Cutting of Saline County jobs ignites feud

Job Cuts
Job Cuts

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — The chairman of the Saline County Planning and Zoning Commission has accused a county commissioner of voting to eliminate four administrative positions because of a personal vendetta against the planning department.

The Saline County Commission voted 2-1 Tuesday to eliminate the county administrator job, as well as directors of planning and zoning, road and bridge and the county health department. Commissioners John Price and Randy Duncan said the change would save the county between $430,000 and $470,000 and would not hurt county services.

However, Clayton Short, current chairman of the planning and zoning committee, said Wednesday that Sharp voted to eliminate the positions because of a dispute he had with planning and zoning in 2012, The Salina Journal reported. That year, the commission investigated an accusation that Price did not have the proper permit for his car-crushing business. Price said he was in compliance and was never fined.

Short said the department needs leadership and currently has only two employees, the director and an office coordinator.

“There is no way nine volunteers from nine different occupations from the county can run the planning and zoning in Saline County,” Short said. “We have to have good leadership. (David) Neal’s been that. He’s been an outstanding director, I thought. There is a lot of professionalism in that office.”

Price said Wednesday that the planning and zoning director is the least necessary administrative job in the county.

“He doesn’t have anything to do,” Price said. “We really don’t need him.”

Three administrators stopped working Wednesday, while the director of the health department, who resigned in October, will not be replaced.

“There is somebody in every department that can handle those departments,” Price said. “We have people out there that can do it that are already there.”

The controversy might be short-lived. On Jan. 12, the commission will expand from three members to five. Duncan lost his seat in the last election and the three new commissioners said Wednesday they disagreed with the decision, with two indicating they will work to reinstate the four administrative jobs.

 

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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