Shall we do the office shuffle?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Before anyone begins shuffling office equipment or files in the Bourbon County Courthouse, County Commissioners on Monday met with the heads of each office to determine the needs of each office.

The office shuffle was spurred by County Treasurer Rhonda Dunn, who is in charge of two offices -- the Treasurer's and Motor Vehicles offices, which are located on separate floors in the courthouse.

She talked to the commissioners about her idea on Jan. 6 and by the end of the week, rumors had spread that a state office located in the courthouse was being closed and files from another office were already being moved. Squelching rumors and attaining better communication was another reason for Monday's meeting.

"I have people working in two places," Dunn said. "I can't be efficient. There are days we're overworked on one floor and under worked on the other. If I had all my people together, I could better manage labor."

Dunn said she thinks the cubicle furniture located downstairs could be moved upstairs, and another Americans With Disability Act compliant piece could be added. She wants her employees cross-trained to help customers at all times.

"They could take the next customer in line, whether it be tax related or motor vehicle related and hopefully better manage our customers," Dunn said.

Along with moving furniture, Dunn said she also would like to update the office carpeting. She said she already has bids on the upgrades. Even though there is additional money available in the motor vehicle's budget, there won't be enough, so she will look at making the improvements in phases.

Dunn said she also has begun a conversation with the state about moving the driver's license office into her office. Her staff can handle everything but the driving tests, which could be done on the Tuesdays and Fridays when the driver's license staff normally works.

There was no representation from the Driver's License Office, which is open on Tuesdays and Fridays. Third District Commissioner Harold Coleman said he would like to see the office moved to a more secure location. Presently, the office is located in the hallway connecting the second floor lobby and the elevator, with the walkway going between the desk and the wall where people stand for their license photograph.

Dunn said she spoke with the two state employees, who said they would like to be relocated.

"They said they would move in a closet (if they have to)," Dunn said. "They want out of the hallway."

However, Dunn questions whether the driver's license office should be moved to the space where the motor vehicles office is.

"But they're only open two days a week. I don't know if it makes sense that's a prime real estate that should be used for something else that the citizens use," Dunn said.

Carla Nemecek, director for the Southwind Extension District, and Pat Simpson, office professional with the Southwind Extension District, attended the meeting. Nemecek said even though agents Ann Ludlum is retiring this week and Delta George has changed careers, the extension office will remain open and staffed. There will be an agent in the office at least four days a week, with Jennifer Murphy, Kathy McEwan, Nemecek, and Krista Harding on rotation.

"We'll be working with Pat and she'll be keeping us lined up," Nemecek said.

"We are kind of crowded," Simpson said.

She said agents could use a working space where they could put their programs together. Nemecek said there has been discussion with the agents about erecting cabinets and adding counter space "to kind of create some space with the space that we have."

Earlier conversations with Dunn including moving the Emergency Management director's office from the basement to the first floor, closer to the Geographical Information Systems office. Coleman asked GIS Coordinator Shane Walker how the EM basement office would be used.

"We're still going to have to have an EOC (Emergency Operations Center)," Walker said.

The goal, according to Walker, is to make Will Wallis, the newly hired EM director, more accessible to the public. The basement office would remain the EOC and the location for the Local Emergency Planning Commission meeting site. There are 22 people on the commission, with about 16 attending meetings regularly.

The need for storage space is an issue with many offices. County Clerk Kendell Mason provided each office manager with the Kansas State Historical Foundation website, which provides the laws for records retention. Some documents can be destroyed after a specified amount of time, but other records, such as assessment rolls and abstracts must be archived and can never be disposed, according to the website. The sheriff's office also has a lot of requirements regarding records retention, but the office was not represented at the meeting.

Some records are stored in individual offices, but others are in the courthouse basement.

Register of Deeds Deputy Lesley Herrin and County Appraiser Judy Wallis said their offices are in good shape as far as storage. County Clerk Kendell Mason said election equipment and documents are to be stored in a secured area.

"Every department needs to look up on the statute and see what the hold time is on their stuff, because there's a ton of stuff down there that we don't have to keep," Walker said. "We cleared out just tons of just junk."

Commissioners agreed before files are moved, each office needs to determine how much space is needed for the records they need to retain. They also recommended offices have records shredded instead of burned.

County Attorney Terri Johnson suggested looking into whether some documents could be digitally stored, instead of bulkier paper originals.

Before any office can be moved, Dunn needs to decide what she will do. She said she would report back to commissioners on Friday.

A second group meeting has been set for 11 a.m. Feb. 10.

Other county business

* Dunn reported 55.3 percent of the total taxes due was collected during the first half, and there was "just a little under a million dollars more collected this year compared to the same time last year."

* Commissioners held three executive sessions to discuss nonelected personnel to protect their privacy. A 15-minute session was held with Roads and Bridges Director Jim Harris. Another 15-minute session was held with only the commissioners and a five-minute meeting was held with Mason.

* Commission Chairman Allen Warren reported the county brought in a little more than $5,000 when it issued permits allowing a contractor to create two field entrances to provide access to oil storage tanks located west of Uniontown on Maple Road.