At last week’s White Pine County Commission meeting, an agenda item to select a new chairman and vice chairman was presented and the decision was made to keep it status quo with Richard Howe serving as chairman and Travis Godon as vice chairman.
In other items discussed at the meeting, an agenda item to select a candidate to fill Seat 3 for the Hospital Board of Trustees was at the top of the agenda.
Four candidates had initially applied, but earlier in the week, candidate Pete Mangum withdrew his name for consideration. The other three candidates were Dr. Norman G. Christensen, Cozette Eldridge and Todd C. Wilkin, DDS.
Howe noted to the candidates that whoever is appointed will be required to file in March for the November election where this seat will be on the ballot for election. “Two additional seats will become available that will be termed out in addition to this one, seats that will be non-incumbent due to those seats being termed out,” Howe said.
Commissioner Shane Bybee made the motion to appoint Wilkin and Godon seconded the motion. Bybee said, “Rarely when we see a seat open up do we see this much quality for interest and it really speaks well to our community. It makes for a really tough selection though. I’ve given a lot of thought to these names, and I would like to make a motion to appoint Todd Wilkin to this spot.”
Godon said, “I would like to echo what you said Shane, I think any of these individuals to be selected would be great, but I tend to lean towards Todd just from the business aspect, and being on this board, and dealing with budgets and things, so I second that motion,”
The vote was unanimous for Wilkin to be appointed to seat 3.
White Pine County District Attorney James Beecher placed an item on the agenda for a one-year PERS buyout for Elizabeth Frances, finance manager, in exchange for Frances to change her notice of resignation to be July 1.
“This was something I put out to finish out our fiscal year with the Finance Manager, Elizabeth. With the new county manager coming on I thought it would be good to have some overlap,” Beecher said.
Beecher went on to explain that he understands that Frances wants to retire, “she has every right to, we’ve worked her to death, and although I totally understand this will gives us some cushion.”
Mike Wheable will be coming on board as the new White Pine County Manager in February to take on the extra duties that the finance manager has been doing, and as Wheable transitions in and she transitions out having Frances stay on until the fiscal year ends will make for a fluid transition.
“I had Elizabeth do a financial analysis, even though she had nothing to do with this and I want to make that clear,” Beecher said, explaining the cost savings being quite significant. “So in about a year and a half we will break even on what it would cost to do the buyout, to extend her to the end of fiscal year and what we would have paid her going forward.”
Godon said, “I would like to concur, and thank Elizabeth for staying with us, and James and Richard for the behind the scenes in making this possible and staying until July to help us.”
Commissioner Laurie Carson agreed saying that she appreciated Frances for staying on board and assisting with the transition of finding a new finance director.
Godon made the motion to approve the dollar amount of $50,071. Carson seconded the motion and it was approved unanimously.
Bybee said, “It really is greatly appreciated, and I think when we look at these figures, it’s not just the dollar and cents of it, it doesn’t reflect the wealth of knowledge during that time, and it is really a great benefit to everyone in White Pine County.”
Ratification of the reappointment by the City of Ely for Council Members to a list of various boards was up next. Jim Alworth was approved to continue on the Debt Management Commission, Board of Equalization and Regional Transportation Commission. Ed Spear was reappointed to the Local Emergency Planning Commission, and Kurt Carson to the Tourism and Recreation Board. But when it came time to approve the reappointment of Ernie Flangas to the Water Advisory Committee and the Soil Conservation District, Commissioner Carson voiced concerns.
“Mr. Chairman, I have some concerns about Mr. Flangas,” Carson said. “He has not attended any of those meetings, and I participate with both of those, the water board and soil conversation. Maybe we request someone else to be the liaison on behalf of the city.”
Howe suggested that the commission vote on everyone else, and vote no on Mr. Flangas. Beecher said, “You can make the motion to approve and then just reiterate what you have approved, and then make a second motion to request a different candidate for the two boards Mr. Flangas sits on.”
Carson made the motion to approve all councilman’s appointments but Flangas, and the motion was seconded by Commissioner Ian Bullis.
Bybee said, “Mr. Flangas has been on various boards, and served this community for a lot of years, and I know he’s had a lot of issues, but I have a hard time kicking a guy who’s having a lot of trouble, I would rather approve with a note of our concerns and we’d like to see him attend these meetings, and if he can’t we can find a suitable replacement.”
Carson said, “I thought long and hard about this but I have been on both of those boards, and I have talked to him personally, so I will agree to this, that’s the only reason—he has been asked, he has been talked to, and if he is not able to do it then maybe that’s a better way to go about it.”
Bybee suggested making an official request that Flangas be appointed but if he continues to not attend the meetings they ask for him to step aside and allow an appointment for someone else.
Carson apologized for her lack of sensitivity. Bullis amended his motion to make the appointments but with a written request that if Flangas is unable to attend due to dealing with medical issues or other reasons, it would be good to have that conversation. Carson amended her second as well, and it was approved unanimously.