unanimous decision by the Platte County Commission removed Public Works Director Dale Thomas from his position on Friday.
Thomas, who was on vacation, was called into a meeting with the three commissioners on Friday morning and told that would be his last day with the county.
Within two days after releasing Thomas from his duties, the county commission announced the appointment of Greg Sager as interim public works director. Sager was working as the roads master plan project manager for the county’s planning and zoning and public works offices.
“We asked him to step in and we introduced him this morning to the public works staff,” said Director of Administration Dana Babcock on Monday.
Sager, who has been with planning and zoning since February, has lately been heading up the North Congress south of Barry Road project, and North Congress and Tiffany Springs project, in the southern portion of the county.
According to 2nd District Commissioner Jim Plunkett, the public works director’s responsibilities for the roads in the unincorporated portion of the county and the funding of those roads are Plunkett’s top priority.
“Services, roads and funding are and always will be one of my first priorities as second district commissioner,” said Plunkett. “These services for the people of the second district in the unincorporated area are vital concerns to me.”
Babcock uttered the same sentiment when asked about the decision to release Thomas of his duties with the county.
“Public works and Road District Number One are very important in the second district and we felt a vital concern in that part of the county,” stated Babcock.
Sager said he’s excited about the opportunity this open door has presented him.
“I’m excited about the changes and improvements that can be made to our Public Works and County Road District #1,” said Sager.
“I welcome the challenge. I feel I can do a good job and serve the county well.”
Sager says he has already identified some goals for the department.
“I want to improve our efficiency, improve communications with the employees and citizens of the county and offer a more user-friendly public works department and county road district.”
Sager has researched ways to make that happen.
“I’ve researched counties that are similar to Platte County who are experiencing the same growth spurt. I want to take positives from similar counties and use those ideas here, along with input from employees and new ideas,” said Sager.
“I want to see progression in the public works department for Platte County. It’s a new day starting today for the Platte County Public Works Department.”
Sager, 41, along with his wife Angie and three children, Garrett, Payton and Bailey, live in the second district in rural Platte County.
He graduated from Platte County R-3 in 1981 and attended Park College where he studied in business administration. He grew up in a family owned construction business, B and V General Contracting in Platte County. For the last 10-12 years he has worked in engineering and construction management.
“I’m proud to call Platte County home. I’ve worked all over the U.S. and I chose to come back here and make this the place to raise my family,” stated Sager.
Since the election of Plunkett and First District Commissioner Tom Pryor into office, this is the second termination of a prominent county staff member. Former Director of Administration Jane Henry was relinquished of her duties by a 2-1 vote in January.
Plunkett diminished the suggestion that the two firings were connected in any way.
“There is no relationship whatsoever between the two (Thomas and Henry),” said Plunkett. “We didn’t have our minds made up prior to coming into office that he would be leaving. This was a 3-0 vote.”
Plunkett added, “I’ve been in office for seven months and I’ve had time to analyze the situation and draw my own conclusions during that time.”
Thomas took over as public works director six years ago on Aug. 10, 1998. As the director, his main responsibility was to maintain all the gravel and paved roads, approximately 200 miles, and 36 bridges in District #1.
At the time of his termination, Thomas’ annual salary was $66,990.