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  • Last modified 68 days ago (Feb. 13, 2019)

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Director of aging leads in mileage claimed

Staff writer

Among county employees who claim monthly mileage reimbursement for use of their personal cars, Department of Aging director Gayla Ratzlaff’s reimbursements regularly come in at the top of the list.

Over the last four months, Ratzlaff has been reimbursed $695.24 for use of her personal car.

In comparison, health department director Diedre Serene was reimbursed $70.25 in the same time span; former county attorney Courtney Boehm was reimbursed $56.14; and county clerk Tina Spencer was reimbursed $168.10.

Spencer said mileage reimbursement is given at 58 cents per mile. That translates into 1,199 miles claimed by Ratzlaff.

Ratzlaff said she has “no idea” of the average number of miles she turns in each month.

“I go to the Senior Citizens of Marion County board, and I am an at-large member,” she said. “Right now this is tax season so I have been to Peabody to help with taxes. Usually it’s Hillsboro and Marion.”

Ratzlaff added that she belongs to various committees and goes to meetings outside the county; is a member of chronic disease organizations and attends meetings so she can teach classes on the diseases; and needs to maintain her social worker license.

“I have a lot of meetings that are quarterly or semi-annually,” she said. “I’m a licensed social worker, so I keep my license up. I go to workshops, but they always pertain to the elderly.”

The department owns two vans purchased several years ago with help from a Kansas Department of Transportation grant program in which the county no longer participates. One van seats seven and the other seats 13.

“They are meant only for taking people to doctors, or shopping, or wherever they are meant to go,” Ratzlaff said. “That was the sole reason for getting them. They have never in the history of this department been used for driving to Peabody or anywhere else.”

The vans are seldom used.

“People call and ask to be transported and we take them according to when they call,” Ratzlaff said. “I think on the average we have probably five trips a month.”

The smaller van is used to take people to medical appointments, and the larger van was purchased for senior center trips, which the department doesn’t arrange, she said.

“We don’t do that,” she said. “That’s all based on senior centers arranging trips.”

She said the Hillsboro senior center takes people on a trip each month.

To ride the van to a medical appointment, riders must be 60 or older and call 24 hours in advance. Ratzlaff denied there are limits on rides.

“We don’t have the staffing to do taking people to chemotherapy and radiation and dialysis, but if people have a regular doctor’s office or whatever, we take them,” she said.

Senior centers are separate from the department, Ratzlaff said.

“This department helps communities create senior centers,” Ratzlaff said.

Nutrition programs at senior centers are run by Flint Hills Area Agency on Aging.

“If senior centers have problems or whatever, they can come to me as a resource,” Ratzlaff said.

Last modified Feb. 13, 2019

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