Sam Binter Tennis Complex

The Ribbon Cutting and Dedication hosted by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce was held Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at 5:30pm.

Among the guests in attendance was former Superintendent Sue Givens, along with current school board members and City Commissioners.  The tennis court project was a joint venture between the City of El Dorado and USD490.

Mayor Vince Haines and Superintendent Teresa Tosh shared remarks with the crowd before USD490 School Board President, Norm Wilks help Mayor Haines cut the ribbon.

Mayor Vince Haines and USD490 Board of Education President Norm Wilkes cut the ribbon at the dedication of the Sam Binter Tennis Complex located on North Main Street. 

Sam Binter, left, and USD490 Superintendent Teresa Tosh with the comparative plaque. 

USD 490 2019-2020 Board Appointments

While certainly not a new face at the USD 490 BOE meetings, Superintendent Teresa Tosh has been attending meetings since she was hired earlier this year.  However, this was her first monthly board meeting since assuming the helm from Sue Givens who retired at the end of June.  

During the meeting Kimberly Koop, Director of Information Services was recognized by the board for the BG Stadium Annual Report she submitted.  The report earned a National School Public Relations Award.  

Actions taken by the Board included the Reorganization of the Board of Education for 2019-2020.  A resolution to extend terms of current officers of the board was approved, as were board appointments. 

Those appointments were: 

Melissa Smith was appointed Clerk of the Board and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson was appointed Assistant Clerk of the Board

Director of Human Resources Lynda Sharp and Human Resources Assistant Sherry Bilson as KPERS Representatives

Wendy McAdoo as Board Treasurer for the 2019-2020 School Year 

Melissa Smith as District Food Service Program Representative

Kathy Robertson as Hearing Officer for Free and Reduced Meal Application Appeals

DeAnna Pierce, Elementary Assistant Principal as Local Consolidated Plan Coordinator

Norm Wilks as KASB Governmental Relations Representative

Heather Nichols as Representative to the Special Education Cooperative Board

Vicki Coash as the Ex Officio Representative to Partners in Education Foundation Board of Directors. 

Superintendent Teresa Tosh as the District Freedom of Information Officer

Director of Information Services Kim Koop as District Records Custodian

Norm Wilks and Tom Storrer as Board Representatives on the 2019-2020 Negotiations Team.

Tom Storrer to serve on the District Leadership Team for 2019-2020

Norm Wilks and Monty Hughey to serve on the Educational Facility Authority of Butler County for 2019-2020, with Tom Storrer as an alternate

2019-2020 School Site Councils Representatives:

Skelly Elementary School—Vicki Coash

Blackmore Elementary School— Sharon Waugh

Grandview Elementary School— Monty Hughey

El Dorado Middle School—Heather Nichols 

With the 2019-2020 school year beginning on Tuesday, August 13the for grades PreK-6 and 9 and Wednesday, August 14th for grades 7, 8, and 10-12, walk-in enrollment begins on August 5th.  New Teacher Orientation will be held that day as well and an all-staff meeting will be conducted on August 6th.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held on Monday, July 29th at the DIstrict Office.  


NLRB Hears Allegations Against SBA

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held a hearing at the Butler County Judicial Center involving charges made against Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital by former employees, Lori R. Dashner and Gay Kimble.

 The NLRB was created in 1935 by Congress to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the law that governs relations between labor unions and employers whose operations involve interstate commerce. 

Dashner and Kimble, who were terminated within an hour of one another, claim they were illegally terminated and they were fired as a result of “Concerted Activities.” 

Alan Rupe, attorney for Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital (SBA), noted in his opening statements that some of the employee activities fell under protected concerted activities.  However, he added the employees were not terminated for those activities. 

In an official statement released by SBA, they contend the employees were terminated as a result of safety and security breaches.  

“Susan B. Allen Memorial Hospital maintains that it operated within the guidelines of the National Labor Relations Act. All personnel decisions are made with the intent to protect the safety of the patients and employees at SBA.”

According to the NLRB, under the protection of concerted activities, employees have the right to act with co-workers to address work-related issues in many ways.  Examples include: talking with one or more co-workers about wages and benefits or other working conditions, circulating a petition asking for better hours, participating in a concerted refusal to work in unsafe conditions, openly talking about pay and benefits, and joining with co-workers to talk directly to the employer, to a government agency, or to the media about problems in [the] workplace. [An] employer cannot discharge, discipline, or threaten for, or coercively question about, protected concerted activity.  A single employee may also engage in protected concerted activity if he or she is acting on the authority of other employees, bringing group complaints to the employer’s attention, trying to induce group action, or seeking to prepare for group action. However, [employees] can lose protection by saying or doing something egregiously offensive or knowingly and maliciously false, or by publicly disparaging [the] employer’s products or services without relating complaints to any labor controversy.

The complaints filed by Dashner and Kimble cited Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act which makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” 

Employers are restricted from the following actions:

  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences, such as closing the workplace, loss of benefits, or more onerous working conditions, if they support a union, engage in union activity, or select a union to represent them.
  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is “concerted” if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is “protected” if it concerns employees’ interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act’s protection through misconduct.)
  • Promise employees benefits if they reject the union.
  • Imply a promise of benefits by soliciting grievances from employees during a union organizing campaign. (However, if you regularly solicited employee grievances before the campaign began, you may continue that practice unchanged.)
  • Confer benefits on employees during a union organizing campaign to induce employees to vote against the union.
  • Withhold changes in wages or benefits during a union organizing campaign that would have been made had the union not been on the scene, unless you make clear to employees that the change will occur whether or not they select the union, and that your sole purpose in postponing the change is to avoid any appearance of trying to influence the outcome of the election.
  • Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers’ union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.)
  • Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects.
  • Poll your employees to determine the extent of their support for a union, unless you comply with certain safeguards. You must not have engaged in unfair labor practices or otherwise created a coercive atmosphere. In addition, you must (1) communicate to employees that the purpose of the poll is to determine whether the union enjoys majority support (and that must, in truth, be your purpose); (2) give employees assurances against reprisal; and (3) conduct the poll by secret ballot.
  • Spy on employees’ union activities. (“Spying” means doing something out of the ordinary to observe the activity. Seeing open union activity in workplace areas frequented by supervisors is not “spying.”)
  • Create the impression that you are spying on employees’ union activities.
  • Photograph or videotape employees engaged in peaceful union or other protected activities.
  • Solicit individual employees to appear in a campaign video.
  • Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act.
  • Deny off-duty employees access to outside nonworking areas of your property, unless business reasons justify it.
  • Prohibit employees from wearing union buttons, t-shirts, and other union insignia unless special circumstances warrant.
  • Convey the message that selecting a union would be futile.
  • Discipline or discharge a union-represented employee for refusing to submit, without a representative, to an investigatory interview the employee reasonably believes may result in discipline.
  • Interview employees to prepare your defense in an unfair labor practice case, unless you provide certain assurances. You must communicate to the employee the purpose of the questioning, assure him against reprisals, and obtain his voluntary participation. Questioning must occur in a context free from employer hostility to union organization and must not itself be coercive. And questioning must not go beyond what is needful to achieve its legitimate purpose. That is, you may not pry into other union matters, elicit information concerning the employee’s subjective state of mind, or otherwise interfere with employee rights under the Act.
  • Initiate, solicit employees to sign, or lend more than minimal support to or approval of a decertification or union-disaffection petition.
  • Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities.

After two days of evidentiary hearings, the judge gave both sides an August 6th deadline to present briefs for his consideration.  A decision is not expected until later this year. 


Noise Complaint from Neighbor of Wichita PD Officer

At the most recent Board of Butler County Commissioners meeting, Butler County resident of Douglass, Jeff Runyon appeared before the Board during the “Public Comments” to appeal for help in resolving a long-running nuisance with neighbor who is a Wichita Police Department Officer.

Citing the near daily running of 4-Wheelers, Mr. Runyan expressed his frustration with the noise pollution. “These are not regular four wheelers, they are racing bikes with hardly any mufflers [and] has gone on for 5 years.”  He stated the noise level has increased each year.

He presented a specific incident when he called the Sheriff’s office. On October 1, 2016, the noise began at 8a in the morning and continued all day. From his home, half a mile away, he documented the noise with a decibel meter at 79 decibels. After canister fireworks went off, he called the Sheriff, it was approximately 10:30p.  Once the Sheriff’s deputy had left, Mr. Runyan heard individuals get back on the bikes and make comments such as “take that.”

In addition to the disruption to daily life, he noted “You can’t do anything without wondering when and where it’s going to start up.” Also, he has witnessed that the behavior is harassing wildlife.

Pleading with the Commission, he asked for serious help in putting together a noise resolution that can be enforced. “It is obnoxious behavior.  Where’s our rights and what can we do?”

“[Mr. Runyan] is not only one in that area complaining”  stated Commissioner Woydziak “We need to look at an enforceable law.”

Sheriff Kelly Herzet can not currently issue a ticket according to Butler County Attorney, Darrin Devinney.  He presented the challenges to prosecution under the active ordinance. It is an undetermined misdemeanor imposing a $500-$2000 fine for a first offense as a Class A misdemeanor.

Some of those challenges include the need for standardized equipment to enforce, as well as the cumulative effect of sound as a problem. Mr. Devinney asked, “Do we [prosecute] the land owner or all the parties? We have talked about this at length.  Sheriff Herzet and David Alfaro have spoken with Mr. Runyan regarding the remedies available to him.”

Sheriff Herzet has been accumulating sound ordinances violation for several years and this situation has been well documented.

Commissioner Masterson asked if a decibel level is set within the current ordinance and it was identified as limiting the allowable decibel level.

With respect to obtaining standardized equips for the department, he stated, “A decibel meter is not too expensive.” Sheriff Herzet outlines the actions he has taken. “What I’ve done is I have reached out. This guy is a Wichita police officer. Made contact … to let him know we’re on a complaint.” Sheriff Herzet added, “I like riding motorcycles but not from 8a-10p.”

County Administrator, Will Johnson informed the Commission that the complaint of out of season fireworks is currently enforceable.

The Commission determined to investigate how to amend the ordinance.

Disaster Declaration Extended for Butler County

Keri Korthal, Director of Emergency Management, appeared before the Board of Butler County Commissioners on Tuesday, May 28th to request an extension of the Disaster Declaration due to the fact that Butler County experienced another round of heavy rainfall and stormy weather.

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

The state has established the dates of April 28 and ongoing, at this time, to ensure everything possible is included before they go forward with a Presidential Declaration. There is already an estimated $2 million in damages from the first wave of storms.

The Commission voted to approve the extension for another seven (7) days.

With the announcement that President Trump approved Governor Kelly’s request for a disaster declaration, Director Keri Korthals and the Emergency Management team is starting to field questions about what that means for Butler County, and unfortunately, the information that’s out there is a little sparse at the moment; other than the message that Butler County is included.  So, Korthals shares with us what it means. “Does it indicate that FEMA funds will begin flowing into our county to repair roads and rebuild houses? Well, no, not exactly.”

Photo by Chad Wittenberg

According to Korthals, “There are actually two types of declarations that our Governor can request for our state’s current situation: an Emergency Declaration (the one Kansas received) and a Major Disaster Declaration (the one that’s often referred to as a ‘Presidential Disaster Declaration’).”

“An Emergency Declaration,” states Korthals, “provides federal money for those immediate life/health/public safety activities that jurisdictions have been (and are still) conducting: sandbagging, performing water rescues or search and rescue, barricading roads, opening emergency shelters, clearing hazardous debris. It won’t do anything that’s considered a longer-term fix, i.e. rebuilding a road or repairing a flood damaged building.”

Additionally, “The Kansas Division of Emergency Management (KDEM) has been meeting with all of the counties that have been impacted by this month’s storms and flooding, and they’re collecting the facts and figures that would support a Major Disaster Declaration.  They have already visited Butler County and gotten our information, but last we heard, they were still working their way through their massive list of locally-declared counties. When all their information has been compiled, then Governor Kelly can make a decision on requesting a Major Disaster Declaration.”

Korthals advises, “Be aware that these declarations sometimes only provide for road/bridge/building/infrastructure help for governments, like cities and townships, not private citizens. Definitely check the fine print.”

Learn more about FEMA disaster declarations.

Parking Lot Issue of Public Safety

Director of Facilities Management, Dan Ingalls, appeared before the Board to request that bids be sought for the demo and replacement of the concrete parking lot at Augusta Public Safety Building.

In 2015, the parking lot at the Augusta Public Safety Building started to show signs of aggregate displacement at the concrete joints.

Augusta Public Safety Parking Lot
Parking lot at the Augusta Public Safety Building

Aggregate displacement is what happens when salt and or other corrosive materials gets in the cracks or joints of concrete and starts to break down the concrete.  This deterioration of the parking lot will continue. Epoxy was used in an attempt to stop the process but it had zero results. The request was approved.

Darryl Lutz, Director of Public Works, presented a request for final action on the right-of-way acquisition of Little Walnut River Bridge on SE Chelsea (Cole Creek) Road.  The Little Walnut River Bridge Project has 4 tracts of permanent right-of-way and 1 tract of temporary easement. In order to alleviate a concern of the property owner about trespassing, a portion of the proposed right-of-way for channel improvements has been changed to permanent drainage easement. A permanent drainage easement will allow the County to have access for long term maintenance, but, does not allow for public access. Additionally, the County will build a new fence to replace the existing fence.  The purchase and dedication request was approved.

Brian Riley of Integrated Plastics Solutions (IPS)
Brian Riley updating the Commissioners on the clean up progress at IPS.

Mr. Riley from Integrated Plastics Solutions (IPS) appeared before the Board to give an update on the cleanup progress at the property.   “We are processing … materials, hauling materials out.” Riley stated. He informed the Commissioners that they have taken four trips to the landfill and have 7 rolloffs loaded to go.  He will be back on April 16th give share another update.

Vouchers, adds and abates were approved.

Other items of business discussed was the resignation of Rosalia Township Treasurer, David Johnson.  The Rosalia Board recommended Matt Dragoo as the replacement. His appointment was approved by the Board of Butler County Commissioners.

The next meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 09, 2019 at 9:00 AM at the historic Butler County Courthouse, 205 W. Central Ave., on the 4th Floor.  It is open to the public.


Failure to Appear Fines; Imprisonment

The City Commission heard a proposal for a municipal code amendment regarding “Failure to Appear” and the option of providing community service, in lieu of fines, at the meeting on March 18th.  The Commission asked staff to revisit the community service portion. Police Chief Zieman spoke to the Commission on the topic of community service and informed them that it is required to be offered as an option, per the insurance company.   Should someone be charged with “Failure to Appear,” there is the possibility of $500 fine, 6 months imprisonment or both.

The City Attorney and Prosecutor are working on a new amendment for community service and it will be brought back to the Commission at a later date.  The amendment pertaining to the Municipal Court “Failure to Appear” was approved.

Jack Ryan-Feldman, with Springsted Financial Advisors, reported on the bids on opened for the Series 2019 A Series improvement bonds  The winning bid was from The Baker Group for $2.83 million bond amount with 2.605% interest rate. With 10 bidders, Mr. Ryan-Feldman stated this was the highest number on record for El Dorado bonds.  An Ordinance providing for the Issuance of general obligation bonds was approved. A resolution describing the details connected with the sale of the bonds was also approved.

City Commission and Advisory Board updates were provided and City Manager David Dillner shared the list of appointed board positions open.  They include the Airport Advisory Board, the Convention and Tourism Committee, the Planning Commission, the Recreation Board, and the Sales Tax Committee.  If you are interested in serving on one of these committees, talk to a City Commissioner or download an application from the City website.

Mr. Dillner also reminded the Commission that next week, April 8-12, is Spring Clean Up Week in El Dorado.  It is recommended to have your trash at the curb on your collection day by 7a and to not put trash out any earlier than 24 hours in advance.  This is to reduce the chance of wind blowing it into the streets. He also noted that scavenging is NOT allowed. All trash must be in disposable containers and the containers must not exceed 25lbs.   Limbs and E-Waste (Small TV’s, VCR’s, Microwaves, Computers etc.) are accepted.  Items NOT accepted include (but are not limited to): Large furniture (i.e. couches, recliners, mattresses etc.), appliances, air conditioners, tires, batteries, hazardous materials, construction materials, leaves or grass.  For More Information, Call City of El Dorado Public Works Department,  322-4481.

Fire Captain Troy Jellison at the recent First Responder Appreciation Dinner.

Before ending his remarks, Mr. Dillner acknowledged the recent achievement of El Dorado Fire Department Captain Troy Jellison, who just completed a multi-year, National Fire Academy Training.

The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 15, at 6:30p in the City Commission Room at City Hall and is open to the public.