By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — The Reno County Board of County Commissioners agreed to cut its pay from $18,000 to $10,800 per year if the membership expands from three to five members. This was suggested by Commissioner Ron Sellers, because he believes more commissioners will mean less work for them as individuals.
"The time of the county commission to perform its role has been reduced," Sellers said. "I think our job has changed. The other commissioners might not share the view that our job has changed. It's the job of the county administrator now to administrate and manage the county. It's our job, as I see it, to be more like a board of directors, advising the county administrator on his role and the priorities."
Chairman Ron Hirst did not agree that the workload would become low enough to justify a pay decrease.
"We agree on lots of things," Hirst said. "I don't happen to agree with this particular item, because of the time involved. I still have lots of time involved and I think you do too, and I think Commissioner Friesen does. In order to advise and learn what the citizens are wanting, interested in and so forth, means we have to get out and visit and communicate with those folks."
Commissioner Daniel Friesen thought both of the other commissioners brought up good points, but he brought it back to who he believes all three of them ultimately answer to.
"Our boss, the public, generally doesn't like us getting paid much," Friesen said. "I don't know if its just that it's hard to conceptualize all of the work involved, or whether they just feel like the value isn't there. In that respect, I think that's the argument that's going to win the day for me, is that, if the public feels like we're being overly compensated already, and we're suggesting that we increase to five commissioners over three, I think it's reasonable, all things considered, to adopt this resolution."
The commissioners pay will stay the same if the number of commissioners stays the same. This resolution is contingent upon the board's expansion. The resolution was approved 2-1.