LEAVENWORTH — Leavenworth County commissioners raised concern Wednesday about a survey and letters sent by one of their fellow members.
Commissioner Vicky Kaaz pointed out a survey that was prepared by Commissioner Mike Stieben.
The survey includes a logo that features Stieben’s name, the words “Leavenworth County Commission” and two images of an elephant that often is associated with the Republican Party.
Kaaz said people may have the impression the survey was created with the blessing of the entire county commission.
Kaaz said it should be clear when a commissioner is acting on his own and not on behalf of the entire commission.
Stieben noted that the top of the survey indicates that it is for the commission’s 5th District, which is the district he represents in southern Leavenworth County.
Stieben said the logo with his name is a smaller version of what appeared on yard signs used for his campaign. Stieben said he will remove the logo from the survey.
“I stand corrected on it,” he said.
Stieben is one of two commissioners elected in a special election in March. The election was held after voters in the county approved the expansion of the commission from three members to five.
Kaaz also expressed concern that Stieben should keep his fellow commissioners aware of postage expenses charged to the county.
Kaaz said $500 is budgeted for commission postage expenses.
“But that includes all of us,” she said.
Stieben estimated he has mailed about 300 letters to constituents regarding information related to a May 28 tornado as well as a proposed sand mine.
Stieben said he was not advocating a position about the sand mine but was notifying people about a meeting regarding the issue.
“I was holding an informal meeting, and that was it,” he said.
Commission Chairman Doug Smith said town hall meetings can be considered political events.
County Commissioner Jeff Culbertson said the county will run out of envelopes if commissioners send out letters on every issue.
Culbertson also argued that people in Easton, which is located in northern Leavenworth County, do not want to pay postage for letters that concern issues in another part of the county.
Commissioner Chad Schimke said it is a matter of being reactive instead proactive.
When someone reaches out to a commissioner, it is appropriate for the commissioner to send a response, Schimke said.
Stieben said he was trying to stay in touch with people in rural areas of his district. And he believes the best way to do this is through the mail.
“I don’t feel I have violated any kind of ethics or rules,” Stieben said.