By JONATHAN ZWEYGARDT
The Ellis County Commission approved a contract extension for County Administrator Phillip Smith-Hanes at Monday’s meeting.
Smith-Hanes’ current contract expires at the end of February 2018, and the new three-year contract will begin March 2018 and continue through February 2021.
According to County Counselor Bill Jeter, Smith-Hanes will receive a step increase on the general pay scale each of the three years of the contract.
Commissioner Dean Haselhorst praised the work that Smith-Hanes has done in his time as administrator.
“He’s done a very good job since the day he’s came,” said Haselhorst. “He found us a lot of cost -aving measures. He’s brought all the employees together, I believe, as team players with department heads.”
The commission also approved amendments to the collective bargaining agreement with the four employee unions. According to Jeter, who negotiated the agreements along with Haselhorst, the two issues discussed for 2018 were wages and changes regarding paid time off.
Pay increases will cost the county an additional $243,620 in 2018. The commission had previously budgeted for the increase.
The commission also voted to give raises to the employees not represented by the four unions in 2018. Under the changes, the majority of the non-union employees will be advanced one position on the general pay scale. They will also receive a 1-percent pay increase in September 2018.
The non-union employees are primarily management and confidential staff within Ellis County.
In other business, the commission agreed to provide a letter of support for Skywest Airlines to provide air service to expand air service to Chicago out of Hays through Salina.
Ellis County Election Officer Donna Maskus told the commission that due to the large number of write-in ballots, a special meeting will be held Thursday, Nov. 16 to canvass the election results.
The commission also authorized the Commission Chair to sign a grant proposal for the Ellis County Fire Department to purchase a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) filling station.
Commissioners also approved an agreement with the Kansas County Association Multiline Pool (KCAMP) for property and liability insurance coverage.
Commissioner Barb Wasinger was absent.