All things change. But not everyone likes changes.
Sublette County Commissioners discussed new protocol implemented after the first of the
year that recommends department heads and the public submit written requests to be placed
on the commissioners’ regular meeting agenda. Chairman David Burnett and Commissioners
Mack Rawhouser, Tom Noble, Doug Vickrey and Joel Bousman were in attendance at the
April 2 County Commissioners’ meeting.
In the past, elected officials and department heads were given standing placement on the
agenda. As former chairman Andy Nelson was replaced by Burnett, Burnett asked that the
agenda be less generic and that a form be submitted for reports, requests and to be placed
on the agenda. The form is located on the county’s website and requests a basic description
for the agenda item.
During the April 2 Sublette County Commissioners’ meeting, Commissioner Bousman
said he thought the form was additional work for department heads who have always been on
the agenda – specifically Road and Bridge Supervisor Billy Pape. He also asked that Pape’s
standing position as the first item on the agenda be maintained “to get him back to work.”
During the April 2 agenda, Pape was not on the agenda until 10:15 a.m. He arrived at the
commissioners’ meeting that began at 9 a.m.
Burnett said the commissioners still maintain an open comment period for constituents
and department heads to walk in. However, he said the early notice is to ensure commissioners
have sufficient background about agenda items before the actual meetings.
Noble said in at least one case this month, a constituent called him about an issue after
seeing the item on the agenda. Rawhouser said he also preferred the additional information
so he could get background on the issues rather than being blindsided at meetings.
County Clerk Carrie Long agreed to automatically place Pape as the first item on every
agenda. It was agreed by commissioners that other department heads, who do not necessarily
need to report monthly, could submit a form when they have a specific need to speak with
commissioners. Burnett said many department heads will only need to be at the meetings
once or twice a year, while others have a need to be there every month.
Additional news from the commissioners’ meeting included:
• Following a closed executive session, commissioners made a motion to purchase Lot 97
of the High Meadows Subdivision for $15,000. The lot will be used as a bus stop as progress
continues to pave Meadowlark Lane.
• Commissioners signed three contracts to provide law enforcement services using the
Sublette County Sheriff’s Department inside the town limits of Big Piney, Marbleton and
Pinedale for a cost of $10 per year for each municipality. The contracts, typically signed to
run from July 1 to June 30, were not signed last year.
• A motion passed to accept a proposal from Cat Urbigkit and Deanne Swain for a new
“State of the County” directory. Urbigkit reported that the project costs are the same amount
as last year – $8,000.
• Catherine Summerall, Pinedale resident and bookkeeper at the Pinedale Library, brought
forward a concern that Sublette County pays 100 percent of retirement contributions for
county employees. She stated that she was in touch with the Wyoming Retirement System
and was told that Sublette County is the only county in Wyoming to pay 100 percent of
retirement contributions. Summerall stated that employees need to take some responsibility
and pay for a portion of their retirement benefits to ease the “burden” on taxpayers. Deputy
County Attorney Matt Gaffney said former county clerk Mary Lankford looked into the issue
several years ago and found that many other counties pay 100 percent of employee retirement
benefits. Burnett said that the commissioners will investigate Summerall’s concerns.
• Commissioners adjourned into a closed executive session with Gaffney and several
county employees. Following the executive session, Burnett announced that no action would
• An additional 26 burned homes remain in the Hoback Ranches because homeowners
could not remove them before winter. Commissioners agreed to continue allowing free use of
the Sublette County landfill as those homes are demolished, but anyone with trash from new
construction will need to pay for disposal. The debris weight will be documented so landfill
fees could be used as a county match for any future grants. To date, it was estimated landfill
fees waived for Hoback Ranches exceeded $600,000.
• Commissioners gave a cold reception to Sublette County Fairgrounds Manager Jay
Brower’s proposal to use the complex during winter months for indoor storage rentals. He
said an initial measurement showed the building could house as many as 50 recreational
vehicles for winter storage and generate an addition $17,000 revenue annually. He said he
has researched policies and contracts used by other facilities. Commissioners said they were
unwilling to add that service unless there is proof no one in the county is providing it. There
were also concerns of liability if a vehicle caught fire, damaging other vehicles in storage.
Noble said he received one complaint from a business owner who provides the service
after the issue was placed on the commissioners’ agenda.
Bousman thanked Brower, saying he appreciated any attempts to maximize revenue for
• A resolution passed designating April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
• Two tax abatements were approved, resulting in $18,000 in tax refunds.
• Commissioners discussed a proposal by Sublette County Clerk Long to use an automated
payroll system that would enable county employees to log in by phone or computer rather
than maintaining paper timecards. She said currently every department handles employee
payroll differently. She said the automated payroll would save time, about one-half a position
in her office. Bousman disagreed with the proposal, saying department heads do not have the
time to oversee and many employees do not have the computer expertise or access to sign
themselves in and out. He used Road and Bridge as an example with 36 employees working
in different locations throughout the county.