County news

Dickinson County staff now has a written policy on gratuities and gifts.

The county commission approved on a 3-0 vote a policy that will take effect Jan. 1 at its regular meeting last Thursday.

“A ‘gift’ is any item, product, service, favor, gratuity or other benefit that is offered to a Dickinson County employee or to a member of the employee’s family by any person seeking a decision by, or relationship with the county,” the policy reads.

County Administrator Brad Homman said there has not been a policy in the past.

“Due to some events that have come up, we felt like we needed to have one,” he told the commissioners. “This policy basically specifies what is proper and what is not proper to accept as a county employee.”

He said door prizes or items received at a conference are exempt because they are drawn out and not specifically given to anyone.

“If it’s random and everyone has an option to receive it, then that is okay,” Homman said.

He said a lot of vendors, when an order is large enough, will include a gift.

“Those items are not the employees’ items,” he said.

Those items are given out as door prizes at in-service days.

“There has always been a common sense factor but also a rule of thumb this is what you do but specially this puts it in writing,” said Chairman Lynn Peterson.

Commissioner Ron Roller asked about the consequences of breaking the ethics policy.

Homman said that would be handled on a case-by-case basis.

He said it would be different if a vehicle was accepted versus a meal.

“A meal I get talked to by my boss, I might get a letter in my file. A car, I might get terminated,” Homman said. “It just depends on the situation.”

Homman also reported:

• Progress continues on the jail as concrete was being poured.

“The concrete truck is outside the window as we speak, pouring some foundations,” Homman said. “A lot of things are moving forward. The snow has not slowed them down much.”

• Marc Anguiano was promoted to assistant road and bridge superintendent.

He has been on the Dickinson County staff for 34 years.

“He has run our bridge crew for many years and it is because of his expertise that we can build our own bridges,” Homman said.

• An agreement with the Kansas 911 Coordinating Council has been reached to share resources and services with GIS at the state level.

Dickinson County will be reimbursed for half expenses of Sherry Massey, Dickinson County IT/GIS director, who is a member of the council.

“We are very pleased to be able to help out in that project. It’s a good project. We are more pleased to be compensated back for it,” Homman said.

• The heat exchanger on the roof of the jail failed.

“We tried to get by with that but it didn’t work,” Homman said.

Cost of the repair is about $3,000.

• One of two new ambulances arrived.

The new one is on a truck chassis instead of a van chassis.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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