NEWS

Paslay agenda request stirs controversy

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Osage County commissioners anticipated receiving an update Monday, June 6 regarding architectural plans for a new administrative building. Also, however, they anticipated the possibility of listening to an unsolicited request from a former commissioner to add a building in Skiatook to their plans.

The commissioners’ agenda for their May 31 meeting included an item about former District 2 Commissioner Kevin Paslay wanting to discuss the possibility of establishing an administrative building in Skiatook.

Paslay did not attend the May 31 meeting of the county board, and County Clerk Robin Slack told the commissioners that Paslay wanted to be placed on their June 6 agenda.

The commissioners showed no interest May 31 in hearing a presentation from Paslay on a possible Skiatook administrative building, which would most likely add cost to the initiative they are carrying out.

The county board has pledged up to $10.75 million of Use Tax revenues for a new county administrative building, to be located just north of the courthouse in Pawhuska. It has also earmarked up to $4 million of federal COVID-19 relief money toward the renovation of the courthouse.

“We’ve discussed this to death,” District 1 Commissioner Randall Jones said. “We’ve voted on this. We’ve had three and a half hour meetings with him as a commissioner.”

“We’ve looked at it a hundred different ways,” Steve Talburt, the current District 2 Commissioner, said.

When the agenda for the June 6 meeting became public on June 3, Paslay’s name was not on it.

Jones told the Journal-Capital that the commissioners kept Paslay off the agenda. Jones said Paslay would still be afforded up to 3 minutes of speaking time during either the New Business portion of the June 6 agenda or the Citizen Input portion of the agenda.

But Paslay would not have his own agenda item, Jones said.

”There’s no practicality to it,” Jones said of Paslay’s request. “We didn’t let him on the agenda.”

County Assessor Ed Quinton Jr., who has labored to make it possible for Osage County residents to use online resources to transact their business with his office, said May 31 that there is no need for an administrative building in Skiatook.

Jones indicated June 3 that he anticipated Paslay would show up for the June 6 meeting.

Paslay, who is also a former Skiarook city councilor, did not seek re-election in 2020 as District 2 commissioner.