Bourbon County Sheriff Ron Gray tendered his resignation, effective August 9th, at today’s commissioners’ meeting. “I’m conflicted and heartbroken. It’s killing me because this is my dream,” Gray said. Gray said that his reason for leaving involved time with family, and that he had been offered “other opportunities” elsewhere. “Being away from your family has kind of a toll on you,” Gray said. Gray mentioned that he has only been able to see family on a limited basis in recent years.
“Who knows, someday I might come knocking on the door asking to come back. I didn’t sleep much last night. My heart’s with this county and this town,” Gray said, citing 23 years of service with the county. “Things change, plans change—my family needs me,” Gray said. Gray added that someone once told him he had to choose what is important to him in life, and Gray said that 15 years later, he is taking those words to heart.
Of the situation that he leaves behind, Gray said that he had not been vocal on certain issues because he knew taxpayers could not afford a mill levy increase, but that there have to be “other ways to deal with them.” “I have an excellent jail staff and second,” said Gray.
“Ron was the first Republican sheriff in 73 years in this County,” said Commissioner Harold Coleman. According to Kendell Mason, Gray was in the first year of his second term, and the process for electing a new sheriff will depend on party guidelines.
According to Kansas State Election Director Brad Bryant, the Bourbon County Republican party chairperson will call a party district convention, and the precinct man or woman will receive a notice from the county party chairperson. The precinct will then hold a convention within 21 days of the notice, and will select a candidate at that time. The governor will then issue an appointment letter following the candidate selection.
“You always hate to lose experienced people,” Commission Chairman Warren said. “It’s not a good time—talking about security of the courthouse and the jail. He’s one that we counted on. “Sherrif Gray will be missed. He’s been very conscientious,” added Commissioner Barbara Albright.
In other business:
- Sheriff Ron Gray brought forward his department’s proposed budget for the coming year. “You’ve done a great job in putting this together,” Warren said of Gray’s work on the budget. Gray said that the department is asking “only $400 more” than last year. This new figure includes the purchase of eight new vehicles for the Sheriff’s department, and also leaves room for the “high side” on payments. The amount allotted for the 2013 budget was $532,583, and the request for 2014 is $532,987. The budget includes new bullet-proof vests for officers. “[Vests] only have a 5-year life expectancy,” said Gray.
- County Clerk Kendell Mason presented the Clerk’s Office budget proposal, as well as the budget proposal for elections. “I cut $2,400 out of the clerk’s budget,” Mason said. “I may be a little close, but I think that’s doable.” Mason requested $84,600 for 2014. With regard to the Election budget, Mason said that she had reduced it by $11. However, Mason did say that “what’s happened this morning could change my budget for election. That may be one I have to adjust later on.”