Clipped From The Salina Journal

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T CAMPAIGN 2000: SALINE COUNTY COMMISSION Official denies Frick inspired study Candidate claims lawsuit threat led to inspections task force By NATE JENKINS Tlte Snlina fournal Salina businessman Ben Prick's claim that his threat to sue the city for $23 million was the impetus for forming a task force to probe conflicts between contractors and the city is without merit, City Manager Dennis Kissinger said Thursday. Frick, 120 Overhill, filed Monday for the sixth time for a seat on the Saline County Commission. The 63-year-old Democrat's previous five attempts have failed, as has a run for the Salina City Commission. Frick owns various rental properties and businesses in Salina, including Concrete & Supply, 1332 W. North, and The Phoenix, a former hotel at 100 N. Fifth, with his wife, LaVelle. Frick is seeking the 2nd District seat held by Commission Chairman Dean Allen, who's not said whether he plans to seek re-election. In an interview Tuesday with the Journal, Frick claimed the threatened lawsuit spurred formation of the task force, a joint effort between the city and the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. "That's not correct from my standpoint," said Kissinger. He said the topic never was raised between him and Gerald Cook, chamber president, during discussions between the two FRICK KISSINGER about forming the task force. "The claim wasn't discussed," Kissinger said. "There wasn't one peep of discussion." Cook was unavailable for comment. Prick's response to Kissinger's statement? "They must be smoking some of the stuff they are picking up on these meth (methampheta- mine) raids," Frick said. "They never did it until after we filed our paperwork." Frick asked to be on the task force but was turned down. The chamber chose half and the city the remainder of the 10- member task force. He attended every meeting but one over the several months the task force met and listened to a recording of the one he missed. Frick was sent a copy of the survey that was the basis for many of the task force's recommendations. He filled out a card in the survey requesting an interview. "We were never interviewed," Frick said. He said it was unfair that there wasn't a public forum to allow contractors and others to speak to the task force. Former Mayor Steve Ryan, chairman of the task force, said he "found it hard to be- lieve" that any one person caused formation of the panel. "Anybody that has been on the (city) commission for the last 10 years" would know that something needed to be done to smooth the relationship between contractors and the others, Ryan said. Kissinger has vowed that the task force's recommendations will be heeded. Administrative changes and work to rectify any problems with city staff and their dealings with the construction industry, he said last month, already have begun. While Kissinger is taking seriously the threatened lawsuit, Frick said he only has sent the city a letter of intent to file a lawsuit. See FRICK, Page B2

Clipped from
  1. The Salina Journal,
  2. 31 Mar 2000, Fri,
  3. Page 13

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