Personnel changes were made at the Harvey County Commission meeting on Monday, as the governing body approved the immediate termination of County Appraiser Craig Clough's contract following an executive session.
Clough was served a copy of complaints on March 19, with notice given that the complaints would be heard during an executive session to discuss non-elected personnel on Monday.
Following that executive session, it was determined by the commission that there was sufficient evidence that Clough failed or neglected to properly perform the duties of his position, leading to the decision to terminate his contract.
Evidence supporting the order of termination, as listed in a release by the county, included not providing adequate supervision to employees, failure to communicate with staff to make them aware of when Clough would be out of office (and when they could expect his return), missing deadlines and failing to complete all exemption applications, appeals and payments under protest within 40 days of being filed, failing to deliver the capital improvement plan budget to the County Administrator within the time required and failure to provide weekly reports (from Feb. 26 to March 2, 2018, and March 5 to March 9, 2018) on his time spent outside the courthouse after warnings were issued regarding his lack of supervision and leaving work without explanation — which led to delays in processing and lower productivity in the appraiser's office.
An interim county appraiser has not been appointed at this time. Per state statutes, Clough will have the opportunity to respond to the commission's decision by requesting a hearing within 15 days of the order of termination.
In other business, the county commission:
Circulated information received on a grant-writing workshop being hosted by Harvey County Extension, with a request to potentially have some county employees attend.
Was notified of RSVPs being requested for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program's annual awards banquet.
Learned of plans to allow the county's burn ban to expire as of March 26.
Heard updates on state legislation, including the 911 bill that has been under discussion being tabled and the recommendation for approval of a bill regarding maintenance of township road signs.
Approved requests for bids for noxious weed chemicals and for the county parks mowing agreement, with the latter being updated with the inclusion of an acreage count and map covering all areas to be made (adding two areas in Walnut Grove that are currently mowed, but not on the map), while also adding language that one bidder is requested for all three parks.
Approved Resolution 2018-10 for the release of a mortgage for Kirk and Elizabeth Coslett through the neighborhood stabilization program.
Following further discussion on the requirements of a bid for three UTVs for the parks and solid waste departments, it was noted that the lowest bid (of five) that would meet specifications came from 321 Kawasaki — including a hitch on the front bumper guards to allow for the parks department to handle certain routine tasks. While there was a lower bid on one of the UTVs for the solid waste department, it was proposed on the request for bids that the county would be purchasing all three UTVs together, and the commission approved the bid from 321 Kawasaki for a total cost of $41,653.37.
Was notified that the planning commission recently reviewed the conditional use permit for the Kansas Zombie Hunters. While there were complaints from one neighbor, the commission was in agreement to move forward with the CUP again, though it may get addressed if there are continued issues.
Received a report on another successful Easter egg hunt at Camp Hawk, with 100 kids participating in the search for 3,000 eggs — which Parks Director Kass Miller said took about five minutes.
Approved a bid from Victor L. Phillips for a compact wheel loader as requested by the Road and Bridge Department. Five bids were received and the bid from Victor L. Phillips was the lowest, at a total cost of $50,650 (following trade-in) for a 2018 Case 121F.
Approved a fish stocking bid from Harbin Fish Farm, the lone bid received, for a total of $16,384.50 — lower than last year's total cost, even in adding Camp Hawk to the stocking schedule. The bid was to stock all three county parks on three dates over the summer.
Heard a report on the activity of the Noxious Weed Department in 2017 from Director Rex Yohn, as well as an action plan for 2018, with Yohn noting little change planned. The commission approved both the 2017 report and the 2018 action plan as presented.
Reviewed the county's tobacco and nicotine policy as agreed upon during discussion of the policy last year. While an exception was made for detention center employees when it came to the county's tobacco-free workplace policy, that exception was recommended to be removed by both Sheriff Chad Gay and the Harvey County Wellness team. The commission accepted that recommendation, eliminating the exception.