Archive for Friday, April 21, 2006

New, little-known law that requires disclosure of financial details angers some KU professors

April 21, 2006

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A new state law requiring the disclosure of personal financial details by several hundred Kansas University professors as well as thousands of their colleagues across the state has caught them by surprise, leaving many perplexed or angry.

"It seems to me this is entirely out of line," said Allan Hanson, KU professor of anthropology.

A year ago, the Kansas Legislature passed an obscure amendment to the state government ethics law that requires faculty members making $50,000 or more and who are employed by a state education institution to complete a "statement of substantial interests." The requirement doesn't include adjunct faculty.

KU professors who fall into that category were first informed of the new rule last month and reminded again earlier this month, according to the provost's office. But it was a law that KU officials didn't know about until after it was passed.

"No one consulted us, nor did anyone consult the Board of Regents," said Jeannette Johnson, assistant to Provost David Shulenburger. "It was not something we knew in advance was on anyone's legislative program."

The new law also came as a surprise to the Kansas Ethics Commission, which handles the paperwork required in the filing of such statements. The commission office wasn't told until the beginning of the year that about 4,600 new substantial interest statements would flow into the office and need to be filed with the Kansas Secretary of State. That is in addition to about 6,000 filings the office would normally receive this year, director Carol Williams said.


Kansas University professor of anthropology Allan Hanson is concerned with a new state law that requires many KU professors to complete a "statement of substantial interests."

Kansas University professor of anthropology Allan Hanson is concerned with a new state law that requires many KU professors to complete a "statement of substantial interests."

"This commission and its staff did not know that the Legislature had even done that until this January," Williams said. "It was not in any of the committees that we were involved in. It was an amendment to a bill that we had no knowledge of at all."

'Invasion of privacy'

Williams said she had no idea why the law was needed.

Neither does Hanson. The form he has to fill out not only requests information about his outside income and gifts but also information about his wife's income and business.

"It seems to me the state is trying to probe into matters that are irrelevant to my duties as a professor of anthropology and is an unwarranted invasion of privacy and my spouse's," Hanson said.

A statement of substantial interests is aimed at revealing or preventing any type of conflict of interest among certain state employees. Included are legislators and others who hold elective offices and people who are appointed to office subject to Senate confirmation. Also included are general counsels and state employees or board members who are designees of agency heads and private consultants under state contract.

Conflicts of interest

The amendment was introduced by Rep. John Faber, R-Brewster. Faber said he worked on the amendment with House Minority Leader Dennis McKinney, D-Greensburg, and others.

In 2002, McKinney and other legislators backed a bill that would have required universities to disclose consulting contracts between professors and businesses. He said he was concerned about university professors who have consulting contracts exerting influence in favor of the companies they have contracts with. There have been examples when that has happened over the past few years.

"There are so many in the higher education field who are increasingly dependent on privately funded research," McKinney said Thursday. "We really don't want to stop that; we just want to apply the same principles we have for elected officials and once the information is out there people can make up their own minds."

Hanson described himself as "just a grunt teaching classes" and noted that professors already fill out a federal conflict of interest statement.

McKinney said he didn't think there was any attempt to conceal the bill when it was passed last year. He said it was well discussed on the House floor. Changes can be made to the law to make it work better if necessary, he said.

"A lot of us didn't see this as being a major problem," McKinney said.

The substantial interest law has been amended several times over the years. In its early form, the law set income amounts in determining who should file the statements. In later years the income levels were replaced by types of jobs people have. The new requirement for faculty is the only provision that specifies a dollar income amount.

Several hundred KU staff already were required to complete the substantial interest forms. Adding several hundred professors brings the total to about 1,400 employees, Johnson said.

Comments

Jeanne Cunningham 9 years, 4 months ago

To the best of my knowledge, it has always been possible to view information about any state employee's salary/wage information. It has not always been such an issue. I believe that it became of increased interest when some "athletics related" persons began getting astronomical salaries. Some people were concerned that it did not/does not seem logical for persons paid by the state were compensated "better" than persons who taught and/or did research. Tax payers are the employers of state workers and therefore "own" that information.

I work for the state. I don't care if my "bosses" know how much I make.

jayhawks71 9 years, 4 months ago

I think the primary issue here is not that state employees salaries are disclosed, rather, it is the requirement for them to identify OTHER sources of income.

"The form he has to fill out not only requests information about his outside income and gifts but also information about his wife's income and business."

I would side with the professor if this claim is true; this is inappropriate. His wife's business, if not an employee of the state should not have to be disclosed, nor should his income from stocks or investment income. What, is he going to have to call TIAA-CREF and ask them to provide a detailed listing of the investments?

Further, having your "bosses" know what you make can also be taken to the extent that any customer of a business should know what employees of that business make. The customer is boss!

christie 9 years, 4 months ago

What's good for the goose... so I'd say to the Religious Right, show me ALL of YOUR income sources, including your Wives, mistresses, and girlfriends.

You have to ask yourself WHY is it ONLY the Faculty of Universities. I'm waiting for Pol Pot to re-emerge and kill anyone with an education or anyone who wears glasses.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you want to move forward put your car in (D)emocrat. If you want to go backwards put your car in (R)epublican.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

It appears that this measure is aimed at fully disclosing potential conflicts of interest. Who pays for their sabbatical travel? For what organization are they consulting? When highly paid, influential university professors espouse for certain interests and issues, political or not, they are protected by "academic freedom." The public, however, should have the opportunity to see if that freedom is being used inappropriately (i.e. bribes, financial gain, political gain, etc.).

Kam_Fong_as_Chin_Ho 9 years, 4 months ago

What's good for the goose... so I'd say to the Religious Right, show me ALL of YOUR income sources, including your Wives, mistresses, and girlfriends.

When tax dollars are used to pay their salaries, I'll agree with your plan. I don't see it happening though.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

christie, I guess you are saying that all professors are not part of the religious right. Glad you cleared that one up for us.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 4 months ago

Too bad the legislators aren't as concerned about their own conflicts of interest.

feeble 9 years, 4 months ago

"When highly paid, influential university professors espouse for certain interests and issues, political or not, they are protected by "academic freedom." The public, however, should have the opportunity to see if that freedom is being used inappropriately (i.e. bribes, financial gain, political gain, etc.)." -Posted by Godot

I didn't realize Jack Abramoff had a vested interest in the Kansas Board of Reagents.

But I see you point, after all, University professors in Kansas have waged a highly successful campaign resulting in academic standards for k-12 being passed that champion reason, Darwin and outright dismiss ID-related theories while managing to adequately fund all Kansas institutions of learning, kindergarten through college.

Thank god we have responsible and well-informed politicians to defend us against the depredations of the intelligentsia.

//rolls eyes

Shelby 9 years, 4 months ago

Academics and their sense of entitlement....sheesh.

assistant1234 9 years, 4 months ago

I believe this applies to all state employees with a certain income level, not just professors.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Yes, but the $50k level is interesting. Why should not all state employees regardless of salary be required to file such a form? A secretary making $40k can't have a conflict of interest?

The $50k level effectively includes most professors and excludes most other non-management state employees (maintenance, secretarial, etc.).

Why $50k? What's magical about $50k? Why not have all state employess file such a statement?

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Methinks I smell a whiff of populist, anti-intellectual backlash behind this $50k level.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 4 months ago

This legislation was probably bulldoozed through by the two hicks in the "big truck" that kidnapped and roughed-up KU Prof. Atheist.

Many industries, federal, state, private, have disclosure requirements when potential conflicts of interest are present. Is academia such that there are conflicts of interest justifying this? I don't know. I am however concerned about the short-term consequences this will have on repelling academics from coming to Kansas.

Maybe if we stop roughing-up our professors and let them keep their personal financial affairs private we will attract more academics in this state.

I'm neutral on this one. It's not that big of a deal either way.

jafs 9 years, 4 months ago

While I agree that any conflicts of interest should be uncovered and prevented, I am concerned about the continuing invasions of our privacy by this administration. Are there really grounds for forcing disclosure of spousal information? Are there any checks/balances on the gathering/use of the information?

Laura Wilson 9 years, 4 months ago

Maybe if the state paid professors what they deserve so many wouldn't have to scrounge for outside income to support their families. And, yes, I do know what I'm speaking about. My father has been a KU professor for 40 years and he still writes the occasional encyclopedia article or book review, still edits books, still does outside consulting, still teaches the occasional course at other local institutions just to live a comfortable life.

And I totally agree with Prof. Hanson that a spouse's income should have no relevancy. This is just one more way the government--whether led by Republicans or Democrats--is sticking their collective noses into people's lives.

Rationalanimal 9 years, 4 months ago

ladyoneill

Would you agree that the Lawrence City Commision is also infected with this chronic habit of sticking their collective noses into people's lives?

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

As a candidate, Taff was required to file such a form. What Taff did would not have been detected by this disclosure.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

The concept it nothing new. And the last amendment to the law was made in 20022. Disclosure of "Substantial interests" for state officials and employees has been the law for many years (starting in 1974). It requires many state employees to put down who else they get paid by - so conflicts of interest are known or knowable. Why is it a good idea for SOME public employees, but not all?
Check out K.S.A. 46-247 and 46-252 at www.kslegislature.org

The following individuals shall file written statements of substantial interests, as provided in K.S.A. 46-248 to 46-252, inclusive, and amendments thereto: (a) Legislators and candidates for nomination or election to the legislature. (b) Individuals holding an elected office in the executive branch of this state, and candidates for nomination or election to any such office. (c) State officers, employees and members of boards, councils and commissions under the jurisdiction of the head of any state agency who are listed as designees by the head of a state agency pursuant to K.S.A. 46-285, and amendments thereto. (d) Individuals whose appointment to office is subject to confirmation by the senate whether or not such individual is a state officer or employee. (e) General counsels for state agencies irrespective of how compensated. (f) The administrator or executive director of the education commission of the states, the interstate compact on agricultural grain marketing, the Mo-Kan metropolitan development district and agency compact, the Kansas City area transportation district and authority compact, the midwest nuclear compact, the central interstate low-level radioactive waste compact, the multistate tax compact, the Kansas-Oklahoma Arkansas river basin compact, the Kansas-Nebraska Big Blue river compact, and the multistate lottery. (g) Private consultants under contract with any agency of the state of Kansas to evaluate bids for public contracts or to award public contracts. (h) From and after January 1, 2003, any faculty member or other employee of a postsecondary educational institution as defined by K.S.A. 74-3201b, and amendments thereto, who provides consulting services and who, on behalf of or for the benefit of the person for which consulting services are provided: (1) Promotes or opposes action or nonaction by any federal agency, any state agency as defined by K.S.A. 46-224, and amendments thereto, or any political subdivision of the state or any agency of such political subdivision or a representative of such state agency, political subdivision or agency; or (2) promotes or opposes action or nonaction relating to the expenditure of public funds of the federal government, the state or political subdivision of the state or agency of the federal government, state or political subdivision of the state.

grimpeur 9 years, 4 months ago

And what about legislators who make over $50k (and lots do) but whose fraction from state income happens to be less than that? They're excluded, interestingly enough. Are we to believe they don't have conflicts?

All KU employees already file state income tax statements, federal income tax forms, and conflict of interest statements. Why the additional reporting requirement? Let anyone who wants to know look it up themselves. This is pretty carefully aimed at regents faculty, who make up most of the $50k+ bracket.

Onerous and unnecessary, this silly requirement should be trashed before it gets off the ground.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

The reason for the spouse rule is pretty simple: If a spouse is employed by a company (say Monsanto for example) and the professor is doing a study and publishes a paper saying Monsanto's products are great for the environment, wouldn't the people using that product like to know the professor's view-point might have been influenced by the large salary wife is getting? That's the kind of thing a substantial interest report would reveal.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

justthefacts,

Agreed. By why the $50k level? Why not have all state employees file this form?

KungFuLogic 9 years, 4 months ago

All this is just one more way the KS Legislature can screw-up the educational system in Kansas. Good one, piss the professors off that actually know something, drive them out of the state. We're the laughing stock of the nation right now. Look-out Mississippi and Arkansas, there's a new contender in town for the 50th spot in the educational system. This is horse crap.

Jamesaust 9 years, 4 months ago

I don't have an opinion on whether this is a 'good' law or not.

But I do believe that it was introduced and passed to address matters such as this: http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2006/04/20/PM200604205.html

"A new study states that every psychiatric expert involved in writing the standard diagnostic criteria for mood and psychotic disorders [the DSM] had financial ties to drug companies that sell medications for those illnesses."

You don't have to be "crazy" to wonder if judgment is influenced by personal financial concerns.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

I do not have a problem with disclosure statements generally, and I see no reason why the state cannot ask this of their employees, consultants, and contractors. It is the price of doing business in Kansas and it is within the rights of the state to do this.

I am still puzzled by the $50k cut-off, however. As said before, this number includes most state professors and excludes other non-management state employees such as tradesmen and clerical workers.

Salary level does not dictate the ability to have a conflict of interest. Given the history of animosity of the legislature to KU and other state universities, I can only hold that this $50k level was set to "target" state professors.

Rhoen 9 years, 4 months ago

I don't know why the profs would feel blind-sided by this requirement. They've had to provide the "conflict of interest" forms for many years. I guess it's just coming as a shock to some that their actual financial activities are going to get a good look-see now.

Some professors in some professional schools have very, very good consulting side-lines set up. In some cases, these consulting practices are actually reified as privately-operated gravy-trains in those schools. Saves having to pay for office space, personnel, computers, and other overhead items that most entrepreneurs have to finance.

In some instances, these consulting practices attract a LOT more of the profs' time and attention than their actual teaching / advising / research duties do. Of course, that's the logical choice because the consulting brings in a LOT more money!

In some instances, the consulting is done INSTEAD of the teaching / advising / research. IT's as if gaining tenure gives them an "ally ally oxen free" as far as prioritzing the work that was written into their position descriptions by the State.

And yes. This sort of disclosure requirement and prohibition of conflict of interest or of conflicting time-committments is common practice at public institutions of higher learning. These requirements are usually elements of an ETHICS policy.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Rhoen,

I agree with most of what you wrote. Consulting in some instances probably does take away from the responsibilities of research, teaching, and service. In many instances, however, consulting is considered to be a part of a professor's job. As most businesspeople and entrpreneurs know, too much government regulation can stifle creativity and progress. There must be a balance.

I still haven't heard a good reson why the $50k level was set other than to target one group of state employees (professors). All state employees should be required to disclose financial interests.

I think all of those doing business with the state, including those receiving state contracts and licenses as well as lobbyists and elected officials, should be subject to this rule.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Also, I think most professors feel "blind-sided" by this because they sense the punitive nature of this law directed at them (with the $50k cut-off).

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

The $50K cut off was probably negotiated BY LOBBIESTS for the teachers/proff's... Pointing out that people who got less then that would probably not have as much incentive/opportunity to conflict themselves between their public and private income sources.

NOTE the provision I copied above was in place in 2002.... Nothing recent about it. What is a bit more current are the open record provisions that allow greater public access to some information about potential conflicts of interest. That openness may be what is most bothering the proffs....

For those who like knowing facts and/or want to research the issue so they know what is really going on, the bills from all recent (from 1997 forward) legislative sessions are available on line at http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-bills/index.do
You can do a key word search and read all the bills that were proposed for those years. That, combined with a key word search at http://www.kslegislature.org/legsrv-statutes/index.do allows people do discover the FACTS - and not base their personal opinions upon mere feelings or snippets and pieces of the picture.

If you really want to go a good source of information on state regulation of its employees/officials and ethics, the entity in charge of enforcing such laws/things has loads of information available at http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/statecoi.htm

Happy learning!

Economist 9 years, 4 months ago

The comments on this article have been skirting around the real issues, but I don't think folks have hit upon it yet: 1) the state is asking the wrong people to fill out the form and 2) the state is asking the wrong questions.

Conflict of interest problems arise when people make decisions at work based on their personal financial interests and against the interest of the employer. Conflicts of interests arise because of the nature of the job, not the salary level. The list of positions given in justthefacts comment reflects this. The new regulation does not.

The second problem is that many of the assets the law asks to know about can not possibly result in conflicts of interest for faculty members. The new law requires that faculty report, among other things, ownership of mutual funds in retirement accounts. There is no decision a faculty member can make which will change the value of TIAA-CREF, so ownership of that, or any other large mutual fund, can not create a conflict of interest for a faculty member.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

JTF

You wrote "The $50K cut off was probably negotiated BY LOBBIESTS for the teachers/proff's... Pointing out that people who got less then that would probably not have as much incentive/opportunity to conflict themselves between their public and private income sources."

Is this factual or just your guess? What you are saying is that indeed professors were targeted because of their perceived increased likelihood to have conflicts.

Professors were indeed the target of this $50k cut-off? I challenge the idea that those making under $50k would have no chance for conflict of interest. All state employees regardless of salary should be subject to this law.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

"There is no decision a faculty member can make which will change the value of TIAA-CREF, so ownership of that, or any other large mutual fund, can not create a conflict of interest for a faculty member."

Indeed. The only hypothesis that explains all of the empirical data is that the legislature was targeting state professors with this law change. 1) The legislature and its members have in the past been openly hostile to Kansas professors. 2) A cut-off of $50k was provided. 3) Professors make up the bulk of non-management state employees who make greater than $50k/year, and most management state employees were already required to file the disclosure. 4) Most financial disclosures required (mutual funds, TIAA CREF) could in no way be influenced by the actions of a professor.

I am becomeing convinced that this represents a targetted treatment of professors. I have heard no compelling arguments otherwise, and would it really surprise anyone if the legislature did this?

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

I suggest those filling out the forms contact the state governmental ethics commission. Their phone # is 785-296-4219. They can help you get the facts straight.

The reporting form in question is at http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/pdfs/IVC.PDF
A guide on filling out the form is at http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/pdfs/INSTRUC.pdf

On retirement funds, or other types of investments, all that has to be listed is the broker or bank that has it and the % of the investment you own. You don't have break it down by amounts, or list the companies that the mutual fund invests in. All you do is say you have an investment and with whom and how much (E.g. if you own 100% or 50/50 of an invesment). E.g. I own 100% of IRA with Prudential is sufficient information. They are looking for information that would allow people to determine if there is an obvious conflict of interest, and they don't have a huge office/staff.

On the lobbiest thing, no I don't have personal information about how the $50,000 mark was set. Just making an educated guess (that's why I put the word "Probably" in there).

HOWEVER, if you read the bills that resulted in K.S.A. 's in question, at www.kslegislature.org, and review each version as the law got developed, you may see that there were changes made to the statute, over time. That amount got in there, eventually, because SOMEONE wanted it in there.... (legislators rarely make changes in statutes/bills on their own initiative - usually, someone has approached them with a "good idea" or problem.... that much I do know first hand).

And nightmare, if you think all state employees should be subject to the law (not just those in postitions to do the public harm because they have such a conflict) contact your lawmakers about another law. Oh and you might want to consider making it applicable to all public employees (city, county, township, rural water districts...etc.) That should keep the people who like lots of red tape and think more laws make us all safer really happy!

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

And no other state officials/employees have a dollar amount cut off. If the other state employees get $1 from any outside source, it must be reported. So if professors are being targeted (by a 1974 law that was last amended in 2002), they're getting better, not worse, treatment.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

JTF,

You are assuming that professors somehow have more potential "to do the public harm". This is an unsupported assumption. A clerical worker or trademan making less than $50k has potential "to do the public harm", by funneling contracts, licenses, etc., and by often times having access to private records and files.

"Oh and you might want to consider making it applicable to all public employees"

This is the way this state is headed. The populist paranoids in the legislature want to make sure that no one suckling from the public teat is getting uppity or prospering by means with which they disagree.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

JTF,

I didn't understand your last comment. It was my understanding that previously, only state employees in "positions of influence" were required to file this disclosure. The new law discussed here includes all state employees who make more than $50k, whether or not they are in "positions of influence". A monetary qualifier has been introduced, no?. Am I incorrect?

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

Read the statute I copied above. It states who must file. You are correct there was no $ amount before for any other group. If the substantial interest reporting rules apply to any other type of person, it doesn't matter how much $ they get from the outside source. You can read the statute above, or read K.S.A. 46-247 and 46-252 at www.kslegislature.org

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

I am not assuming proff's can do any good or harm. To anyone. I was merely trying to provide factual information on what the laws in question actually say, or require, and speculated as to the motives of those who actually did pass the law(s) in question. I have no personal opinion or pony in this race.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

Keep in mind that the $50K threshold amount is over and above what $ they will get from their salaries as proff's. It's the amount of $ they get from out-side sources OTHER then their state salary...

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

Other than professors, coaches and athletic directors and administrators, there are very few state employees who have the liberty and connections to earn over $50K per year from consulting and research activities.

Perhaps the cap was set at $50,000 because that is close to the average family annual income in Kansas. (Actually, it is about $6000 more than the average Kansas family earns).

If a state employee has earned income of more than $50,000 in addition to regular state salary, I think it is fair to have to report that. And it is fair to ask for a report on the spouse's income, as well, because Kansas is a community property state, and because some enterprising profs have been known to set up their businesses under their spouses' names.

I think he or she should also answer the questions, "How much time did you spend doing your state job?" and "What state resources did you use to earn this money?"

Terry Bush 9 years, 4 months ago

You don't HAVE to rely upon reporters to find out facts for you (and probably should not). If you want to know the laws in other states, it's now fairly easy to find out on the internet. Just "google" (do a search using a word engine of your choice) and find the web sites for the laws and agencies of other states. If that is what would help you to decide if it's a good idea to have public officials & employees provide the public with accurate information about their "side income" from sources (especially ones that they could potentially swing public support/dollars to.....)

Economist 9 years, 4 months ago

Justthefacts is incorrect. Any faculty member who is paid more then $50,000 in salary from the university must file, not those who get paid more then $50,000 from an outside source.

Again, they are asking the wrong people to fill out the form.

Economist 9 years, 4 months ago

I see Godot has picked up the incorrect interpretation as well. Faculty who do outside consulting have always had to file conflict of interest forms with the University. What is new with this legislation is that any non-adjunct faculty member with a university salary of more the $50,000 MUST FILE EVEN IF THEY EARNED NO INCOME FROM ANY OTHER SOURCE.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Thanks Econ, you are correct.

JTF was wrong in that the 50k refers to the salary paid by the state, not from other sources. The limit from other sources that needs to be disclosed is $5k or higher or greater than 5% interest in a company.

So, my question stands. Why are only those who are paid more than $50k by the state subject to disclosure? The answer is that this number effectively targets professors and does not include most clerical/tradesmen who are state employees.

Econ is also correct in that this is in addition to the conflict of interest statement that all faculty are required to sign each year.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Godot and justthefacts,

Please get your facts straight before you start making arguments and accusing others of being ill-informed and telling them to "read the law". You both thought that the $50k referred to income outside of the state-paid salary. This is incorrect. The $50k refers to the state-paid salary. It makes it difficult to debate these matters when one party does not have their facts straight.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

YWN, I do not recall accusing anyone of being ill-informed or telling them to read the law. You must be projecting.

I re-read the law, and stand corrected. No excuse, of course, but speed reading is never the appropriate method for undertaking the understanding of a piece of legislation.

The latest amendment to this bill actually targets faculty earning more than $50K, regardless of their responsibilities. Other sections of the bill probably cause many faculty members to have to report, anyway, but the last section definitely singles out faculty who earn more than $50,000 in salary.

That is wierd. Really wierd.

By the way, when I was a classified supervisor years ago, I was required to file a disclosure, and, believe me, I did not earn anywhere near $50K.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

These sections of the bill would probably snag many faculty members, anyway:

"1) Promotes or opposes action or nonaction by any federal agency, any state agency as defined by K.S.A. 46-224, and amendments thereto, or any political subdivision of the state or any agency of such political subdivision or a representative of such state agency, political subdivision or agency; or (2) promotes or opposes action or nonaction relating to the expenditure of public funds of the federal government, the state or political subdivision of the state or agency of the federal government, state or political subdivision of the state."

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Godot,

Those in management positions (e.g. a classified supervisor) have always been required to file.

I don't see how those two sections would include professors. My reading suggests these sections are meant for lobbyists (those who lobby for/against laws and spending). Certainly the KU lobbyists in the legislature would be included, but I can't see why professors would be.

Again I ask: why the $50k level?

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

I agree. $50K is arbitrary. Make it all faculty.

Wilbur_Nether 9 years, 4 months ago

Chic wrote: "Tax payers are the employers of state workers..." which is nonsense, in the same way that saying shoppers are the employers of [fill in the name of your least favorite big-box store here]. The Department/Commission/Office who pays the salary of the state worker is the worker's employer. The worker works for the appointing authority.

I have never believed the "business" analogy to government works. If one insists on the analogy, though, voters (not to be confused with taxpayers, who may or may not be eligible to vote for myriad reasons) are more like shareholders and the legislature is more like a board of directors. But it's still a bad analogy.

The State doesn't have a profit motive. The State is exempt from a large percentage of the regulatory burden applied to the private sector. (And really, we wouldn't want it to be subject to those, because regulatory compliance nearly always has an associated cost. Frankly, I doubt we could afford it.) The State is required to operate under sunshine laws for the most part, where private industry can hide most of its work under the label of privacy or competitive advantage. The analogy just doesn't work for lots of reasons....

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

Wilbur posted "I have never believed the "business" analogy to government works. If one insists on the analogy, though, voters (not to be confused with taxpayers, who may or may not be eligible to vote for myriad reasons) are more like shareholders and the legislature is more like a board of directors. But it's still a bad analogy.:

It is not just a bad analogy, it doesn't even apply. Period. The "board of directors" of a public company cannot require the shareholders to pay, upon penalty of imprisonment, whatever the board decides is necessary to keep the company afloat.

In real life, stockholders risk only their original investment. Taxpayers are at the mercy of their out-of-control government. And the sad thing is, they can't cash in their stock and take their losses.....unless they decide to move away.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

"I agree. $50K is arbitrary. Make it all faculty."

You miss the point. Most faculty are paid more than $50k to begin with. That is why this law seems to target professors while sparing lesser-paid state employees (clerical, trades, maintenance, etc.).

The crux of my argument is that this $50k level was established to specifically target professors, the majority of state employees that earn over $50k/year from the state.

Why not include all salaried state employees regardless of income?

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

The goals of the state and of a business are completely different and any business analogy is worthless. A business seeks to make money (with the possible exception of Hobby Lobby). The state is concerned with facilitating and providing infrastructure for the public good and for the good of commerce. How much more would our goods and services cost if all roads, policing, fire, emergency, etc. were private and operated with a profit motive?

It is fine to use business strategies in government (e.g. management styles), but it is foolish to think the state has a profit motive.

Anti-tax whining generally emanates from very selfish people who cannot see beyond a direct benefit to themselves. Everyone benefits from public infrastructure in different ways.

Godot, how many degrees of separation are you from suckling at the public teat? The answer might surpise you.

Godot 9 years, 4 months ago

As I pointed out before, Nightmare, it is abundantly clear that the last provision of the bill targets faculty. You know why? Because it actually uses the word, "faculty," in the sentence.

I repeat, the $50K floor is arbitrary. Just say "all faculty."

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

"The crux of my argument is that this $50k level was established to specifically target professors, the majority of state employees that earn over $50k/year from the state. Why not include all salaried state employees regardless of income?"

Read the statute (again). It DOES target most state employees regardless of income. The ones that have to report their outside influences are those who are in positions to make decisions that could result in a swing or use of government power or money to favor that entity (or the employee). A "mere" secretary may not have to report her Mary Kay job, because she has no power or opportunity (in her state job) of doing things to help that company (or herself). However, her boss is going to have to report outside income sources.

SO the statute does target all state employees and officials who make outside income that could influence their complete devotion to their state master. Adding teachers into the law (in 2002 or sooner) was merely a recognition that they're doing things that could be influenced (to the detriment of the public) by outside influences.

justthefacts 9 years, 4 months ago

What the law provides: (in answer to those who claim a consulting agreement does not trigger the reporting requirement):

(h) From and after January 1, 2003, any faculty member or other employee of a postsecondary educational institution as defined by K.S.A. 74-3201b, and amendments thereto, who provides consulting services and who, on behalf of or for the benefit of the person for which consulting services are provided: (1) Promotes or opposes action or nonaction by any federal agency, any state agency as defined by K.S.A. 46-224, and amendments thereto, or any political subdivision of the state or any agency of such political subdivision or a representative of such state agency, political subdivision or agency; or(2) promotes or opposes action or nonaction relating to the expenditure of public funds of the federal government, the state or political subdivision of the state or agency of the federal government, state or political subdivision of the state.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 4 months ago

Aha, so it does target faculty. Why is this? How is a professor different from "a secretary with a Mary-Kay side job"?

Faculty do not have any a priori power or influence akin to a manager or a legislator. Those faculty in management roles were already required to file. Why target faculty regardless of management position?

Economist 9 years, 4 months ago

Justthefacts said

"SO the statute does target all state employees and officials who make outside income that could influence their complete devotion to their state master. Adding teachers into the law (in 2002 or sooner) was merely a recognition that they're doing things that could be influenced (to the detriment of the public) by outside influences."

The new statute DOES NOT target faculty who make outside income. It requires faculty to tell the state about many assets the faculty member might own, even when neither they nor their spouse earn ANY outside income.

The statute does say that gifts from parents are exempt from the reporting requirements. Any opinion on whether that applies to your spouses parents or step-parent?

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