Two area councilmen were appointed to the board of Johnson County Fire District #1 at the March 4 meeting of the BOCC.
Ron Conus, Edgerton city council, was appointed to serve on the board thru July 1, 2023.
“I really appreciate that [Councilman] Ron Conus was approved to serve on the fire district’s expanded board,” said Don Roberts, mayor. “Since he’s retired from FEMA, his experience will be a great asset for the fire district and the community of Edgerton.”
Randy Gregorcyk, Gardner city council, was appointed to serve on the board thru July 1, 2023.
Prior to Gregorcyk’s appointment, it was mentioned in open session that the leadership team for the City of Gardner had sent a letter requesting that the BOCC postpone the appointment.
“We’ve determined that the Mayors of Edgerton and Spring Hill were consulted in the selection or pending selection of their city’s council representative for the fire board, while Gardner Mayor Steve Shute was not,” the letter reads. “We have yet to receive a valid explanation of why this disparate treatment occurred.” The letter is signed by Shute, Todd Winters, council president, and Mark Baldwin, council vice president.
“We ask that the county commission postpone the selection of a representative from Gardner’s city council until the governing body has an opportunity to discuss and reach a consensus on the best councilperson to nominate for this position,” the letter continues. “We do not believe the manner in which this current nomination was determined is reflective of the good relationship and communication the city and county have developed over many years and it is not consistent with the transparency we have come to expect between our elected bodies. Granting our request would help to restore confidence in that relationship.”
Gregorcyk said he did not expect the objection. “No, my expectation was of support, considering the council provides representation of our community and this appointment by the county commissioner, provides another great opportunity for representation,” he said.
After receiving a copy of the letter, Gregorcyk said, “My first reaction is the reference to the leadership team – I look forward to discussing at the next council meeting and suggest this term not be used, considering all council members (on behalf of the citizens) make up the leadership team, versus the three of them, remembering the only reason for the position of president and VP is to ensure the orderly conduct of meetings in the absence of the mayor and succession, if the mayor can no longer serve.”
Further Gregorcyk said he appreciates his appointment by Shirley Allenbrand, county commissioner, and said he believes it is an opportunity to represent the city and work with surrounding communities such as Edgerton in District 6.
“My priority is to provide the City of Gardner representation and to ensure we are supporting fire, life safety with reasonable funding,” Gregorcyk said.
According to Shirley Allenbrand, 6th district commissioner, with the contemplated provision for contracted service for Johnson County Fire District No. 2, the service area of Fire District #1 will significantly expand.
“Increasing the number of governing board members from three to five will provide additional representation for the patrons of the fire district; growing in geographic area, population, and complexity of operation,” said Allenbrand. “This board expansion also more closely aligns Fire District #1 in board size with the other two rural fire districts.”
“Also, I wanted to add that the commissioner has the right to make  appointments as long as they live within the district more three years,” Allenbrand said. “It’s my personal policy to have the person fill out not only a application but also attached a resume if they have one. I am looking forward in working with Fire District # 1 Governing Board.”
An e mail sent inviting comment from Shute was not answered by press time.
Although Gardner’s letter references an appointment from Spring Hill, according to the BOCC agenda, the only sixth district appointment made from that area was A.J. Lang to the Northwest Fire District thru Dec. 31, 2023.