HAYS — The Ellis County Commissioners on Monday accused Ellis County Treasurer Lisa Schlegel of spending taxpayer money to send out election material disguised as a newsletter.
“I think we’re going to have to look at her budgetary line items, including printing and binding and postage,” said Commissioner Dustin Roths in a prepared statement he read at the commission’s regular meeting.
“While the bulk of Ellis County citizens are worried about unprecedented low prices of commodities, including oil and livestock and grain, 10% unemployment, and hoping to get back to work, our Treasurer found it in her budget to mail a summer newsletter to every household in the county, two-sided print, full color, on glossy stock, with a quote at the bottom that says ‘Feel Good. Don’t Worry. Be Happy,’ ” Roths said.
“Commissioner Roths,” said Commission Chairman Butch Schlyer, “when I got my letter, I read it, and it upset me. I told my wife, ‘This is nothing but a damn political ad paid for by the taxpayer.’ And I threw it out.”
Asked about the mailing Tuesday by The Hays Daily News, Schlegel denied the commissioners’ allegations.
“These people are completely ignorant of reality,” Schlegel said of the commissioners. “Everything they say about the Treasury is untrue. Every time they bring up something about me it’s so blatantly untrue. Why? I want people to start asking. Why are they attacking me?”
Schlegel said even prior to her tenure, Treasurers mailed out a newsletter with the annual tax statements to residents. When she took the job, she added a second newsletter, posting it at the Treasury’s counters in the Ellis County Administrative Center, 718 Main, for customers to read while doing business.
With the closing of county offices for the virus, she mailed the most recent newsletter, partly to remind residents they can continue doing business by phone and Internet.
“I didn’t pay for it out of Treasury funds,” Schlegel said of the newsletter. “I did not pay for it with public tax dollars.”
Schlegel said she paid for the newsletter with her own personal money. The cost was $4,000, she said.