Sedgwick County Manager Michael Scholes agreed recently to resign. It will cost the county a lump sum of $205,427. The agreement also states the now former county manager will not sue the county.
“That was an important piece in the agreement,” said county commissioner Richard Ranzau.
But Ranzau also says the cost to the county, along with the release agreement of county counsel Eric Yost, could go up to half a million.
“It is a lot of money I think it’s going to easily be $400 to $500-thousand if not more when you add it all together,” said Ranzau. “And it’s just troubling because it originates with the commissioners.”
Ranzau said the cost to taxpayers also includes legal fees accumulated and done by the county to come to the separation agreements. And, Ranzau says, that more costs include attorney fees for last fall when commissioners were first being questioned about ongoing legal issues with commissioner Michael O’Donnell.
Some commissioners, who have publicly said they wanted county manager Michael Scholes and other managers in the county to face an outside review of their job performance, said the recent deals allow the county to move forward.
“I am really pleased we were able to get this settled before my term expired and I left the commission,” said Commissioner Dave Unruh, who did not run for office again and leaves at the end of the year. “I think this concludes a chapter in Sedgwick County history that has significantly eroded and degraded the stature and the influence of the county government in our community.”
Unruh says he hopes the commission can focus on the business of running the county and put some of the legal issues in the past.
Ranzau, who will no longer be on the commission after the end of his term, says he has the same hopes.