Commissioners accept administrator’s resignation

Alice Mannette

Ellis County commissioners accepted county administrator J.D. (Joe David) Cox’s resignation during their Monday meeting.

They did not state a time frame for hiring a new administrator. Cox started his position on July 1, 2020.

Cox confirmed last week to the Hays Daily News he was resigning from his position with the county after four months, calling it a mutual decision with the commissioners to part ways. He declined to comment further on his resignation.

Commissioners Dean Haselhorst, Dustin Roths and Butch Schlyer were all present at the Ellis County Commission meeting.

Community corrections

During the meeting, John Trembley, the community corrections executive director, announced his December retirement. Erin Geist will take over the position.

“I have some really big shoes to follow,” Geist told the commissioners.

Trembley asked the commissioners for money to purchase saliva drug test kits. These units keep the testing officers safe. They also give rapid results and test for the same 12 drugs urine tests do.

Panic buttons

Sheriff’s deputy Brian Shannon, safety committee chair, presented his findings to the commissioners regarding the county alarm system and the need for panic buttons at many facilities. The costs to modernize these systems and put in panic buttons range from $35,000 to $42,000, according to his report.

Shannon looked at several companies. Schlyer asked Shannon to look into annual management fees for these services and report back to the commission.

Solid Waste

Ellis County landfill foreman Vern Ruder presented the commissioners with the Solid Waste Review Annual Plan. The report states the county’s waste remains stable. In 2015, it was at about 11,200 tons and remained at that level in 2019.

The Ellis County Health Department currently offers a drop-off location for residents to drop off sharps at no charge. According to the report, neither the oil nor the wind energy industries made a significant increase in waste to the county.

Ellis County Health Services director Jason Kennedy asked permission to close the health office to visitors, due to COVID-19, if the need arises.

Small business applications for funding

The county encourages any small businesses who are in need of CARES Act funds to contact them by the end of this week.

Ellis County Commissioner Dustin Roths listens to Ellis County Health Services director Jason Kennedy speak during Monday's meeting.