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  • Last modified 17 days ago (Nov. 30, 2017)

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Why can’t you all just get along?

Staff writer

Two consultants from Wichita State University told county commissioners Monday they need to work on getting along better.

Misty Bruckner, director of Public Policy and Management Center and associate director of Hugo Wall School of Public Affairs, and John Waltner, former Harvey County administrator, met with commissioners for a planning session and commission retreat.

“We want to talk about how you work together and reach some of your goals,” Bruckner said.

Putting emphasis on the positive, Bruckner said commissioners showed “a remarkable amount of consensus” about what matters to the county.

Waltner earlier met individually with commissioners to hear their perspectives. He said part of the issue between commissioners is that two of them are new to the job.

Dianne Novak was elected a year ago and Kent Becker was appointed in February after the resignation of former commissioner Lori Lalouette.

“When you tell me you have trouble getting along with each other, you have trouble staying focused on issues, I’m not surprised by that,” Waltner said. “I would like to say I’m encouraged that that rockiness is something you don’t want to live with for long.”

Commission chairman Randy Dallke said it’s important to him to trust people.

Waltner said commissioners haven’t developed the comfort level they need. Transparency is also important, he said.

Waltner said commissioners need clear understanding about things, trust, transparency, a sense of how the commission does business, equal treatment of each other, and relationship with department heads.

Waltner said some counties assign certain department to certain commissioners.

Bruckner said the county existed long before these commissioners and will continue to exist long after.

“You have this finite amount of time,” Bruckner said. “What do you want to do with it?”

Bruckner said not only does the county have issues regarding how commissioners work together, there are issues with how its cities work together.

“The county really is the big one and they’re looking to us to lead them,” Novak said. “We’re failing them miserably.”

Bruckner asked if commissioners have priorities set for county projects.

Becker said they have priorities “but it’s not one, two, three.”

Novak said she likes setting priorities in order.

Dallke said all are important and he doesn’t want to necessarily set specific priorities.

Last modified Nov. 30, 2017

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