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County purchases two BCSO patrol cars
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In other business Monday, the commission:
• Named Rick Robinson (an EMT from Barton County), Steve Boltin (an EMT from Russell County), Shawn McGowan (a physician’s assistant from Ellsworth County) and Doris Tompkins ( a registered nurse from Stafford County) as special deputy coroners for the 20th Judicial District, which covers Barton, Ellsworth, Rice, Russell and Stafford counties.
Under the procedures outlined by state and county regulations, District Coroner Dr. Edward Jones, requested the appointments. Special deputies, appointed for one-year calendar terms, do not have the necessary credentials to be a deputy coroner, but generally have a medical background.
Removed or not reappointed because they had left the area or no longer wished to serve were Dr. Kurt Rider, Dr. Thomas Pluermi, Dr. Matt Schlotterbach and nurse Terri Bahr.
• Approved a $1,000-per-month contract with Starbrite Cleaning for cleaning at the Barton County Office Building, 1408 Kansas, Great Bend. Under the proposal, the company cleans the building after 5 p.m. each work day. The deadline for bids was Nov. 13 and only one bid was received. County Administrator Richard Boeckman said Starbrite has had the contract in the past, and this price is very competitive and their work was praised by county employees.
• A Public Forum letter in the Thursday, Nov. 28, Great Bend Tribune was brought up by Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg. The letter, from former county employee Landon Luenberger, criticized the county and County Commission for how it handled overtime pay for overtime within the Road and Bridge Department.
 The matter was briefly discussed at the commission’s Nov. 26 meeting when Commission Chairman Don Cates wanted it to be clear that the county offers no guaranteed overtime and that the department Director Dale Phillips will only approve overtime when needed. This is a fairly recent change in a policy that once included built-in overtime pay for all Road and Bridge employees.
This matter is also addressed in the county’s budget as it was approved.
Kruckenberg said the letter called them liars and didn’t “square with the facts.” He thought the county should rebut the letter in print, but not everyone on the commission held the same view.
Kruckenberg said he might take it upon himself to respond.

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office will get two new patrol cars to replace aging vehicles currently in service, the Barton County Commission decided Monday morning.
Sheriff Brian Bellendir recently requested bids from local vendors for two police-package sedans. He received bids from Marmie Ford, Marmie Chrysler and Dove Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac.
Marmie Ford came in with the low bid by $328 with two Ford Tauruses. However, Bellendir said his department preferred the Dodge Chargers offered by Marmie Chrysler, which was the second-lowest bid.
He said the BCSO has had good luck with Chargers in the past. They also would rather have the rear-wheel drive offered by the Dodge.
The cost for both cars is $42,840. The county will trade in the two high-mileage cars, one a Ford Crown Victoria and one a Dodge Charger, as part of the deal.
 It is standard practice for the Sheriff’s Office to rotate high mileage vehicles out of the service pool. Not only does this practice mean that vehicles in use are more reliable, it also reduces maintenance costs.  
Bellendir had in the budget to replace three cars, but opted for two. He said they try to keep the vehicles on the road as long as possible.
In relation to the two new patrol cars, the commission also authorized the purchase of needed equipment for the vehicles at a cost of $7,184 for both cars. This includes transport screens (that separate the front and back seats), push bumpers, light bars, decals and items related to the installation of computers.
It was noted that most items will need to be purchased as current equipment is worn or will not fit the new vehicles.