Audit shows SRS top-heavy with management

? The reorganization of the state welfare agency has resulted in more managment-level employees and fewer frontline workers to keep up with growing caseloads, according to a state audit released today.

The audit of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services cited numerous problems in the overhaul of the agency that has been ongoing since 2002.

The audit reported:

— Some couny SRS offices that had been scheduled to be shut down were kept open because of “political pressure,” according to SRS officials.

— The number of management-level employees has increased while caseworkers and support staff have lagged considerably behind the increase in caseloads.

— SRS employee morale is low because of allegations of favoritism in hiring practices and a lowering of qualifications for some supervisory positions.

SRS Deputy Secretary Candy Shively said the audit will help the agency continue its reorganization.

“We will be looking very seriously at the information,” she said. But Shively said because of the mammoth effort to change the agency, some criticism had to be expected.

State Rep. Lana Gordon, R-Topeka, said many SRS employees have been afraid to speak out about problems at the agency for fear they will lose their jobs.

“This post-audit really confirms a lot of the things I’ve heard,” she said.