Department accepted $180,000 in funding from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. 

A portion of this grant was allocated to lease two vehicles to provide transportation in response to COVID 19 vaccine activities, Health Director Karen Winkelman said. A request for proposals was advertised until Jan. 15, but no responses were received.

 A 2022 Chrysler Pacifica van and a 2022 RAM Laramie 1500 crew cab 4X4 pickup were located at Marmie Motors in Great Bend that were available for lease or purchase.  

The total cost over the two-year lease will be $74,816. The county will have the option to purchase them at that time for $27,870.

Some of the balance from the $180,000 will go to replacing the department’s digital sign and buying another freezer for vaccines.

• Reappointed Dr. William King, Dr. Mike Malone and John Stettinger to the Health Department Advisory Committee, and appointed new member Dr. Perry Smith.

Barton County solicited applicants for uncompensated positions for the committee which provides guidance, recommendations and assistance to the Barton County Health Department staff, Health Director Karen Winkelman said. 

The board consists of between five and nine members, and has been around since 1987 when it was formed as a requirement for the county’s Family Planning Grant.

• Heard a departmental update from County Attorney Levi Morris. He reported on the cases handled by the department over the past year and how they compare to the previous few years.

• Held a discussion on the Kansas Association of Counties Local Government Day held last week in Topeka.

Commission Chairman Shawn Hutchinson, District 3, District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld and District 1 Commissioner Kirby Krier attended and provided details.

It was a reluctant Jim Daily who, Wednesday morning, announced is plans to resign as District 4 Barton County commissioner. However, he said moving so his cancer-stricken wife can get better treatment was the right thing to do.

He told his fellow commissioners his resignation is effective March 16. That will necessitate a search for a replacement to fill the unexpired term that will also be on the ballot in this fall’s mid-term election.

“My wife has cancer,” he said. To move closer to the care Janet needs, they sold their house near Ellinwood and are moving to the Wichita area.

“I have enjoyed my time as county commissioner,” said Daily, who has been a commissioner for three years. “It has been a pleasure representing, not only the Fourth District, but all of Barton County.”

He said he’s always been treated well by residents here. Daily was elected to three terms as Barton County Sheriff, serving from 1989-2001, leaving to serve as Newton police chief until he retired four years ago when he moved back.

Sunflower Diversified Services Executive Director Jon Prescott was present at the meeting for another agenda item, and Daily noted that Prescott had already filed to run for the position. “Jon is a great guy. He would do a great job.”

“I hate to hear this on a number of levels,” said District 5 Commissioner Jennifer Schartz. “I’ve enjoyed working with you.”

She was saddened by Janet’s need for more care, and understood the decision. “I respect you for doing this for your family.”

“It’s been a privilege to serve with you,” said District 2 Commissioner Barb Esfeld. She’s appreciated collaborating in her role as commissioner and previously when she was the county appraiser. 

Filling the vacancy

Now, Daily must submit a letter of resignation to county officials and the Barton County Republican Party, since that is his party affiliation. The party then must hold convention of Republican precinct committee members from the commission Fourth District within the next few weeks, said Republican Committee Chairman Dick Friedeman. 

The purpose would be to elect a replacement to fill the term that expires in January of next year. Nominations would be taken from the floor during the convention. 

The name of the person elected would be submitted to Gov. Laura Kelly who has seven days to finalize the appointment. If no action is taken, the candidate automatically assumes the post.

According to the Barton County website, District 4 takes in the bottom third of the county, excluding Great Bend and the immediately surrounding area, and includes Ellinwood and Pawnee Rock.

Commissioners serve four-year terms, with two of the five commissioners being elected in the same year, and the other three commissioners elected two years later. Districts 1, 4 and 5 are on the ballot this year.

Anyone interested in tossing their hat into the ring is urged to call Friedeman at his office, 620-792-8231.