Archive for Wednesday, January 8, 2003

County Commission repeals employee unions

January 8, 2003

The Leavenworth County Commission repealed the Public Employer-Employee Relations Act (PEERA) on Jan. 2, which allowed county employees to establish unions.

PEERA was approved in 1996. However, commissioners unanimously approved abolishing the act because it had become an "administrative burden," said Joe Daniels, Leavenworth County commissioner representing the third district, which covers areas such as Basehor, Linwood and Tonganoxie.

"I felt like there was a lot of maintenance going into that and not a lot of gains," Daniels said.

By state statute, the repeal will not take effect until the next budget year ends, January 2004.

Representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Department, and the firefighters group covering the Emergency Medical Service, were on hand during the meeting.

Both sides opposed the action and asked commissioners to wait so both unions could have time to speak with members about the proposed repeal.

Union members said eliminating the bill could mean employee problems get handled individually instead of dealing with them as a whole.

Daniels said the action could be looked at as a cost-cutting initiative in light of recent state cuts to county budgets, but repealing the PEERA act was done more to free up administrators.

"It may result in (saving money)," he said. "But basically it was an administrative burden and that was it."

In other action, the County Commission:

  • considered a proposal from the city of Linwood and the state conservation service that would alter the water flow of Stranger Creek.

The proposal would entail placing weirs -- small dams inside a river or stream -- in the middle of Stranger Creek to keep water flow in the middle of the creek, off the banks and away from water wells, county officials said.

Both the conservation service and the city of Linwood would pay $10,000 a piece for the project. The County Commission was asked to donate the rocks for the project.

No action was taken on the proposal. It could be brought back before the commission in coming weeks.

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