Flawed radio inventory leads to higher replacement bill



The Ellis County Commission approved the purchase of 10 additional portable radios at a cost of $14,000 to complete a contract at Monday evening's regular meeting at the Ellis County Courthouse.

"This one pains me," said County Administrator Greg Sund once the topic came up on the agenda.

"This one pains me, too," said Commissioner Swede Holmgren.

Sund told commissioners the county had received 14 more radios in the rebanding process than it had older radios to turn in as trade. The company, Motorola, came up with four additional radios that could be used as credit, but the county still needed to turn in 10 more radios or pay for them.

"Everybody tells me when we first started looking into the inventory, that nobody knew how many radios we had," Sund said. "We do now, (after) going through pretty exhaustive paperwork to figure out how many radios we have. We do have a list now. We did not have an accurate list before."

The 10 radios to be purchased are valued at $1,400 each.

"As a commissioner, I'm convinced we should know about $14,000 worth of radios," Holmgren said. "This can't just go on. If we have 10 (old) radios out there, we can't find, we need to beat the bushes a little bit."

"I'm not sure we have them," Sund said. "In fact, I don't think we do."

Holmgren was concerned about past record-keeping.

"Apparently, our record-keeping was so lax we didn't know we were short 10 radios," he said.

Commissioners approved by a 2-1 vote the purchase of 10 Motorola XTS 2500 model portable radios as part of the process of closing out the rebanding and upgrade contract. Holmgren cast the dissenting vote.

In other business:

* Commissioners approved grant of the former county public works shop and 1.222 acres of land in Ellis to the Ellis Industrial Development Corp. The county also was successful in receiving a grant to conduct an environmental assessment of the property.

* Commissioners approved a contract with Kirkham Michael & Associates Inc., Ellsworth, to provide construction engineering on the High Risk Rural Road Project to improve safety conditions on the segment of Old U.S. Highway 40 between Yocemento and Ellis. Total cost is $8,800.

* Public Works Director Mike Graf reported to commissioners use of oil well salt water on roads as a dust control method is not an approved practice by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

* Commissioners approved a contract with L&M Contractors for the project to rehabilitate County Bridge 80, north of Ellis.

* Commissioners discussed with Ellis County Rural Fire Chief Dick Klaus difficulties he has encountered in bidding and purchasing tanker trucks for Rural Fire District No. 1. Commissioner Dean Haselhorst went on the Internet before the meeting and found trucks that might meet the county's needs, and passed information to Klaus.

* Commissioners OK'd transferring $15,000 from Rural Fire District No. 1 budget to the Special Fire Machinery fund.

* The commission was presented with the monthly health department report.

* Commissioners approved a resolution addressing 2013 annual salary and benefit adjustments for county elected officials.

* Commissioners approved a resolution establishing the 2013 salary, wages and benefit adjustments for non-elected union ineligible employees.

* Commissioners received a report on Sund's attendance at the annual fall conference of the Kansas Association of City/Council Management in Dodge City.

* Commissioners approved four cereal malt beverage license applications, three of them temporary. Granted temporary licenses were Big Creek Long Beards at the Ellis County Fairgrounds Jan. 25 and 26; Nic Baalman/Pro Motor Sports at the Ellis County Fairgrounds Jan. 19; Hays Baseball Association at the Ellis County Fairgrounds Feb. 15 through 17. Richard Guffey at Fort Hays Municipal Golf Course was approved an annual license.

* * *

In a special meeting Monday afternoon, commissioners approved a petition to vacate the segment of 230th Avenue between Grants Villa Road and Norfolk Road.