Former commissioner speaks; commission changes rules
Dianne Novak returned to the county commission Monday — this time as a private citizen, complaining that all elections should be counted by hand to prohibit tampering.
Commissioners responded by expressing unwillingness to listen to future citizen concerns without knowing in advance what the topic might be.
Novak had been scheduled to discuss a “citizen concern.”
“You’re all excited to see me again,” she said when she appeared at the meeting.
She then talked about a possibility of election fraud caused by malicious software interacting with modems on ballot-counting equipment to hack information.
“It’s illegal to have a modem on a vote-counting machine in Kansas,” commissioner David Crofoot said later.
Novak went into a lengthy and detailed discussion about emails she had exchanged with the Kansas secretary of state and left information with commissioners.
Later in the meeting, commissioners voted to require anyone who wants to be on the agenda to state in advance what they want to talk about.
County counsel Brad Jantz said many counties required people to say in advance why they want to be on the agenda.
Doing that avoids letting someone say something inappropriate for a public meeting and having to stop them.
“This is a business meeting, not a town hall where anyone can come up to speak and we let them,” Jantz said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to require members of the public to state what they want to talk about.
In other business, the county health department soon could have a new director after commissioners voted 4-1 to make an offer to a candidate who interviewed for the job.
The candidate was not named during Monday’s meeting.
The vote was 4-1 with Kent Becker abstaining because he was not part of the interview process.
McPherson County Rural Water District No. 1 chairman Joe Ryan talked to commissioners about needed rehabilitation of equipment in the water district.
The district was found in violation by the state department of health.
Some Marion County residents are served by the district, Ryan said.
Work is expected to put significant financial burden on the district, although the district plans to apply for grants to help defray the cost.
“We’ve got a $1.5 million project going and aren’t going to put all that on you,” Ryan said. “We have constituents in the area. We want to help them.”
This project would replace an existing chlorination building, rehabilitate three wells to ensure adequate flow and pumping capabilities, and install a new water storage standpipe.
It is expected to take two years.