Riley County commissioners changed leadership Monday in a routine move.

The board approved commissioner Marvin Rodriguez as chairman and commissioner John Ford as vice chairman.

Rodriguez was elected to the board in 2016, and his term expires January 2021. The Texas native attended Junction City High School and K-State. He has previously worked at American Building Co., United Parcel Service, Kansas Power and Light and USD 383.

Ford was elected in 2018, and his term expires January 2023.

The term for commissioner Ron Wells, who most recently served as chairman, will expire January 2021. He has announced that he’s running for re-election in November.

Fire equipment purchases

Riley County commissioners on Monday approved buying a fire truck water tank replacement and skid units for county firefighters.

One of the vehicles Riley County Fire District No. 1 firefighters use is a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck with a 2,500-gallon fuel tank modified to haul water. Pat Collins said the tank takes too long to drain water, about 10 to 12 minutes, so it is not practical to haul water to large fires.

“It worked all right just to fight grass fires, but that was all it could be used for,” Collins said. “...Our goal is to put a tank on it that we can dump quickly and move the pump up to the front.”

Collins also said the fire district needs two skid units, which are self-contained fire fighting apparatuses containing equipment like tanks, pumps and hoses, to add to new trucks scheduled to arrive later this month.

Collins said the fire district has been working with Weis Fire in Salina to obtain the new tank and skid units. The new tank will be about $60,000, and each new skid unit will cost $17,500. The fire district’s emergency vehicle budget will cover the purchases.

Collins said he also has applied for a $5,000 matching grant from the Kansas Forest Service to help pay for some of the cost of the skid units.

Wedel to retire

Riley County Planning and Development Director Monty Wedel will retire later this year.

His retirement will be effective Sept. 21.

Commissioners approved publicizing the upcoming vacancy on a number of websites, newsletters and in The Mercury.

County Human Resources Manager Cindy Volanti said the hiring committee hopes to hire someone by mid-August or early September, depending on how much training is needed.

Wedel will assist with the hiring process.

Wedel has served with the county for more than 35 years since 1984. Prior to that, he was a planning technician in Harvey County.