Commission to request 6-month waiver for new concealed carry law

LYNDON-The Osage County Commission took up several matters of courthouse operations Monday including directing the county counselor to write to the attorney general to request a six-month waiver on implementing a new state law that regulates prohibition of concealed carry firearms in public places.

Signed by Gov. Brownback in April, the new law requires local governments to allow people with concealed-carry permits to bring firearms into public buildings, unless the buildings have security measures such as metal detectors and security personnel at entrances. The law, which is to take effect July 1, allows local governments to request a waiver from the attorney general to postpone action until Jan. 1.

Talking about the new law Monday, Osage County Commissioner Ken Kuykendall said commissioners were of the opinion to have county counselor Caleb Crook write a letter requesting the six-month extension. Kuykendall said with the attorney general’s approval, the county will be able to temporarily avoid expenses related to increasing security at the courthouse, and keep the ban in place until January.

“This will allow us to prohibit [guns] for six months and keep the status quo for now,” Kuykendall said.

Crook said he had talked with Osage County Chief Judge Phillip Fromme, and he believed Fromme would support the commissioners’ request for an extension to implementing the new law.

“He told me he’d rather not have people carrying weapons in his courtroom,” Crook said. “He was very much in favor of the six-month extension.”

Crook said other stipulations in the law would allow the county to develop a security plan and possibly postpone implementing new security measures for up to four years.

In other courthouse operations discussion, Robert Duncan, the county’s technology employee, reported that problems continue with the courthouse’s heating and air conditioning system. The system was installed a few years ago as part of energy-saving renovations in the courthouse. The system, installed by Trane, of Lenexa, was plagued with problems that caused varied temperatures in different parts of the courthouse.

Duncan said problems continue with the system’s alarms, which are computer controlled, and he is unsure of how to respond.

He said that since the control of the system had been turned over to courthouse personnel, instead of controlled remotely by Trane, the county has been paying for a telephone line that hasn’t been used in the last year.

“$1,200 for a telephone service we didn’t need,” Duncan said.

He said he had previously contacted Trane “but it seems like I never had much positive response from Kansas City.”

He said he had recently contacted a Trane dealer from Wichita, Knipp Equipment Inc., and was advised the company could offer a service contract for about $4,000 a year to maintain the system. The company could update software on the system and ensure it is operating correctly, Duncan said.

Kuykendall suggested the company should be hired for one year to service the system and also train Duncan and Clark Thompson, courthouse maintenance supervisor, on its operation.

“Our intent and goal was to transfer that control to Clark’s office,” Kuykendall said.

“One of the problems with the first people in here – monkey business,” he said.

On Kuykendall’s motion, the commission approved entering into a one-year service contract with Knipp.

Duncan also questioned commissioners on whether he could contract with a company to check the courthouse’s computer network firewall. He said three hours of work would cost $450.

The commissioners agreed that if the work cost under $500, Duncan had authority to make the expenditure without commission approval.

While talking about notifying Crook of increased Internet usage at the courthouse, Duncan asked the commissioners whether his job duties should be defined.

“I don’t even have a job description telling me what my responsibilities are,” Duncan said.

Kuykendall said the courthouse also did not have an information technology policy.

Commissioners directed Crook and Duncan to work together to develop a job description for Duncan’s position.

Also during the meeting, the commissioners noted that effective June 10 the courthouse would be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., going back to the old schedule. Department heads are to determine lunch schedules for their employees. At the first of the year, the commissioners changed the opening time of the courthouse to 8:30 a.m. and set a half-hour lunch period. The commissioners reconsidered the change after a group of courthouse employees presented a petition asking that the hours be changed back.

In other business Monday, the commissioners discussed the Kansas Association of Counties’ statehouse county map project, which will install a marble floor map of the state in the new visitors center being built as part of the renovation of the Kansas Statehouse. Each Kansas county is encouraged to raise $1,000 to finance the construction. The commissioners agreed to urge local groups to become involved in the fundraising effort.

Contact us: Osage County News | P.O. Box 62, Lyndon, KS 66451 | [email protected] | 785-828-4994 | Powered by Osage County, Kansas