Vargo, Volanti to deal with health dept. issues while it’s sans director

By Maura Wery

Any personnel issues that arise in the county health department while a search continues for a new director will be resolved outside the department itself, county commissioners determined Thursday.

Commissioners made that decision following a discussion with human resource manager Cindy Volanti. The decision takes effect with the April 2 resignation of Susie Kufahl as department director, and continues until a new director is identified.

Volanti said department supervisors were unsure how to make decisions on issues such as personnel and hiring. For that reason, commissioners directed Volanti and county clerk Rich Vargo to be the interim authorities on such issues.

Volanti told the commission that the only vital position needed was an advanced practice registered nurse. She said that after the first round of applications, she and Kufahl had decided to re-advertise the position. The supervisor for that position and the interim primary care provider, Dr. Cary Herl, will oversee the application process with Volanti signing off on any hiring recommendation that ensues.

At the same meeting, commissioners approved a motion to change the name of the health board to the Riley County Public Health Council. Commissioners cited concerns about public confusion about whether the health board supervised the health department.

Commissioners thought the name change might help clarify the commission’s authority over the department. County Counselor Clancy Holeman said he will take a draft resolution changing the language of the board’s name to the next board meeting as to “not hit them without telling them first.”

Three large mortgages in Riley County

Riley County register of deeds Debbie Regester reported three large mortgages have been filed in the first few months of the year, two of them over $10 million.

Regester said the mortgages are for the $12 million Bluemont Hotel, an $11 million apartment complex on the west side of Scenic Drive named Scenic Meadows and another $1 million mortgage.

Regester said last year they had four mortgages around this time but the largest only amounted to $2.5 million.

“It’s a lot of good news,” said Commissioner Bob Boyd about the mortgages.

The discussion also prompted some talk about whether the area around Scenic Drive is becoming so populated that it needs to be annexed by the city. Public works director Leon Hobson said the area was doing fine traffic-wise with the increase in numbers.

Commissioner Ron Wells agreed but thought that the commission should keep “ahead of the curve,” when it comes to that area and whether it needs to become four lanes or to be annexed.


Auction of county items

Riley County will be auctioning off some of its surplus items. Hobson said the county has about 30 items it is looking to auction off from various departments. Hobson said that the auction will be officiated by Purple Wave Auctions. The proceeds will go back into an auction fund that can be placed into either the general or CIP funds if desired by the commission. The main items for auction are equipment and vehicles and the full list of items will be advertised on the Riley County website before the auction is set.

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