The Cowley College Board of Trustees convened a special meeting July 31 to handle a few items prior to the start of the school year.

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Among them were new hires for the fall semester.

Two faculty members, automotive instructor Daniel Brooks and nondestructive testing instructor Garret Vickery, were hired.

Several other positions also were filled, but most noteworthy was a brand-new position to be filled by Gary Downs.

As “staff accountant,” Downs will back up the two current financial department employees.

“Currently, if (the individual) who does payroll were to be in an accident, there would be no one to handle payroll (in her stead),” said Cowley College President Dennis Rittle.

“He is an excellent hire,” Rittle said of Downs, whose wife, Kammy, is executive director of the Arkansas City Area Chamber of Commerce.

The remaining four staff positions all were pre-existing, but were vacant prior to the meeting. Those new hires are Tanner Brock, dorm manager and intramural coordinator; Michael McCune, custodian; Donna Walcher, cashier and accounts receivable generalist; and Valerie White, admissions coordinator.

The board voted unanimously to approve all seven hires as presented.

In other business, Cowley College trustees:

  • accepted the resignations of Kristina Meseke as accounting specialist, effective July 21, and Jancye Sturd as admissions coordinator, effective Aug. 4.
  • approved Rittle’s decision to cover the cost of registration for Sumner County Economic Development Executive Director Stacy Davis to attend the Association of Community College Trustees Leadership Congress on Sept. 25-28 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Davis will take part in the college’s presentation on its expansion into Sumner County.
  • tabled discussion on Carver Park until the regularly scheduled board meeting on Aug. 14.
  • heard an update from Rittle on the professional negotiations of the Faculty Master Agreement for the 2017-18 academic year. He said that through some great dialogue, five of six items have been negotiated successfully. “We have made a lot of progress and are optimistic we will reach an agreement,” Rittle said. “We want to do what is right for the community, the students and the employees.”

Sumner County primary results

In the Sumner County primary Aug. 1, two candidates advanced to face each other in the Nov. 7 general election for the new Sumner County trustee seat.

Glennis Zimmerman was the runaway winner, carrying 57 percent of the vote with 739 ballots. She will face Kay Ryan, who had 263 votes, or 20 percent.

Eliminated from the race were Bill Butts, with 169 votes (13 percent), and Brian Fitch, with 122, or 9 percent. Overall voter turnout was about 8 percent.

The winner between Ryan and Zimmerman will take the eighth and newest seat on the Board of Trustees, which was created this spring by a special bill in the Kansas Legislature, for a two-year term. After that, it will be a four-year term to represent Sumner County as long as it offers tax support to the college campus.

Cowley College Director of Institutional Communications and Public Relations Rama Peroo contributed to this report.