Shawnee County commissioners gave a standing ovation Thursday to outgoing department head Tom Vlach, whose accomplishments included overseeing successful projects to replace the Willard Bridge and implement curbside recycling.
The audience at their morning meeting joined Commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer in standing to applaud Vlach, who has also been in charge of carrying out improvements financed by a countywide half-cent sales tax, including major projects on N.W. 46th Street and S.E. Croco Road.
"Your leadership has been amazing, and the impact you've had will be felt for a lifetime," Buhler said.
Commissioners voted 3-0 to acknowledge they had received notice of the resignation effective Sept. 7 of Vlach, director of the county's public works and solid waste departments. Vlach has taken a job with the city of Des Moines, Iowa, as deputy city engineer in charge of design and construction.
Cook and Archer joked that if there were a way to reject Vlach's appointment, they would do it.
Vlach responded in kind, saying he expected commissioners would receive numerous applicants from people who would like to replace him.
"This organization is so well-run, and the commission allows us to do our jobs," he said.
It wasn't immediately clear who would replace Vlach on an interim basis. Cook said Tuesday that commissioners were reaching out to deputy public works director Tom Flanagan, who has served in the past as that department's interim director, to see whether he would be willing to do that again.
Commissioners also voted 3-0 to approve a resolution raising annual pay by:
• 1 percent for their own positions, to $57,772 for the commission chairperson and $52,520 for each of the other two commissioners,
• 3 percent for the sheriff's position held by Herman Jones, to $100,746.36.
• 4 percent each to $76,251.76 for County Clerk Cyndi Beck, $67,127.84 for Treasurer Larry Mah and $64,904.32 for Register of Deeds Becky Nioce.
County human resources director Angela Lewis said the resolution kept salaries the same for District Attorney Mike Kagay, who makes $139,050.08, and election commissioner Andrew Howell. However, wording of the measure approved Thursday appeared to raise Howell's pay by 78 cents, to $61,800.96.
Commissioners also voted 3-0 Thursday to acknowledge they had received a proposed comprehensive land use plan for the county's unincorporated areas from the Shawnee County Planning Commission, which voted 4-3 last month to recommend its approval. Cook said commissioners don't plan to consider acting on the proposed plan until next month.