Archive for Thursday, September 7, 2006

Job training program in disarray, audit says

September 7, 2006


— The state's job training system is plagued by lack of coordination and oversight and questionable expenditures, according to a legislative audit released Wednesday.

"Who's in charge?" asked state Sen. Les Donovan, R-Wichita, chairman of the Legislative Post Audit Committee.

The panel reviewed an audit of job training programs that will receive $25 million this year in federal dollars under the Workforce Investment Act. The funds are supposed to be used to help unemployed Kansans find work and better train employees.

Two years ago, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius launched an effort that she said would better coordinate those programs by moving them to the Kansas Department of Commerce.

But the audit said problems persisted.

"The work force training is happening, but we could do a better job," said Sen. Karin Brownlee, R-Olathe, who requested the audit. "There needs to be an improvement in the Department of Commerce."

Commerce Secretary Howard Fricke defended his agency's work but conceded more improvement was needed. He blamed many of the problems on the requirements of the federal legislation.

"I am confident that we are on the right track and that the daily efforts of Commerce staff to make system improvements are paying off," Fricke said.

But aside from the operational problems, Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, said she was surprised by the expense of the system. In the 2005 fiscal year, $21 million was spent to provide services to 5,500 people, which averages to $3,818 a person.

"That's just beyond comprehension," she said.

The audit showed significant strains both at the state level and at local job centers in every area of Kansas except the northeast sector, which includes Douglas County.

The audit found:

¢ Three of Kansas' five regional One-Stop centers, which are supposed to bring all training programs under one roof, fail to have all the necessary programs.

¢ The state's efforts to monitor local work force development programs haven't been carried out well. In western Kansas, the contractor for local services gave himself and family members $102,000 in bonuses over a two-year period. That contract was ended in July 2005.

¢ The cost of programs varies significantly area to area.

¢ Many contracts for local programs that were required to be bid competitively were not.

¢ A number of expensive leases for office space.

Lawrence Workforce Center

Fricke told legislators that Commerce had already uncovered and acted on many of the audit's findings. And he emphasized that under the federal law, local boards were in charge of operating the programs.

"The bottom line is that this is a federal program administered at the local level," he said.

He said that when Sebelius took office in 2002 "Kansas' work force development plans were suffering."

Laurel Murdie, who led the audit team, said coordination of work development programs in Kansas continued to be a problem.

"They are still operating very much in silos. That seems to be a struggle not only in Kansas, but other states, too," she said.

She noted that in addition to the programs under Commerce, there were numerous work force efforts under the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and the state prison system.

Brownlee cut Fricke some slack on the audit's problems with the lack of some programs at the One-Stop centers, but she said overall the agency needed to do a better job monitoring area offices.

"We need to have Commerce report what they are finding in the field," she said.


geekin_topekan 11 years, 7 months ago

In western Kansas, the contractor for local services gave himself and family members $102,000 in bonuses over a two-year period

OK,all geniuses on board?How is this allowed to happen and how do they get away with it?With public money?

oldgoof 11 years, 7 months ago

geek: local control with local boards. (And how did the states school districts spend $4.5 million public money on lobbyists and trial attorneys)

Citizens say they want it, they got it. Toyota.

wbob 11 years, 7 months ago

How can this be happening in Kansas, where our governor is one of the nation's top five?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

OH GOOD! ANOTHER state agency in total melt down!

"Commerce Secretary Howard Fricke defended his agency's work but conceded more improvement was needed. He blamed many of the problems on the requirements of the federal legislation."

WHAT an IDIOT! The Feds are the ones giving the money, they are then going to tell you how to spend it. The problem is that some Kansas Beaureacrat yahoo makes their own decision that is illegal and inappropriate.


""The bottom line is that this is a federal program administered at the local level," he said."

Bottom line YOU, you stupid dork are RESPONSIBLE for the ENTIRETY of the program and are SUPPOSED to CONTROL the programatic aspects as the disburser of the funds.

I wonder how many illegal aliens were trained? How many people were checked to do the proper background checks.


LEt's see the current score:

KDHE can't manage any of it's programs, SRS had 2 different programs that are so bad off the Feds are taking money back, and they used consultants and contractors for that too, Schools for Finance group used taxpayer monies to sue the STATE OF KANSAS, The Kansas Department of Commerce wqants to seel our lakes The SRS cannot remove 2 little girls before their step monster tries to starve them to death, The KSBOE catered to a "Kansas Talibahn" in order to make education a fundamentalist endoctrination.

I tell ya folks, I voted foR GOv. Kathy because she said she was going to clean these things up, and this is what we get??

We need to fire a A LOT OF CURRENT KANSAS EMPLOYEES, starting with the DEPARTMENT HEADS< and get some competent people in there.

Good Lord. ALL of the Legislators need to be outraged at ALL the Kansas Agencies. They are TOTALLY dysfunctional...that costs Kansans millions of dollars, and keeps need services out of the hands of those that really need them.


Makes you wonder just how well they actually could respond to a massive viral outbreak, or a really terrible disaster. Our best of our expectations is in the hands of DOLTS!!

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

Here is the LPA report on this mess:

It is amazing. It states that of 12 contracts accounting for $1 Million that were supposed to be competetively bid, 9 were awarded with out fulfilling that requirement.

Secondly, this "local Board" thing and their "one stop csnters". The report stated that some members on the 5 local boards actually had or have interests in those enbtities that are receiving those contracts! THis thing is DIRTY, CORRUPT, and needs to have an overhaul. If Fricke or whoever the hell it is htinks this is OK...well bad judgement there, he gotta go!!

THis is flat amazing.

When did Kansas become so CORRUPT?

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

This IS a much BIGGER DEAL than the article lets on. Obviously the journalists only looked at the executive summary. It is less than a 200 KB. The report is 6.91 MEGS!

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

Is Greenbush one of thos service cneters? They are the South East Kansas Educational Service Center.

The website is:

just look at the LOONNNGGG list of staff. included is the "environmental COmpliance site. THese guys deliver these services to the schools in direct competition to the private sector. NO private sector can just give away services like these guys do. An AHERA traing class for Supervisors anual refresher....$65, for the rest of the private sector companies....$125-175. nuff daid.

ASBESTOS 11 years, 7 months ago

Will someone PLEASE do an investigation of Interlocal 609 shcool district and see how the money is being used and if they are doing competitive bidding on products and services, or are these all "inside deals" to special partners.

They are a public entity, and going through their website, it smells BAD!

I will bet that the "employees" of "Interlocal 609", salaries are higher than teachers salaries. I bet they get "administrative level" compensation.

As a "public entity" their salaries are OPEN PUBLIC RECORDS.

THis will be interesting!

Wilbur_Nether 11 years, 7 months ago

offtotheright wondered "What training are they speaking of? Is this only for welfare recipients? Or ordinary people?" And ASBESTOS wanted to know "Is Greenbush one of thos service cneters?"

Rather than look for those answers here, why not contact the Department of Commerce and ask?

And, ASBESTOS, didn't I remember you write some weeks back that you were going to request those open records and conduct your own investigation?

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