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Chief recognizes outgoing commissioners PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 December 2017 10:18

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ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times



The City of Liberal has many employees who have been with the city for many years and during the most recent meeting of the Liberal City Commission Tuesday evening, several were recognized for their years of service. 

“The City of Liberal recognizes employees at distinct milestones during their careers,” Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer began. “These service awards are given to employees after 10 years of servce and 25 years of service.”

The 10-year honorees were Christopher Ewalt, golf course; Harriet Gick, Mid-America Air Museum; Darla Harper, Building and Code Enforcement; Karen LaFreniere, Housing Department; Kent McCarter, Building Maintenance; Joshua Olson, Liberal Police Department; Dallas Ryan, Liberal Police Department; David Shelton, Solid Waste Department; Christi Starr, Recreation Department; Chris Vermillion, golf course; David Villa, Streets Department; Johanna Vos, Water Department; and Mark West, Liberal Police Department. The 25-year honoree was Martin Zuniga with the Streets Department. 

“As City employees, these individuals represent the City of Liberal in a highly professional manner and are respected by their peers and other City departments,” Denoyer said. “The City of Liberal and the community are proud to have you on our team. On behalf of the City Commission and City staff, we thank you for your dedicated work and making Liberal a great place to live and work. Thank you and congratulations on this employment milestone.”

After the city employee service awards, LPD Chief Al Sill then came before the commission to offer an early parting gift for Denoyer and fellow outgoing commissioners Dave Harrison and Dean Aragon. 

“It’s been a tradition of ours and an honor to deliver a parting gift of appreciation to our city commisioners who are departing the commission,” Sill said. “Ten years ago, if you remember, we set out on a mission to improve the quality of life in Liberal and with your support, help and guidance, I think we’ve done that. Actually, I think we’ve exceeded our expectations and exceeded the community’s expectations. You guys have been tremendous commissioners, your hard work and support has allowed all of us on city staff to do our job and do it well. On behalf of the Liberal Police Department, I especially want to thank you for the support you’ve given us. It’s been unwavering, unquestionable and very much appreciated.”

After all the awards came the Items from Citizens portion of the meeting, which was begun by Reita Isaacs. 

“The facts are we had a real fast new contract and I’ve not been allowed to discuss it,” Isaacs said. “And it’s coming out in the paper I think because of the way I’ve been addressing it. But I’ve gone further this week and I contacted the city managers of Garden City, Dodge City and Hutchinson. I found out the pay rates and salary ranges are all determined by their employers, which would be the City, who recognized the level of education, knowledge, skill and experience needed to accomplish these jobs and the tasks they require.” 

Isaacs then talked about the converstaions she had with those cities’ officials and shared the information she learned about those cities’ city managers and also referenced a recent opinion piece by L&T Publisher Earl Watt.

“When you went out to your extended executive session, no one had anything,” Isaacs said. “But then all of a sudden you came back with something. According to John Deardoff, the city manager in Hutchinson, he said he got his evaluation papers today. All the councilmen have to have a copy of the forms, they have to look at them and evaluate everything. When everyone gets that done, it’s presented to the council and it’ reviewed by the mayor, vice mayor, the city attorney and compared to each other what they think it should be. Then after they all agree, the final findings are presented. Mr. Hall, this has come that you went back there and then all of a sudden you came back with these things here but according to this, you could not go back there and then all of a sudden have everything fall into your lap. These things in your contract had to be thought about and the commissioners here all said they knew nothing about it. Yet it was prepared, typed, printed out, and your secretary had it in her hands when you all walked back there. No one knew this was coming so how did it come about you got this type of a raise?”

“Ms. Isaacs, I’ll remind you that was all discussed in executive session, which stays in executive session,” Denoyer replied. 

“Well according to Mr. Watt, it didn’t have to stay in executive session,” Isaacs said. 

Shortly after this exchange, Isaacs’ time came up and the board moved on to hear the introduction of new Liberal Recreation Deparmtent Adult Sports Supervisor Jacob Riemann. In other business, the commission also unanimously approved the purchase of vehicles to replace several vehicles in the City’s fleet and approved the 2018 Housing and Economic Development programs. The commission also unanimously voted to move the first meeting of the new year to Monday, Jan. 8, 2018. 

 

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The High Plains Daily Leader and Southwest Daily Times are published Sunday through Friday and reaches homes throughout the Liberal, Kansas retail trade zone. The Leader & Times is the official newspaper of Seward County, USD No. 480, USD No. 483 and the cities of Liberal and Kismet.  The Leader & Times is a member of the Liberal Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas Press Association and the Associated Press.

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