City recognizes Meyer and remembers Gourley

Fran Brownell
Pratt city commissioner Doug Meyer, left, was presented with a plaque by city manager Bruce Pinkall to commemorate Meyer's service as mayor from January 2018 to January 2020. The presentation was made at the February 3 city commission meeting.

Past Mayor Doug Meyer was honored for his service and city leaders remembered the service of city employee Lane Gourley at their February 3, 2020 meeting in Pratt.

City manager Bruce Pinkall presented Meyer, who stepped down from mayor to a seat on the commission in January, with a plaque honoring his two years of exemplary service to the city of Pratt. Meyer served as mayor from January 2018 to January 2020.

New Mayor Gary Schmidt opened the regular portion of the city meeting expressing sympathy to the family of City Electrical Distribution Superintendent Lane Gourley for their loss. Gourley died unexpectedly at the end of January 2020 from a brief illness.

Pratt Community College President Dr. Michael Calvert, who was on hand to update the city commissioners on PCC’s 2018/2019 county-wide economic and quality-of-life impact, said that Gourley had been an instructor with the PCC lineman program for a number of years before joining the city staff.

He’ll be missed,” Calvert said. “He impacted a lot of lives, no question.”

Calvert distributed copies of the PCC’s report, which included ‘Recognition of Excellence’ commendations received by the college, to the commission and department heads, calling attention to the section of the report which noted that, in five of the past seven years, PCC has led the state with the highest starting salary for its graduates and also to the section placing PCC’s annual payroll at $6.1 million covering the salaries of 294 full and part-time employees.

“We’re the second largest employer in Pratt County, behind the hospital,” Calvert said,

PCC maintains average deposits in local financial institutions of $20.8 million, Calvert cited from the report.

“We have a motto at PCC that ‘Community Is Our Middle Name’ and we are truly about that,” Calvert said, calling attention to the ‘Beavers In Action’ section which reported 12,710 hours of community service by students, faculty and staff.

At current minimum wage, ‘Beavers in Action’ provided the county with in excess of $92,000 through community service, Calvert noted.

PCC also has a policy of buying locally and allows local vendors on sealed bid that are within 7.5 per cent of the lowest bid to be awarded the bid, Calvert said.

Commenting on the ‘return of investment’ for students, Calvert said that it has been calculated that for the cost of two years at PCC, including incidental expenses, for every dollar the student invests, their return is $4.30 over a working lifetime.

“I think I’d take that investment every time,” Calvert said.

Calvert also expressed appreciation to city commissioners and City Manager Bruce Pinkall for the city’s partnership with PCC for the new Track and Field Addition to Green Sport Complex.

“It’s a wonderful collaboration that we’ve got,” Calvert said.“Thank you for the trust and the hard work and the faith.”

Calvert told commissioners that paving the gravel parking lot at the new complex is an upgrade the college is interested in, but did not specify a timetable for the work.

Mayor Gary Schmidt addressed the PCC nursing program and questioned if adult students still make up a large percent of that enrollment.

“You picked on a good program,” Calvert said. “You’re not going to see 18-year-olds fresh out of high school. What you’ve described is our typical nursing student.”

Calvert also said that on-line classes are gaining popularity over evening classes for adult students.

“You have a great program for high school students, too,” Commissioner Jason Leslie said. “My son took advantage of it.”

Leslie said the program gives high school students the ability to earn an associate’s degree at the same time as graduating from high school.

“We love it and we expect it to grow,” Calvert said.

“PCC’s a great asset for our community, so we appreciate the way we can work together,” Schmidt said.

Pratt City Clerk LuAnn Kramer reminded commissioners and audience members that the next regular city commission meeting has been rescheduled from Monday, February 17 to Tuesday, February 18, since city offices will be closed on February 17 for the observation of President’s Day.