Archive for Wednesday, May 8, 2002

Candidates to file for commission

Leavenworth stock broker to enter First District race as Republican

May 8, 2002

June 10: Noon, candidate filing deadline for general election. July 17: Advance voting begins in county clerk's office or by mail for the Aug. 6 primary election. July 22: Last day before the primary election to register to vote or change party affiliation. Aug. 6: Primary election. Oct. 16 Advance voting begins for the Nov. 5 general election. Oct. 21: Last day before the general election to register to vote. Nov. 5: General election.

Incumbent Leavenworth County Commissioner Don Navinsky will have opposition in at least the November general election.

Navinsky, a Democrat, plans to file for a third term representing the First District on the county commission. And Republican J.C. Tellefson, 49, a Leavenworth stock broker, wants to challenge him in the general election.

Leavenworth County Sheriff Herb Nye, who has been considering a run against Navinsky in the August Democratic primary, said he's not decided whether he'll be a candidate.

"I'm still weighing my options," he said.

Tellefson is a native Kansan who moved to Leavenworth in 1996. He's worked behind the scenes in several political campaigns in the area. And now, he's decided, it's time to file for office.

The Robinson native, who attended school in Hiawatha, has worked as an investment counselor and stock broker in Leavenworth since 1997.

"I think I have, with my financial background and management background, some things to offer," he said. "I'm not talking about better ways to fill potholes. I'm talking about better ways to utilize the financial resources that we have. How can we enhance the property tax base that we have. There are things I believe we can do."

Tellefson said he believes the county should hire an administrator to handle the day-to-day activities of county government, while commissioners would set policy.

"I believe we need one," he said. "I don't know of a school board in the state of Kansas that doesn't have a superintendent. I do not believe it ought to cost the taxpayers a dime to hire a county administrator. I believe that should come out of the commissioners' budget, which means I take a pay cut."

County commissioners currently make $40,000 a year.

Navinsky said that once he officially files for re-election, he plans to ask fellow commissioners to put the county administrator issue on the November ballot.

"This is a very delicate subject for some people, and I think it should be a vote of the people," he said. "Leavenworth County has continued to grow, and it's no longer a rural county. We're one of the top six largest in the state. We have problems and issues that a lot of the smaller counties don't have."

When asked whether he thinks commissioners should take a pay cut if the voters approve establishing a county administrator's position, Navinsky said, "That could very well be. As far as the timeframe involved, I think county commissioners would have more time to spend with their constituents. We have enough on our plates that sometimes constituents become second to the major issues, which take a great deal of time."

The 58-year-old Easton resident said he believes his lifelong residency of the county, as well as his two terms on the commission, qualify him for a third term.

"I want to make sure we continue to have county commissioners who are willing to devote full time to the office, because this office does require more time than some people perceive."

He also supports continued cooperation between the county and cities in Leavenworth County, as well as increased efforts at economic development.

"I feel economic growth is important as our mainstay because your tax base is based on business," he said.

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