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Leadership program to rise from the ashes

Staff writer

A program designed to develop leaders in the county will rise from the ashes after county commissioners voted to once again get the ball rolling.

Leadership Marion County previously operated from 1989 to 2011 and then from 2013 to 2014.

At one time it provided leadership training under Marion County Economic Development Council. After the council dissolved, it was run by then-county economic development director Teresa Huffman.

Angie Tatro, executive director of Central Kansas Community Foundation, told commissioners Monday that funding for the program was given to the county in 2009.

“Kansas Health Foundation seeded the funds in the county for us to manage,” Tatro said. “There’s a lot of flexibility built into the program of how the funds can be used.”

Tatro said also the leadership program allows communities to develop their own programs, and she wants to see the program restart in the county.

Racquel Theisen, director of the Kansas Leadership Council, said she works her job centers on group governance.

“We provide training and support for people who do local programs,” Theisen said.

She said she helps groups find best practices.

“We won’t ever say this is how you have to do it,” she said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke said he remembers that everyone in the last class had a project.

Commissioner Kent Becker said he remembers it being a program with a lot of vitality to it, “and then it was gone.”

“I think it might be a good idea to start it again,” Becker said.

Becky Nickel, affiliate liaison for Central Kansas Community Foundation, said she will be involved with the program to include representation from each community with a community foundation.

Thiesen said she would meet with a team of interested people to help identify next steps and develop the program.

She said also that a restarted program would have nuances that would not be the same as the former program.

“I think it is viable, I think it would help the county to grow,” commissioner David Crofoot said.

Crofoot said the county does have access to money remaining from when the county earlier had a program, and that could be used to help restart the program.

Huffman removed remaining funds from Leadership Marion County’s account in 2016 and in May 2018, deposited the money into her own bank account.

She later repaid the money to the county as part of a criminal case against her.

Dallke said commissioners will have to find people who will work as a team.

“If it’s anything else but a team, it’s not going to work,” Dallke said.

“An important consideration with today’s CLPs is that participants are exposed and made aware of what’s happening in the county and provided leadership development training so the county can make progress on issues that are most challenging,” Theisen said.

Last modified March 4, 2021

 

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