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  • Last modified 106 days ago (Feb. 7, 2018)

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Treasurer gets dressing-down from commissioner

Staff writer

County treasurer Jeannine Bateman was in for an unpleasant surprise after giving commissioners a report on tax collections Wednesday.

Making his remarks in open meeting, commissioner Randy Dallke complained that Bateman is gone “half the time.”

Bateman suffered an injury last May when her leg was impaled by a tree branch while mowing grass. After surgery, she continues to need wound treatments three times per week.

Dallke said that when he wants to talk to her, she’s not always in the office.

“If I’m not in between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock, you’re not in,” Dallke said.

Dallke said he’d heard three complaints from county residents about experiences in the treasurer’s office. Two complainers are unhappy, and the other is furious, Dallke said.

“We’ve got some deficiencies that need to be addressed here,” Dallke told her.

Dallke said two people told him employees in the office weren’t helpful when they came to renew their driver’s licenses, bringing what they understood the state department of revenue told them to bring. They were told they didn’t have proper documents, he said.

“I’m telling you if it’s from sickness or whatever, we want to help you,” Dallke said.

Then Dallke turned his accusations directly to Bateman.

“I’m telling you, you’ve said a lot of things that have upset people a lot,” Dallke said. “Things like, ‘I’ve got to go home’ and ‘I’ve got some Christmas shopping to do.’”

Bateman said she’s still in treatment for her leg injury.

After delivering the scolding, Dallke asked commissioners Dianne Novak and Kent Becker if they had anything to add. Novak declined to add anything. Becker said the county would do anything it could to help her.

Bateman said later that Dallke’s scolding was “kind of like kicking you when you’re down.”

No matter how someone does their job, someone else will be unhappy, Bateman said.

“I’ve tried really hard to be here as much as I can,” Bateman said.

Kansas Association of Counties executive director Randall Allen said elected officials don’t answer to other elected officials.

“A county treasurer reports to the voters of the county, and not to any other statutory officer,” Allen said. “Clearly it’s in the best interests of the county and the residents of the county for there to be harmony among the elected public officials, and when they don’t have that, everyone suffers. Just as the commissioners are responsible to the voters who elected them, the treasurer is responsible to the voters who elected her.”

Last modified Feb. 7, 2018

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