Sublette County Commission reorganizes for 2019

The 9th District Court room is packed with supporters Monday as Judge Marvin Tyler gave the oath of office for elected county officials.

A new year and a new day

emerged as Sublette County Commissioners

reorganized the board and elected Commissioner

David Burnett the new chairman.

The first meeting 2019 opened with Sublette

County Commissioners Jan. 8 regular

meeting. Commissioners David Burnett,

Joel Bousman, Tom Noble, Mack Rawhouser

and newly-elected Doug Vickrey

were in attendance.

It was not easy for Burnett as he often

called on “Chairman Bousman” or “Chairman

Vickrey” throughout the first meeting

of the year. The meeting was also a first for

Sublette County Clerk Carrie Long taking

notes for the first time following the retirement

of Mary Lankford, who had served as

Sublette County Clerk for nearly 38 years.

All was not smooth and seamless as the

nameplate for Vickrey was misspelled, and

newly ordered signature stamps hadn’t arrived,

requiring a lengthy hand-signing process

for all county bills.

While the first meeting of the year was

awkward for everyone, the second meeting

on Jan. 22 will be even busier as already

the agenda has turned into a jam-packed

meeting that will determine consensus

fund items as towns and districts apply for

money and broadband contracts with providers

are reviewed. The commission will

dispose of regular agenda items, including

department reports, in order to get commissioners

and the newly-elected county clerk

on the road for the annual Wyoming Association

of County Commissioners meeting

with legislators in Cheyenne the following


Long explained she is revamping the

County Clerk’s Office, making herself

available on “the floor,” filling a position

previously left vacant when things slowed

two years ago and filling the position she

left vacant as she moved into the county

clerk’s position.

She added the office previously held by

Lankford will be used by Deputy Clerk

Tracy Hoover, while she will remain on the

floor to help the public.

As part of the transition, the clerk, treasurer

and planning and zoning offices may

hire a part-time employee to cover vacations

and other vacancies in all three offices.

Later in the meeting, Sublette County

Planner Dennis Fornstrom reported on the

increased number of permits issued by his

office in the past year over 2016 and 2017.

Commissioners said this additional person

could be used to fill in when Fornstrom

is out to inspect sites or other duties.

Among items discussed was an ongoing

contract with Dave Smith for maintaining

county communication systems.

In September, the Kismet communications

tower burned in the Roosevelt Fire,

putting an abyss of no communication for

the northern section of Sublette County.

Smith, who is also hired to assist as the

county rebuilds the communication center

countywide, deployed a personal vehicle

and generator to guarantee continued

communications. He had billed the county

$2,000 for October and November for the

use of his truck. In December, county

commissioners delayed paying the bill

saying they had no contract and had never

negotiated the price.

Smith spoke to them at the January meeting,

saying he had no intention of creating

bad feelings. He said he researched rental

prices for similar-style vehicles and based

his bill to the county on a nationwide average.

He said going forward, he would cut his

bill in half.

At a previous meeting, Sheriff KC Lehr

defended Smith and his invoice saying the

emergency action was needed and Smith

had configured the temporary communication

system and deployed it even as the

Kismet Tower burned, so the county’s

communication system was only down for

hours. He said there was no time to negotiate

or establish costs and Smith took the

responsibility of traveling to the temporary

site once or twice a day to ensure the generator

was fueled during the disaster.

However, since power has been restored,

the generator is still there, but does not need

constant attention.

Commissioners paid the December invoice

and agreed with Smith that the truck

and temporary communication equipment

would remain in place until a permanent

facility is constructed – but at the lower fee

to the county. n


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