Archive for Monday, August 1, 2011

Gov. Brownback cancels meeting with Rep. Paul Davis to discuss Lawrence SRS office

Gov. Sam Brownback provides a progress report on his first six months in office Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback was joined by Cabinet secretaries and executive directors of state agencies and programs.

Gov. Sam Brownback provides a progress report on his first six months in office Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka. Brownback was joined by Cabinet secretaries and executive directors of state agencies and programs.

August 1, 2011


Gov. Sam Brownback has canceled a meeting scheduled with House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, to discuss the planned closure of the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

The meeting was supposed to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday, and Davis was going to appeal to Brownback to keep the office open. But Davis’ office got word from Brownback’s office Monday afternoon that the meeting was off.

Davis said the governor’s office said they would reschedule the meeting when there were more concrete ideas about ways to keep the office in operation.

“I’m still encouraged they are talking with us and seem to be open to some alternatives,” Davis said. “It’s just going to take some sorting through.”

SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. has proposed closing nine SRS offices, including the one in Lawrence. Siedlecki and Brownback have said Lawrence clients will be able to access services online or go to offices in other cities, such as Topeka and Kansas City.

The proposal has caused widespread opposition. Local leaders say closing the Lawrence office will disrupt services to thousands of vulnerable Kansans.

Siedlecki has said the office closure will save about $400,000 per year, mostly in rent. But recently it was revealed that half of that amount is paid by the federal government.

Davis said local units of government in Lawrence are discussing how they might be able to help keep the office open.

“We just need to have more conversations about that and try to get an understanding of where people are before we talk to the governor,” Davis said.

Talks have been going on concerning how local government could offset the state’s rent costs for the SRS building.

Douglas County commissioners have held two closed-door sessions on the SRS issue — one Monday and one Friday — but they have remained tight-lipped about their deliberations.

“We’re continuing to work on this issue,” said Jim Flory, commission chairman, after adjourning Monday’s special meeting without any formal action. “We’re continuing to work on it, which says something in and of itself.”

Added Commissioner Mike Gaughan: “As a commission, we’re very concerned about making sure that we look out for the community and we continue to look forward to resolving this. We continue to look at every option we can think of, with our attorneys.”

Gaughan declined to say whether the commission would be coming up with a plan, or plans, for Davis to take to Brownback.

“We’re looking at every option that we can think of,” Gaughan said.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the day of Davis' meeting with Brownback. It was scheduled for Tuesday.


George_Braziller 4 years ago

I think Brownback sent a passive but clear message. He isn't interested in discussing it. The decision has been made and that's the end of the story as far as he's concerned.

chootspa 4 years ago

That's always been his message and his MO. "Open to discussion" is Brownback code for "please don't have any sort of massive protests until it's too late to do anything about it."

whats_going_on 4 years ago

thats exactly what I was thinking.

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Paul Davis is either a milquetoast or grossly incompetent. Brownshirt blows him off by cancelling the meeting, and Davis explains that “we just need to have more conversations about that and try to get an understanding of where people are before we talk to the governor.”

So, what is it, Mr. Davis? Did you make a mistake in requesting a meeting before obtaining an understanding of "where people are."

Or, after being swiftly booted in the ass by Sammy boy, are you telling the governor, "Thank you sir, may I please have another."

overthemoon 4 years ago

I suggested that Stain's comment be removed. I don't think you should be posting people's home address. Not in this crazy world we live in.

kansasredlegs 4 years ago

Unless he's changed his ways, he doesn't really live there. That's how he got appointed to the office. He pulled a Phil Kline who purportedly lived above a storage unit in Johnson County while actually residing in Topeka. My guess is that if you peek in the window you'll see no furniture. Hopefully, not as I would sure like to think that Mr. Davis wouldn't continue to be pulling a Kline on the cititzens of Lawrence.

Phillbert 4 years ago

You don't have any idea what you're talking about. That or you're just lying.

sr80 4 years ago

Redlegs is just in training to become a politician,seems he has 2 of the qualifications !!

kansasredlegs 4 years ago

Okay Sheeple, let me lay this one out for ya'.

When Rep. Davis took office for the first time, he was appointed, not elected. He listed an address as his residence but he actually didn't live there, but in another part of Lawrence. See, Lawerence has those crazy gerry-salamander lines and to get the appointment he had to fudge his residence location much like Kline, the Topeka-residing Johnson County DA. Get it? If not, you never will.

EarthaKitt 4 years ago

My kids go to daycare with his kids here in Lawrence. I can't imagine he's busing them in from another town as part of his cover.

Orwell 4 years ago

So what? Brown back will see to it that none of this new money ever makes it to the state general fund. Particularly if it comes from oil interests.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years ago

Don't ever give "Paul Davis Restoration" a free plug, this bunch of shysters came to my house after a fire in 1998 and left a bunch of problems, tried to junk perfectly good equpment, left debris in my yard, left damaged areas in the house untouched, lost personal items in their north Lawrence warehouse, and generally screwed up their "restoration".

Do not associate them with our elected official, Representative Paul Davis, there is no connection and deservedly so.

storm 4 years ago

Thank you for posting this. Others need to be aware that Paul Davis is not associated with that awful company that shares his name.

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Brownie doesn't need integrity. He has god.

TopJayhawk 4 years ago

I think in this case, he would be considered the God of dry children. Texas ain't got no water.

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

Most likely the article is written for publication in the Tuesday paper.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

Or maybe Mr. Davis waited all day for Brownback to show up. And then finally, a secretary told him the meeting was off.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years ago

I read the article again more closely. It did not happen that way at all.

Jan Rolls 4 years ago

Don't understand. Meeting scheduled for 9 am but got word in the afternoon it was cancelled. Probably got a last minute call before 9

evilpenguin 4 years ago

More to the point, the article seems to imply that Brownback's office didn't bother to tell Paul Davis that the meeting was off until after it was supposed to have happened.

"The meeting was supposed to start at 9 a.m. today" (presumably Monday)

"But Davis’ office got word from Brownback’s office Monday afternoon that the meeting was off"

Now that's just plain rude.

overthemoon 4 years ago

it says 9 a.m. Tuesday. Not today.

evilpenguin 3 years, 12 months ago

I took those quotes from Monday's article, directly from the article. So they have obviously revised it.

Dan Eyler 4 years ago

What part of broke do you not understand. The governor said he was going to cut the budget. He signed into law the 42 million in cuts to SRS passed by the legislature. Sorry but that isn't a lack of integrity but leadership that you may or may not agree with. We were 1/2 a billion short in revenue to pay our bills just to finish out this year and not a dime in the bank. Some of you don' t see a problem with that as long as you get your share. You don't care because that is your own life style. Every aspect of our society is broke. I'm tapped out and everybody I know is tapped out and none of us are asking the government to fill the gap. This will get worse before it gets better. It may be years before it gets better. Lawrence is a big city that prides itself on the Hillary Clinton approach that we're just one big village. We now have an opportunity to prove it. But your delusional if you think the tax payer can continue the government spending. I'm not willing to fund government when I cannot fund myself and my own family. I'm making no apology to anyone but I am willing to help those in need in some capacity, what about you.

pittstatebb 4 years ago

Few things to remember: 1) The State of Kansas can never be broke. The deficit of which you speak was projected. 2) Said projection was wrong. Tax revenues increased. 3) The state now has a surplus (not as much as they need by budget rules but a surplus none the less)

Now do you see how it is reasonable for people to complain about closing the SRS office in the 6th largest city in the state. Compare that to Osawatomie that has a population of 4500 to Lawrence's 80,000. Guess which one will have an SRS office come next year.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

Right!!! Brownback and Seidlecki are trying to con the people in Kansas with B.S. and out and out lies on savings for the state... In addition to the figures you list would be additional costs and strain on local agencies. Browncrack is a crackpot crook!!!

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Keep at hitting back my friend. Nice analysis.

saraj 4 years ago

This response should be published on the front page of the Journal World.....Thanks ....Very well said.

Zac Hamlin 4 years ago

This is the most succinct argument I have seen so far.

lawslady 4 years ago

Not to mention the $5000 per bill for every bill they introduced this past session.... Look up how many were "silly" at ... By my count as of March 2011, the legislature spent close to half-million $, and that's when I gave up counting. If the governor wanted to cut spending, he'd suggest that his friends in the Legislature only propose bills that stand a chance of passing.

grannyh 4 years ago

Does our governor have a vacation coming up that he is going to Texas to a prayer meeting? Is he paying his own way to that prayer meeting? His form of Christianity is not my form, and I have been a practicing Christian for more years than he has been alive. Jesus helped people and didn't hurt those who needed it the most. Faith based initiative sounds perilously close to mixing church and state, and if I recall my American history, that is a no no in the eyes of our founding fathers. We are to have a separation of church and state. If churches start interfering with government then perhaps they should loose their tax exempt status.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

"Some of you don' t see a problem with that as long as you get your share. "

We pay our share, why shouldn't we get our share? I want my taxes to go to the needy in Lawrence. Shall we close the office in your community? You don't seem to care if your tax dollars come back to your town.

Cant_have_it_both_ways 4 years ago

Demand more from the system than you put in?

Jimo 4 years ago

What part of we ain't broke do you not understand?

pittstatebb 4 years ago

Once agian,

1) Kansas is not broke nor can it ever be broke. 2) Kansas had a PROJECTED budget deficit. 3) Said projection turned out to be wrong and we now have a budget surplus.

This is a Kansas issue not to be confused with any of the following: Barack Obama, Congress, the Federal Deficit or the Federal Debt.

Jan Rolls 4 years ago

If we are broke why does he keep finding new positions to hire his buddies for?

guesswho 4 years ago

please quit using reason and math; it just confuses me and others. If what our governor says is true, it must be. No place at all for common sense and logic.

overthemoon 4 years ago

The trend continues. Brownback does not want any feedback or input WHILE making decisions...he just wants to issue edicts after meeting only with those who agree with him.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

"Brownback does not want any feedback or input WHILE making decisions...he just wants to issue edicts after meeting only with those who agree with him."

This is exactly his logic for removing all repubs who have challenged him anytime since day one.

Brownback and Koch/Wal-Mart money will be "lining up" those christian enough to serve him. This technique was proven successful in Washington D.C. In essence the Ks repub party will be history if Brownback people have their way. The D.C. repub party is dead and gone.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

Brownback really just can't handle true numbers, nor cares about the people in Kansas. What a chicken $$$T!

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Obama was right when he called for closing the loophole in Medicare Part D to allow the government to use its bulk-purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices YES !!!

Hands Off Medicare AND Social Security!

Hands Off Medicare! Healthcare-NOW! is fighting back! The deficit commission is meeting behind closed doors regularly to balance the nation's budget on the backs of working people looking to the programs that keep us from financial devastation – social security and Medicare.

We say cuts to these important programs are "OFF THE TABLE."

Medicare is The Solution NOT The Problem

5 important Myths surrounding Social Security

pittstatebb 4 years ago

Not going to disagree with you, but I am not seeing the link between a story about Brownback not keeping a meeting with Davis about the Lawrence SRS closure and an AARP commercial.

rtwngr 4 years ago

The SRS office in Lawrence is not the only state budget item on the chopping block. Kansasfaithful is correct in that the bulk of you and your ilk in this town are not the least bit ashamed of taking other people's money to fund the entitlements that you decide are necessary. Sorry, I don't buy it.

Next up, somebody wants to blame "big oil" and the "rich." Well the budget shortcomings are the result of several years of Sebelius' spending. Every single state that is in trouble in this country is or was a democrat party controlled state. California, New York, Ohio, Michigan, and on and on. You people can't see the handwriting on the wall. This entitlement mentality that government exists to confiscate money from those that have it to redistribute to those that refuse to help themselves must end.

People have a right to basic "healthcare" not health insurance. We do not have a right to a government handout. Nobody has a "right" to a college education. There are things in this life that require work, sacrifice, and planning.

The SRS office is gone. Deal with it. Go Sammy!!!!

Bob_Keeshan 4 years ago

The state in the most trouble is Texas. I encourage you to pray for them.

Orwell 4 years ago

Quick, now... When was the last time the Kansas Legislature had a Democratic majority in either house. Or were you unaware that it's the legislature, not the governor, that adopts the budget?

Please try harder to keep up.

guesswho 4 years ago

No, states are in trouble because of less federal transfers back to them, thanks to Bush tax cuts and going to 2 wars and a prescription drug benefit.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

"Well the budget shortcomings are the result of several years of Sebelius' spending."

Do you really not know anything about government? The legislative branch decides what to spend, not the governor. They can suggest a budget, and in Brownback's case demand a budget, but governors only veto or approve a budget. The Republican legislature spent too much. Yes, Republicans have been in charge of Kansas forever. Now we have the tea party, and, trust me, they have no one's interest but their own in mind. Theirs and the big businesses that fund them.

Jimo 4 years ago

There's not a Republican controlled state in this country that isn't in trouble.

Move on, Pathetic Loser!

CrackpipeCardozo 4 years ago

"Every single state that is in trouble in this country is or was a democrat party controlled state. California, New York, Ohio, Michigan, and on and on. You people can't see the handwriting on the wall."

Would that handwriting be anything similar to this:

"The Red and Black: Where federal taxes are raised and spent"

Jan Rolls 4 years ago

Your title says it all. People like you are why we spent months dealing with the debt ceiling which is normally a routine event. You and your kind were hoping it wouldn't get done so you could blame the president. Too bad - you lose. Evidently you are rich because you don't care if the rich get richer while the rest of us struggle. You and your tea party idiots are one and done. The whole country sees trhough you now.

4accountability 4 years ago

"The proposal has caused widespread opposition" Not really..the opposition only comes from Lawrence. Newsflash! There is a world outside Lawrence and other Kansas communities (yes there are some) have survived SRS closings for years now. Lawrence did not feel compelled to do anything to stop those. Move on.

BigAl 4 years ago

Those other communities can fight their own battles. Move on.

pittstatebb 4 years ago

Were any of those other communities the 6th largest city or the 5th largest county?

4accountability 4 years ago

Surely you are not suggesting that Lawrence citizens are in some way owed more consideration that individuals who live in other areas of closure. Past closures have created situations where travel was many times that of what will occur in this case. Communities will become even better about problem solving for long term solutions rather than sending everyone to apply for disability or other funding if it is not so easy to do so. I watched today as two young men (who I am certain would have able to qualify for disability assistance) moved the carts inside in 109 degree heat. They have done this in rain and snow and heat for years now because their families have provided the necessary support and guidance to have them work. I admire them. They are very lucky that someone guided them to the job application line at Walmart instead of the hand out application line at SRS. Services and assistance was never meant for all or as a primary solution. If it were only used as a last resort, as intended, everyone would be better for it.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

"There is a world outside Lawrence and other Kansas communities (yes there are some) have survived SRS closings for years now."

Such as?

Face it unless a crowd of people are friendly to Brownback thinking never expect to see his face in a meeting with voting taxpayers.

4accountability 4 years ago

SRS closed over half (61 of 106) of it's offices from 2003-2007 under our previous Governor. Each community is still on the map and their caseloads and many of the workers transfered to other offices.

Alceste 4 years ago

Wamego is but one example: That jackass little hillbilly town even shut the SRS office down for TWO HOURS A DAY for lunch!!!!

The workers came in at 6am; had dinky little case loads......blah, blah, blah. Real "customer service" going in that Northeast Region that poor old Greg Valentine had been running. shrug

TWO HOURS: From 11am- - - -1pm the doors to a government social services agency was CLOSED to facilitate staff needs. Incredible.

Alceste 4 years ago

Let us not forget about the sweetheart deal Mr. Davis has arranged for himself relative to his retirement from "public office" via way of the KPERS payoff all legislators get. They figure they work 372 days per year!!

Even though they only really earn that for several months of the year, they get credit for earning it all year long.

For the legislator listing all income - the daily rate, subsistence and allowance - this is how annualization is calculated:

•$88.66 (daily rate) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $32,981.52

•$123 (subsistence) x 31 (days) x 12 (months) = $45,756

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

Altogether, that equals $85,820.52, and that's the pay figure that would be used for that legislator retiring now.

Now then, that political hack who is president of the Kansas hillbilly senate or whatever the operation is has defended this obscene payout because legilsators work for " little money....". Ok....if that is the case, why aren't all civil servants for the state of Kansas allowed to have their KPERS benefit calculated on a 372 day work year?

In calendar year 2010, employer contributions for legislators in KPERS slightly topped $900,000.

A legislator retiring with an annualized pay of $85,820.52, and with 10 years' service, would have an annual KPERS benefit of $15,018.60, for a monthly benefit of $1,251.55, according to KPERS. If the retiring legislator had 20 years' service, the annual benefit would be $30,037.20, and monthly, $2,503.10.

A state social services worker in a supervisory role retired in 1995 after 15 years and draws a monthly KPERS benefit of $524. That is equal to the monthly benefit for a county-level commercial appraiser who retired at 65, vested at nine years with KPERS.

It's for the children, you know. shrug

Bob Forer 4 years ago

Thanks for the info. Our democracy has been usurped by a bunch of crooks--dems and repubs.

texburgh 4 years ago

Most of your facts are correct - the Legislature has a sweet retirement deal that should be on the table in this whole KPERS reform. They are a major drain on the system that should be preserved for the real working people it was intended for.

That being said, you are wrong on one count: "the sweetheart deal Mr. Davis has arranged for himself ..." Mr. Davis did not arrange this deal, it was in place long before he came into the legislature. Blaming this on Mr. Davis or any other current member of the legislature is just plain wrong.

The other thing you might check is whether or not Mr. Davis takes the benefit. I don't know the answer to that but each legislator can choose to take or decline the KPERS benefit and each legislator can also determine whether or not to take the benefit based on all of the calculations you shared or only part of them. Not every legislator takes the benefit or the maximum allowable benefit.

The average annual benefit for KPERS retirees is less than $12,000. A real "golden parachute."

notanota 4 years ago

He's obsessed with it, though, and will bring up KPERS any time someone brings up a public employee and twenty times when someone brings up a legislator. At this point there are much bigger fish to fry.

Alceste 4 years ago

The proper focus should not simply be on the closing of the Lawrence office which in and of itself is absurd, if not a bit amusing. That's just selfish. The proper focus is on the corruption and malfeasance inherent in all of SRS which includes the rubes in the Lawrence office. This fixation on a singular office is obscene. Where is the indignation when childrens' lives are at stake? Answer: It's nowhere to be found and headed toward the bank.... :

Problems do exist here- problems that have been ignored for a long time - Now it's time to pay the piper thru budget cuts. Ask your legislators why they have allowed children to be stolen by SRS in the previous administrations - and by the way - since the judges DON"T follow the law - you as a tax payer are paying for the children - no matching dollars from the federal govenrment - there are requirements that have to be met by law for the children to be eligible for federal funding- the judges aren't meeting those requirements and the legislators are writing laws that don't require it. Ask Rep Paul Davis about the findings of the KS Post Legislative Audits - falsifications of documents to wrongfully remove childlren - the cost for those children coming out of the general budget. And Guess what - the outcome of foster care is such that these children become adults that are still a drain on the tax payer.

concerned_kansan ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ concerned_kansan noted: "Don Jordan and Tanya Keys were paid to cover up what was going on in the SRS agencies and all of their regions. Jordan was aware that there was falsifcation of documents to illegaly remove children and place them in the custody of the state to receive federal funds (only problem was - how they did it - not following the requirements - the children weren't eligible for federal funding and the Kansas tax payer had to pay - out of the general fund - for the crimes against the children and families)...." and earlier had noted:

"Ask Rep Paul Davis about the findings of the KS Post Legislative Audits - falsifications of documents to wrongfully remove childlren - the cost for those children coming out of the general budget. And Guess what - the outcome of foster care is such that these children become adults that are still a drain on the tax payer."

concerned_kansan is stating fact with respect to the fraud being perpetrated on the families of the state of Kansas by SRS in the past relative to how children are torn from their caretakers and placed in a disgusting process of foster care drift to fill the coffers of our good friend B. Wayne Sims and the Dante's Inferno place known as Kaw Valley Center here in Kansas thanks to the privitization of foster care services in Kansas.

Alceste 4 years ago

The facts have been out for almost four years that Kansas has been and continues to destroy families and the future of children in the way it "does business". These facts were all outlined by Richard Wexler and the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform's report:


Why Kansas Child Welfare is Broken – and ^ Ten Ways to Fix It

which may be read here:

How quickly we forget and take our eye off the ball.....if it ever was on the ball. All this caterwallering when, in the final analysis, it has nothing to do about children and everything to do about "ME FIRST!!!". Incredible....well....sort of.... is a press release that needs to be re-read.

Here's a reminder when that woman SEBELIUS was the Gov. and quoting from the press release noted above: "NCCPR also has joined Citizens for Change in calling on the federal Administration for Children and Families to investigate whether Jordan’s statements indicate that Kansas is violating federal law or regulations, though he warned that this same federal agency has ignored Kansas’ evasion of federal regulations concerning reporting the number of children taken from their parents."

notanota: You have no clue how dark and dank it is in the belly of beast and you demonstrate your selfishness and typical Lawrencian arrogance with your concern ONLY for the Lawrence SRS office to remain open. Where are you when the lives of little kids and their families are being wrecked by this operation and will even be more dumped upon by all this faith based bullbutter which is just code speak for "pass the peas" to Right Wing zealots like Brownback and this clown from Florida?? Will you be on the ramparts then....or will you be experiencing your own brand of American Splendor?

Alceste 4 years ago

Idiots abound. The larger question is "DO YOU KNOW HOW"?

The way Kansas does it is BASSACKWARDS; circuments federal code and regulations AND prevents reimbursement for the services from Uncle Sam. That costs the state of Kansas General Fund money.

You don't know what you're talking about have no background in Title IVE or even with PL 96-272 (Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980) vs. the current PL 105-89 (Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997).

Get out of the're part of the problem....

Alceste 4 years ago

You're a reactionary and have no knowledge of public welfare matters. You're emotive and not logical; you prefer form over function. Wait! That defines Lawrence politics circa 2011. Were you ever on or even at the ramparts? hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

4accountability 4 years ago

Isense... plenty people have been awakened to the problems when personally exposed to the foster care system. I do not know Alceste's background but would suggest they could also be someone who worked in the system in the past and is simply better able to see and then tell the truth. I do not agree with every post but most of what I have read is on target. If not current it has occured in the recent past. I wonder why you fight against this truth so hard...are you blinded by an income attached to the system staying broken or are you simply ignorant to what has really happened?

4accountability 4 years ago

No idea who either you or Alceste is but can tell you that what she said in the previous posts are true. If everyone would take time to read the statues and the investigative reports and legislative audits they would see it is true. It is mind boggling to think that very high state agency officials, legislators, the attorney general, court disiplinary administrators, etc. were shown the truth over and over and yet the children continued to be taken. Those who dared to question were silenced or put off in many ways. (Sometimes by the kind of attacks like you are posting on this subject) You can say what you will, attack as you may...but there may come a day when someone you know is the victim. Sad it will be.

Alceste 4 years ago


Mr. Davis had and has the option to elect to claim ONLY WHAT HE IS ACTUALLY PAID. Help me to understand why he opted for the larger amount....for the many, many days the legislature is not in session. shrug

Alceste 4 years ago

for that does Tom Sloan and all the other hacks from around these here parts who are in the "legislature". People like Ballard and Francisco are probably in the Regents' plan so aren't eligible for KPERS.

Orwell 4 years ago

As much as I recognize the need for services locally, I can't believe the County Commission would consider paying a ransom to get it back. If they do, you can be sure Governor Throwback will gleefully cut more and more state services funding in Douglas County.

tomatogrower 4 years ago

"1.Offer office space in either Bert Nash(they have no shortage of funds, buying the VFW), Independence INC and/or Cottonwood. Office space that would be available at no further cost to either the local taxpayers or the state taxpayers."

Independence Inc. offered them office space for $150/month. They said they wanted something free.

MarcoPogo 4 years ago

Yeah, Journal World! This story keeps developing over a period of time but it's boring! More stories about unicorns and construction on 6th Street!!!

Kontum1972 4 years ago

they rent the building? WTH..! is the capital bldg rented too?

hedshrinker 4 years ago

Re the statement that Lawrencians are the only people disturbed about the Gov and SRS chief's edicts about slashing social svcs: follow the link posted on the Save Our SRS site to the editorial in the Hutchison paper (not known to be a bastion of liberalism) ripping the closures across the state and mass reductions in appropriations for human svcs .

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

BIGOT: A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices, especially one exhibiting intolerance, and animosity toward those of differing beliefs.

Brownback and this Republican dominated legislature has done a very lousy job of explaining their budget decisions because they are not interested in making fair and balanced decisions.

This is starting to look more and more like a right wing Blitzkrieg on the American people that is directed not from Topeka but part of a national agenda.

I think every American has to wake up and make a decision about whether the character of our political leaders reflects our own values. How can we trust our freedoms and our futures to intolerant bigots?

As the truth emerges regarding the SRS disaster, it becomes increasingly clear that the Lawrence office was targeted for destruction as payback for being in a town that elects too many Democrats.

nytemayr 4 years ago

Folk lets get our heads on straight. Republicans have a super majority in Kansas. Brownback doesn't need Paul Davis or even to listen to Paul Davis.

Paul Davis needs Republican backing in Douglas County to get any where on this.

Ask Kevin Yoder for a letter to Brownback. Solicit Tom Sloan, Willian Prescott and Antony Brown to lead the talk to Brownback and get Davis to take his lead from them (just support the effort)

It's stupid to let Paul Davis lead on this unless your want the issue to be DOA!!!. .

notanota 4 years ago

You do have a good point, but save your breath on Brown. There's no saving that one with reason or the wishes of his constituents. Talk to Eudora about electing someone who isn't an insane extremist next time around.

wowiekt08 4 years ago

I saw a good YouTube video last week:

Welcome to Brownbackistan, where Kansas used to be!

nytemayr 4 years ago

Lsense: The people I mentioned aren't stepping up because

1) Paul Davis (Democrat) agreed to lead (poison pill for the issue)

2) The Republican City Commisioners didn't ask for their help!!!

It's stupid to be hostile to Republicans with a super majority in all branchs of state government. You need their help on this issue. Get over it and do it! As for their help! Let them lead the effort to get help and say thank you if they succeed!

Use your head! It is the first 6 month of Brownbacks term! He has a mandate! Do the smart thing!

nytemayr 4 years ago

Ok someone answer this question.

I'm assuming the SRS office makes rent payments on the current location of $400,000 per year?

The question is to whom?

nytemayr 4 years ago

Ok someone answer this question.

I'm assuming the SRS office makes rent payments on the current location of $400,000 per year?

The question is to whom?

gudpoynt 4 years ago

When it was noticed that much of the rent that the state would be "saving" actually came from federal funds, one SRS spokesperson said "It's all taxpayer money, so we're saving money."

But then multiple agencies, including many that operate on the Douglas County budget or that receive state funds, came out to testify how the closing of the SRS office will cost more to their agencies.

"It's all taxpayer money."


The modus operandi of the administration, and subsequently the legislature, has been to get the state's "fiscal house in order". But notice how so many of these measures are merely shifting money off of the state books and on to those of counties and municipalities.

Closing the SRS office is a prime example of an action that might look good on the state's books, but it doesn't really benefit the taxpayer at all, since costs are merely being shifted to other taxpayer funded agencies. And whatever savings there might be are only realized through reduction, or outright elimination, of valuable services.

gudpoynt 4 years ago

Dear Mr. Brownback and Mr. Siedlecki,

Since you seem pretty adamant in guaranteeing that all 87 employees of the Douglas Co SRS office in Lawrence shall be able to retain their position if so desired, can you inform us exactly where those 87 positions will redistributed?

How many of those 87 positions can feasibly be accommodated in neighboring offices? How many will need to be moved to offices over 50 miles away?... over 100 miles away?

Would making accommodations for these 87 position counteract the Governor's cost saving recommendation in the 2012 budget, to "[eliminate] 550 positions that have been vacant for some time"?

After assuring that there would be no layoffs, you said that if employees of the Douglas Co office chose to retire or resign, rather than commuting or moving to new locations, that the vacated positions would be reevaluated as to whether or not they should be filled.

First, do you acknowledge that some employees may be essentially forced to quit, and that requiring them to incur unacceptable commuting or moving costs in order to retain their position is effectively the same as laying them off?

Second, during the evaluation process, did you, or any of your advisers, make an estimation on how many employees out of the 87 would either resign or retire as a result of closing the Douglas Co office? If so, what were some of those estimations?

And finally, considering the impact that closing the SRS office in Lawrence would have, to what degree did you seek alternatives at keeping it open? For instance, did you consider cutting staff? Did you attempt to locate a cheaper office space alternative? Can you please provide a brief list of the alternatives discussed and why they were not favored over closing the office completely?

Concise, but definitive answers to these questions would much appreciated. Thank you.

Sincerely, ME

gudpoynt 4 years ago

And here's the response I got today:

Aug 2, 2011 Dear ME:

I appreciate your concern for the Lawrence community and those who receive SRS services. I assure you that it is our top priority that those in need continue to receive the services and supports they need. The decision to close the physical office was not an easy one to make. Unfortunately the budget reductions imposed upon the agency require us to find savings. It is our preference to reduce administrative costs, rather than cutting services to individuals and families. Many factors were considered to determine which offices would close, including:

  • Easy access to other nearby SRS offices: Topeka (29 miles, four lane highway ); Ottawa (26 miles); Kansas City (37 miles, four lane highway); Overland Park (36 miles, four lane highway); Leavenworth (39 miles).

  • There is significant capacity in neighboring offices, more than enough to accommodate the Lawrence staff. There are over 100 open spaces in both Topeka and Kansas City.

  • Topeka is a state owned building with over 100 spaces open. Lawrence is expensive (5th highest in the state) rental property.

  • Consolidating the Lawrence office achieves significant savings, $413,000 total.

  • Shawnee County and Wyandotte County have higher number of children living in poverty, Douglas County 19%, Shawnee County 27%, Wyandotte County 31%.

  • Douglas County is a relatively wealthy county with low case numbers per capita (per 10,000 Kansans) Lawrence 921, Ottawa 1,453, Kansas City 2,196, O.P. 595, Leavenworth 1,115

No Lawrence SRS staff affected by the closure will be terminated; they will be transferred to neighboring offices, all within less than 40 miles. These positions are filled positions and have no bearing on the directive to eliminate vacant positions. SRS is in the process of developing plans to provide transitional services in Lawrence. We have begun working with community partners to identify possible locations to house SRS staff who will assist individuals to access services. On a permanent basis, SRS plans to locate a small number of child protective services workers in Lawrence to respond to time sensitive and emergency situations. Reports and investigations of child abuse and neglect will continue to be managed in the same manner and held to the same expectations for timely and accurate assessments and investigations required to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families.

Additionally, SRS caseworkers will hold regularly scheduled office hours in the community to answer questions, meet with customers, and accept applications for services. Information about how and where to access services will be made available to the public as soon as it is available. For those who are able, individuals may also access services through neighboring SRS offices, online, or by calling toll free 888-3694777.

Sincerely, Robert Siedlecki Secretary

Jan Rolls 4 years ago

There was a story about a lady in a motorized wheel chair the other day. She goes to the srs office in lawrence about 3 times a month navagating the streets, etc. I can just see her tooling down I-70 in her wheel chair. Sam the sham should be ashamed.

4accountability 4 years ago

It all makes sense. Thanks for asking and posting the reply which included timely and reasonable answers. Good reporting "ME"!

k67 4 years ago

87 staff now commuting 40 miles each way x 5 days per week x 52 weeks is 904,800 miles per year. If they spend even .30 per mile (unlikely to be so low), that's an annual unplanned combined expense of $271,440, or $3,120 per staff, out of their own pockets.

Alceste 4 years ago

Well, the farm subsidy folks growing King Corn are certainly going to enjoy their purchase of gasohol, eh? It'll help stir the local economy some...and why....them's that are driving will have some special time to think their thoughts and will be becoming Junior Job Creators. It's a good thing. Look at the bright side.

StirrrThePot 4 years ago

Of course he declined the meeting. This is all political, all Brownback's Revenge. He's going to throw our city's most vulnerable citizens to the curb over politics and getting revenge on those who don't agree with him. Unless the City of Lawrence shows up to his front door with torches and some real attitude, it's going to keep coming!

nytemayr 4 years ago

Good Response Mr Siediecki

Who was the rent money paid to?

jayhawklawrence 4 years ago

"The new secretary of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services will be Robert Siedlecki Jr., who is chief of staff with the Florida Department of Health. He is former legal counsel to the Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the U.S. Department of Justice under President George W. Bush."

Looking at this guy's background, where is the training and apptitude to manage an organization such as SRS?

For that matter, where is Brownback's? Why would he hire this guy unless he is absolutely clueless himself?

This is why the country is so screwed up. Politicians cannot manage anything.

As is typical with these knuckleheads, you more you present them with facts, the more stubborn they will become.

Betty Adema 4 years ago

Ever hear of the "pot and the kettle"?

optimist 4 years ago

I'm dissapointed to lose any jobs in Kansas but do we really need an SRS office here? I only have my opinion. I suspect there are plenty of people in need in the rural parts of the state that live further away from an SRS office than those in Lawrence live from Topeka or Kansas City. If rural Kansans can get the services they need then why are we so sure those in Lawrence won't? I may be wrong but I'm betting there isn't an SRS office in every county in the state. Whether or not the state has a surplus or deficit is incidental to whether or not this office should remain open. We should continue to reduce the cost of government across the board. To simply keep this office open because some feel the state can “has the money” to is not a reason and in fact is the mentality that leads to government overspending and deficits in the first place. We should ridicule the government anytime it spends money without an explicit reason and demonstrable need to do so. If you want to criticize the Governor’s administration you should focus on the fact that there aren't enough cuts and that maybe there are some areas that aren't being cut that should be. Given he is the Governor he is at liberty to determine priorities but I am of the opinion that there is no area of government that is off limits. This is the time that Kansas can set itself apart and become a magnet for business. We need to move quickly toward that goal.

Jan Rolls 4 years ago

Why don't you check the caseloads and then maybe you will realize how stupid your comments are.

geekin_topekan 4 years ago

My cat and BB use the same maneuver.

They close their eyes and think that we can't see them.

Cait McKnelly 4 years ago

My cat and BB both use the same maneuver, too. They both cover and bury their s**t!

StirrrThePot 4 years ago

"I'm dissapointed to lose any jobs in Kansas but do we really need an SRS office here?"

It's not just the JOBS, it's the PEOPLE the SRS office serves. We're talking about people like the woman mentioned above who lives on $690 a month, does not have a car, has muscular dystrophy and a brain injury and only has a motorized wheelchair to take her from place to place....and she's not the only one.

Despicable, I hope someday soon the truth comes out about these "efforts" to "cut the budget". It's a sham, all of it.

Don Whiteley 4 years ago

The problem with Americans, including Kansans, is that we aren't yet ready to live within a balanced budget. We want all the services we've been getting and more, but nobody wants to pay a dollar more in taxes. I dislike that Brownback has made the cuts in social services, but if it had been a Democratic governor, I assure you that the cuts would have been made in areas equally distasteful to other Kansans. However, I appplaud Brownback on his efforts in bringing the Kansas budget under control, making the tough decisions, and taking the heat. This is exactly what California and other US states need to do.

No matter where cuts are made, there are going to be Americans who whine about it, and frankly; it's getting tiring. If Lawrence voters feel that strongly about a local SRS office, then let's "put up or shut up". If we are willing to fund a drive-up window at our Public Library, we should be able to fund services for our less fortunate citizens and tell the State to go on about its business.

pittstatebb 4 years ago

You need to go read Isense's post earlier. The perception is that this is not a cost saving measure, simply because the math does not work. The only was this could have been a cost saving measure was to fire the 87 employees.

However, this is looking to be a way to decrease cost by a similar amount that SRS adminstrative cost was increased. The problem is that Brownback has not been open or transparent about these moves. This may in fact cut the SRS expense or it may increase the expense of SRS.

pittstatebb 4 years ago

Using 2009 data, Douglas county has the second highest poverty rate in KS (after Riley County).

I fail to understand why some people think closing the Lawrence SRS should not be a big deal or create disbelief from the people of Douglas County.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

Good point. Good link. Thanks for sharing and calling them out on yet another LIE!

Kontum1972 4 years ago

Paul Davis..isnt this the clown who repairs your home when u have some sort of disaster?

Alceste 4 years ago

Paul Davis, Kansas Legislator, is an ambulance chaser....aka private practice and I think NOT the same Paul Davis as in the advertisements.

You've been watching too many videos, Kontum1972.....

Christine Anderson 4 years ago

Our state is under the "leadership" of a coward.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

"Let them eat cake" is the traditional translation of the French phrase "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche", supposedly spoken by "a great princess" upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was enriched, as opposed to normal bread, the quote supposedly would reflect the princess's obliviousness to the condition of the people.~ Actually, the original meaning of this quote is a very good example of what Princess Sammy is doing to the less fortunate in Kansas!

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

He's oblivious, clueless, and, I would add, extremely cold-hearted!

Alyosha 4 years ago

That's the Christian spirit!

On the last day, Jesus will say to those on His right hand, "Come, enter the Kingdom. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was sick and you visited me." Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, "Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me." These will ask Him, "When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?" And Jesus will answer them, "Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!"

Brownback is not a Christian. His policies are directly counter to Christ - he is anti-Christian.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

Amen!! Brownback's administration, and the agenda of the "Faith Based Initiatives", is far from the Christian values that I have been taught!!

chibicarol 4 years ago

"Siedlecki and Brownback have said Lawrence clients will be able to access services online or go to offices in other cities, such as Topeka and Kansas City." - Right, because children who are being beaten by their parents can just do that so easily. Republicans make a sport out of punishing the poor and defenseless.

LHS56 4 years ago

I know the person that SRS is leasing their facility from. The State agreed to lease the facilities in good faith and signed the lease agreement. No gun was held to their head. In my opinion they are paying at least twice the market value. But should the owner say...."wait a minute....I only want 1/2 of the amount." What would you do? I wish the State would have approached him and tried to renegoiate the lease. I think he would have been receptive. He is a person that is concerned about our community. He is also considered a good businessman. My dealings with him have always been fair.
The State simply doesn't want a SRS office in Lawrence. I believe 95% of the people believe it will be less expensive to keep the office in Lawrence. The sad part is Douglas County is paying the price for being a blue county.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

I would love to hear more from you about what the landlord says about the signed lease and what he is being offered in exchange for breaking it. Will he fight them wanting to break it? What is his take on and in this situation?

sciencegeek 4 years ago

"The governor’s office said they would reschedule the meeting when there were more concrete ideas about ways to keep the office in operation."

In other words, there's nothing anyone could say that will change the decision.

Thumbing their noses at the electorate is THE plan for this administration. Will anyone remember in 2014? Doubtful.

verity 4 years ago

Great analogy---wish I had thought of it. Not.

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

wilbur..This has nothing to do with private businesses..or just what it does to employees!! This is about the community's social network!

Alceste 4 years ago

I thought the "social network" was at The Reply Lounge or the Lied Center? Maybe Allen Field House even. Maybe even by that guy's web site, Facework I think it's called. Something like that? The SRS building? Nah....

Lana Christie-Hayes 4 years ago

the "social 'services' network".. which also effects everyone in all those other networks of which you spoke.

Alceste 4 years ago

Isense and Lsense.....where were you when this all began?

Nanny, nanny boo boo. Told you so! And that was back in January when in fact the real decision making was taking place in October, 2010!!

You people think the closure of the Lawrence SRS is a big deal? You got EIGHT more years of this bullbutter to deal with and THIS is JUST the beginning......

What did The Carpenters say? "We've Only Just Begun".....

bolshavik_vw 4 years ago

That is what a Coward does, Ducks responsibility. Yeah that's Brownback. What a disgrace for Kansas and an embarassment for the Country. Thank Gosh I voted for Holland, too bad he did not win. Bet you guys won't make the same mistake twice. We can only hope.

evilpenguin 3 years, 12 months ago

Kansas is starting to sound like a little bit of a Nazi dictatorship....

gudpoynt 3 years, 12 months ago

Dear Mr. Siedlecki,

Thank you for your response regarding questions about the closing of the SRS office in Lawrence. I realize I am probably only a drop in the flood of concerned emails coming into your office and I truly appreciate your taking the time to respond.

However, I continue to share concerns with many of my fellow Lawrence residents and I would appreciate additional explanations and clarifications to some points of your response.

1) You cite Topeka and Kansas City as each having "over 100 open spaces", and say that these are among the locations to which the current 87 employees of the Lawrence office will be transferred. However, you also say that "these positions are filled and have no bearing on the directive to eliminate vacant positions". I'm confused as to how an "open space" can at the same time be considered a "filled position" prior to any personnel from the Lawrence office having been transferred there. Can you please clarify this?

2) Of the 87 positions from the Lawrence office, to what degree can you guarantee that there exist 87 open spaces elsewhere having the same, or reasonably similar, job descriptions? Merging one office with another typically introduces redundancies in personnel, which often leads to the elimination of those redundant positions. Did your office take this into account? When your office pledges that none of the 87 positions will be eliminated, does this mean that those jobs will be open for the foreseeable future? Or will they be up for elimination due to redundancy after a year or so?

3) Using a per capita measurement of cases served obviously boosts the argument for closing the Lawrence office. But when considering total cases served, we see that the Lawrence office serves a signifantly larger number of individuals than two of the locations to which the Lawrence case load is expected to be transferred: 6,434 more cases than the Ottowa office, and 1,713 more cases than the Leavenworth office. How do you justify giving more weight to small differences in the per capita measurment over the much larger differences in teh number of individual Kansans served?

4) You cite the fact that Shawnee and Wyandotte counties have a higher percentage of children living in poverty. Combine that with the larger popluations of both counties, and it makes sense that they should recieve additional resources to allow SRS help reduce those numbers. However, to what degree is the lower percentage in Douglas Co an indication that the SRS office is effectively helping reduce child poverty rates? And how can you justify the use of higher child poverty rates in one area as a reason to divert resources from another area where the child poverty rate is still 19%. By using this particular statistic, it seems as though your office is implying that a child poverty rate of 19% is acceptably low enough to reduce services in Douglas Co.

gudpoynt 3 years, 12 months ago


5) Since the announcement of the closing of the Lawrence office, and it's effective savings of $412,000 annually, two things have been reported to somewhat take the air out of this claim. The first is that nearly half of the cost savings come from federal funds that will be lost if the Lawrence office is closed. So how does a lack of additional federal dollars translate to savings for Kansas?

The second is that two high level positions have been added to the SRS office, totalling nearly $200K. How does the additional cost of these two positions better serve individual Kansans who benefit from SRS services MORE than keeping the Lawrence office open?

And, given that the cost of the Lawrence office is significantly subsidized by federal dollars, what percentage of the ACTUAL savings to the state of Kansas are to be spent on these 2 new administrative positions?

And how does this action not fly in the face of your claim that "it is our preference to reduce administrative costs, rather than cutting services to individuals and families."

6) In your response, you mention that SRS is "in the process of developing plans to provide transitional services in Lawrence", and that "reports and investigations of child abuse and neglect will continue to be managed in the same manner and held to the same expectations for timely and accurate assessments and investigations required to ensure the safety and well-being of children and families". This requirement is obviously of key importance to the SRS mission, and failure to meet this requirment would mean a failure of any transitional plan. I applaud your dedication to the mission, however should not these plans have been more thorougly developed, demonstrating sufficient capability in meeting the requirements prior to making the decision to close the Lawrence office and others? It reminds me of a contractor who wins a bid without fully knowing whether they will be able to complete the work under budget and within the timeframe. Much of my concern comes from the seeming lack of plan prior to making this decision, and from talking with fellow residents, I have reason to feel like this concern is broadly shared.

7) In my previous letter, I noted that surely you do not expect all 87 employees of the Lawrence office to accept a tranfer to offices up to 40 miles away. Mr. Siedlecki noted this in a press conference, saying for those positions that go unfilled, they could come under consideration for elimination. Since Mr. Siedlecki acknowledged this possibility, and since it would be naive to expect all 87 employees to accept a transfer, I ask again, what conclusions did your office draw on how many positions would remain unfilled? Was a number ever tossed out there, and if so, what was it? If not, how long would any unfilled positions remain available to comply with your assurance that "no Lawrence SRS staff affected by the closure will be terminated"?

gudpoynt 3 years, 12 months ago

8) In my previous letter, I requested a brief list of alternative considerations to closing the Lawrence office, but your response did not include any. I respect the difficulty of making this decision, however such a list of alternative courses of action and why they were not taken would demonstrate sufficient consideration by your office, and help lay to rest suspicion of anything less.

Specifically, I'd like to see your analysis of the most obvious (to me) alternative of simply reducing staff across the board, as opposed to completely eliminating offices. As you know, many who receive SRS services struggle financially, and may have limited or no transportation capability. As such, proximity between service provider and service recipient is a key factor in allowing SRS to maintain the level of service it provides. While closing offices in Lawrence and other communities may look good from the perspective of a quantitative budget analysis, it fundamentally undermines the quality of service by imposing additional logistical barriers. No solution to provide transportation to neighboring facilities would every be nearly as adequate as maintaining a local office, since such a solution would require service recipients to adapt to a transportation schedule and give up a significantly longer portion of the workday. This is an unacceptable sacrifice being asked of those who can least afford to make it.

Thank you again for responding to my previous letter. As I await your response to this one, I request that you take the widespread opposition to the decision to close the Lawerence office as an opportunity to connect with the Kansans who will be most affected by it. Please consider the arguments being made in this growing public outcry as serious concerns among those you were elected to represent and/or appointed to serve.

Sincerely, ME

gudpoynt 3 years, 12 months ago

above is my 2nd letter to Siedlecki, see previous letter and SRS response above.

still awaiting response to this one

Commenting has been disabled for this item.