Scranton hires police chief

Gabe Faimon
| Reporter

SCRANTON—After more than four hours of discussion during the Scranton City Council’s May 4 meeting, Scranton Mayor David Barnes announced the appointment of a new police chief. The council also approved the appointment of an assistant city clerk during the meeting.

Over half of the meeting was held in executive session to interview three police chief candidates and for other personnel matters. Prior to adjournment, Barnes announced appointment of Larry Alexander as police chief, pending a psychological evaluation. Alexander’s compensation was set at $15.50 per hour, plus a $1,000 stipend for moving expenses.

The council opened the meeting with a work session to interview the three applicants, Alexander, Greg Cook and James Huff, who were finalists for the position. During the series of executive sessions, the council took a break to provide candidates an opportunity to view the police department’s office and equipment.

Two other executive sessions were held with two current city employees present – Bobi Morris, city clerk, and Scott Lester, maintenance supervisor. Also present during the executive sessions was city attorney Todd Luckman.

Upon returning to open session, no official action was taken by the council until the end of the meeting when Barnes announced the appointments. Also appointed was Christi Miles as part-time city treasurer and part-time assistant city clerk, with compensation set at $9 per hour.

In other discussion during the meeting, the firm providing design and management services for the city’s sewer upgrade project, BG Consultants, Inc., presented a preliminary project map to the council. During its April 20 meeting, the council had requested a map to aid the city in planning for summer street maintenance.

Referring to information that had been developed from analysis of video inspection of the sewer system, Sam Johnson and Thaniel Monaco, of BG Consultants, said the map illustrated preliminary plans for various types of work, particularly where open trench excavation would be conducted.

Reviewing the map, Barnes requested Lester’s participation to discuss street locations that could be affected by excavation.

During discussion of the map, Barnes asked Lester, “Why were we filling in ruts done by Mayer?”

Mayer Specialties is the company that conducted the video inspection of the sewer.

Lester replied that he understood an arrangement had been made with Mayer Specialties to clean out a lift station, and in exchange for the extra work, the city would fill ruts that were made to gain access to the lift station.

Scranton City Council Member Jack Mayfield asked, “How did the lift station get cleaned without us knowing about it?”

Scranton City Council Member Eddie Lester replied that the matter had been discussed during the last meeting with BG Consultants representative and project manager, Pat Cox.

Johnson said he would pass Mayfield’s concern to Cox, and Barnes said he would contact Cox to discuss the issue.

In reporting progress on the project, Johnson said the manhole inspection has been completed.

“Bidding documents should be ready in approximately a month to month and a half,” Johnson said.

Monaco added, “Review of easement files is nearly complete. Most of the locations where access will be needed are covered by easements.”

Also during the meeting, while reviewing bills for payment, Lester questioned, “Why are we paying for no-shows to fire school?”

“We should not be paying for people who don’t go to training,” Barnes said.

During discussion of the issue, Luckman agreed to develop a contract that establishes that if a city official does not attend or complete training as specified, the official is responsible for any registration and training fees the city had paid in advance.

In other business, the council:

• approved Barnes’ reappointment of: Michael Coffman as municipal judge; Luckman, city attorney; Kenneth Croucher, fire chief; Morris, city clerk; Scott Lester, maintenance supervisor; The Osage County Herald-Chronicle, official newspaper; and Kansas State Bank, official depository. The council tabled discussion of compensation for reappointed officials.

• discussed an abandoned structure at 604 S. Burlingame. Luckman agreed to contact Jim Jones, public officer, to determine Jones’ intent to reach closure on the issue.

• approved expenditure not to exceed $200 for fire department purchases.

•  authorized advertising to recruit applicants with a valid commercial drivers license for the position of city maintenance worker.

• authorized acquiring a cell phone for Scott Lester.

• approved expenditure not to exceed $30 for purchase of one dozen lithium batteries for police department flashlights.

• approved Scranton City Council Member Gary Deshazer’s attendance at the annual Kansas Municipal Utilities board meeting and dinner, and the Kansas Municipal Energy Association meeting, to be held May 12 and 13 in Wichita.