Labette County Commissioner Doug Allen, who represents the 3rd District, announced Tuesday night that he was resigning effective Nov. 6. By that date he will have served four years on the commission.
The 3rd District includes most of Parsons. The 1st and 2nd commission districts also have a small territory in Parsons.
Allen ran for the commission in 2016 and won the primary that year. He was the only 3rd District candidate on the November 2016 general election ballot.
Jack Martin was 3rd District commissioner in 2016 and resigned effective Nov. 1, 2016. When he announced his resignation weeks before then, the Labette County Republican Central Committee nominated Allen to complete Martin’s term since Allen was going to take the position in January 2017. Allen was sworn in as a commissioner on Nov. 1, 2016, to complete Martin’s term.
“It was kind of nice to have that couple of months to spin up,” Allen said Wednesday.
Allen said he notified county officials and department heads of his resignation as well as Cole Proehl, who will be elected to the 3rd District seat in the November general election. Proehl’s is the only name on the ballot for Allen’s seat. Allen said he also sent his resignation letter to Gov. Laura Kelly and also notified the Labette County Republican Party. The Republican Party will have to meet to nominate someone to fill Allen’s seat.
Allen said he is resigning for personal and family reasons.
He and his wife, Anne, are moving to another home in Parsons and downsizing. They want to travel more and see their children and four grandchildren more.
Allen, who remains a practicing attorney in California, said he wants to spend more time in that work. He does not have a license to practice law in Kansas.
He said the timing of his resignation relates in part to current county business. With the SPARK program in progress, through which the commission is distributing $3.9 million in the county for COVID-19 relief, the commission has and will make policy decisions that he thinks Proehl should be part of.
“Because that’s going to effect the county going forward for many years. He’s going to be in office and I’m not,” Allen said.
Allen said he wishes he could have changed a few more things in the county, including contracting out for more services, such as what the commission did for the janitorial service at the Labette County Judicial Center in Parsons. A county employee formerly did that work and now the county contracts with a company.
He would have liked 911 dispatch services combined in the county, rather than having separate 911 answering points in Parsons and Oswego. He said the split creates redundancies that waste money.
Allen said he was pleased that the commission never raised the mill levy while he was in office.
“And I’m proud of that,” he said.
He added that it’s been his honor to serve the citizens of Labette County for four years and he’s enjoyed that time.
But he has had frustrations with bureaucracy and has compared government to steering an aircraft carrier.
“It’s very hard to make changes,” he said.
“I couldn’t ask for two better guys to work with, Lonie (Addis) and Fred (Vail). We saw eye to eye on a lot of things. If we had disagreements it was always business, never personal. It was great. … I never really wanted to run for public office. I kind of got persuaded to do so, and I’m glad I did. But four years is plenty for me,” Allen said.