The Dickinson County commissioners and other county employees gathered one last time on Dec. 30 for their regular meeting. 

During the work session, Brad Homman, county administrator, and Janelle Dockendorf, county finance director, brought a scope change log and finance worksheet for the courthouse renovations and new jailhouse. Homman said he wanted to address concerns he has heard from community members about unnecessary spending on the project. Both Homman and Dockendorf said they disagree with those concerns.

“I would venture to say there is absolutely nothing on this list that is frivolous, excessive and is not warranted. I would challenge anybody to go through to find something that is,” Homman said. 

Cindy Macdonald, clerk of the county’s district court, attended the work session to explain how there were no applicants for the open magistrate position. Macdonald said one of the issues is the relatively low salary. 

“District magistrate judges get paid about half of what the district judges get paid. So most attorneys, they don’t want to apply for it. They would rather go for a district judge position,” Macdonald said. 

Another issue Macdonald said is the requirement for magistrates to live in the county they serve in, according to Kansan law.

“So I’m not sure if those laws were created way back when, when we didn’t have Zoom, we didn’t have Facetime, we didn’t have the ability for judges to sign search warrants on an iPad,” Macdonald said. “I honestly think the laws need to be changed, but that’s unfortunately not up to me.”

 She said the 8th Judicial District Nominating Commission will meet on Jan. 7 at 9 a.m. to discuss how to reopen and advertise the opening of the magistrate position. 

During the regular meeting, the commissioners passed two county budget amendments for the Detroit sewer system operations fund and the diversion fund. Dockendorf said both budgets paid for expenses that were higher in price than she expected. The first was the purchase of a shed for the mower and equipment the sewer district owns. The second was body cameras for the city of Chapman and the county sheriff’s department. The Detroit sewer system fund increased from $5,000 to $12,000, and the diversion fund from $22,000 to $30,000.

Homman said during his weekly recap that an inmate in the county jail broke off a sprinkler head the night of Dec. 29. The sprinkler system flooded the cell and went into the kitchen and booking office. Homman said he is communicating with an architect to find a replacement sprinkler head that cannot be broken. 

 

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