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Interim takes reins from ailing Paine

Staff writer

On the same day city administrator Larry Paine underwent surgery in a Topeka hospital, city council members appointed an interim administrator until Paine is able to return to work.

Mayor Lou Thurston told council members he and city attorney Josh Boehm met with Don Osenbaugh on Monday and believed he’d do a good job of overseeing city projects during Paine’s absence.

Osenbaugh, of Derby, spent 10 years as city administrator for Halstead, four years as assistant city manager at Derby, 12 years as director of finance for League of Kansas Municipalities, and has worked as a municipal consultant, municipal insurance trust administrator, and municipal consultant and city manager recruiter.

Thurston said Osenbaugh would be able to give the job about 15 hours per week, with one day spent in Hillsboro and the rest of his time working from Derby.

Osenbaugh will be paid $50 per hour and his time on days in Hillsboro will begin when he leaves home and end when he arrives back home.

Thurston said Osenbaugh’s attention will be spent on projects including a hospital sale, a water system upgrade, and a street project that goes along with the water upgrade.

“He’d be authorized to do all the duties of Larry, but due to limited hours, he’d be working on these projects,” Thurston said.

It is not known when Paine will be well enough to return to work.

“Larry was in surgery today and the word we have is that the surgery was successful and we’re anticipating him coming out of that today,” Thurston said.

Council members granted an extension of time to a homeowner whose house has needed repairs since a fire a year ago.

Warren Deckert, owner of the house at 311 S. Eisenhower St., was first notified in April that he needed to remove unregistered vehicles, old tires, debris, weeds, and construction materials from the premises and fill an open pit at the back of the house or the city would do the work and bill him $200 per hour.

In July, building inspector Ben Steketee, who inspected the property and considered it uninhabitable, turned the matter over to Boehm to begin condemnation procedures.

Three public hearings later, with steady progress being made but the work not yet completed, the council on Tuesday gave Deckert until March 16 to finish restoring the house.

In other business, council members:

  • Approved hiring Trevor Yost as a city firefighter.
  • Voted to hire Triplett Woolf Garretson law firm for the purpose of separating the old hospital from Salem Home. In November, Rural Health Partners, the majority stakeholder of CAH Acquisition Company #5, owners of the newly constructed Hillsboro Community Hospital, told the city they want to buy the old hospital portion to develop a local veterans’ treatment facility.

Last modified Feb. 7, 2018

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