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County commission to seek injunction in jail flap

Staff writer

The state fire marshal’s office is standing by its findings of Aug. 2 that Marion County Jail may hold no more than four inmates, but county commissioners want to take court action to prevent enforcement of the order to comply.

Sheriff Rob Craft told the commission of the fire marshal’s decision Monday. He said County Attorney Susan Robson would seek input from the Kansas attorney general.

Commissioner Dan Holub said he wanted to seek an injunction — court order — against the fire marshal, preventing the order from being enforced.

“It’s a sin not to speak up when you should,” Holub said.

Commission Chairman Randy Dallke agreed. He said the county needed to pursue an injunction and stand its ground.

“They’re already playing hardball, the way it looks,” Dallke said.

Commissioner Bob Hein said he wanted to talk with Robson about filing an injunction, but she was away for training and unavailable.

Craft said the four-inmate limit is misleading, because he must keep space available to make arrests. Two is a more realistic number of inmates that could be kept in the jail, and he questioned whether it would be worth keeping two inmates while transporting others out of county.

There were eight inmates in the jail Monday, Craft said.

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Commissioners will meet with Robson 8:30 a.m. Thursday.

Audit

Marion County’s small size is the source of many of the county’s accounting deficiencies, auditor Scot Loyd of Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd, LLC of McPherson said.

Segregation of duties continues to be a significant deficiency for the county he said. There are too many situations where one person is able to authorize, record, and make a transaction for the county. That is especially a problem for departments that have a lot of cash transactions.

However, many departments simply do not have enough people to sufficiently segregate those duties, Loyd said.

Other issues addressed included:

  • In 2009, the Economic Development Department’s bank statements were not reconciled every month.
  • Park and Lake Department did not always make timely deposits when business was slow.
  • The treasurer’s department had one daily deposit of more than $876,000. When the office is that busy, two deposits should be made each day, Loyd said.
  • Loyd also noted that the county had a statutory violation Dec. 31, 2009, when the county had $63,705 of unsecured deposits in banks. If the banks had defaulted, the county would have lost those deposits.

The audit found no cash-basis violations or budget violations, Loyd said.

In other business:

  • Commissioners met in closed session for 10 minutes to discuss workers’ compensation claims. No action was taken upon return to open session.
  • Road and Bridge Superintendent Jim Herzet met with commissioners in closed session for 5 minutes to discuss personnel. No action was taken on return to open session.
  • The county received two checks for a total of $21,871 from Richard Nickel as dividends from Employers Mutual Insurance Company.
  • Lloyd Davies of Great Plains Computers and Networking met with commissioners in closed session for 15 minutes to discuss network security. No action was taken on return to open session.

Last modified Sept. 22, 2010

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