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Archive for Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Statehouse Live: Two more areas trying to raise funds to keep open SRS offices

August 23, 2011

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— At least two other cities are trying to do what Lawrence did to keep its state welfare office in operation -- paying off the state with local funds.

Fort Scott in eastern Kansas and Pratt in western Kansas are meeting with Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services officials to come up with agreements to take their offices off of SRS' closure list.

"We have been in constant contact with the SRS group trying to come up with some sort of resolution," Fort Scott City Manager Dave Martin said Tuesday.

But Martin added the idea of paying the state to keep the office open was difficult to swallow. "We have a hard time throwing tax dollars at a state program," he said.

His comments echoed those of many in Lawrence after SRS announced that it would close the Lawrence office and eight others.

SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. and Gov. Sam Brownback said the closures were necessary to save the state $1 million in administrative expenses. They said the thousands of people served by the Lawrence office could access assistance on the Internet or travel to SRS offices in other cities, such as Topeka.

Advocates for vulnerable Kansans said that wasn't realistic. After weeks of protest, the city of Lawrence and Douglas County agreed to pay $450,000 to help the state offset its costs to continue operating the SRS office for two years.

But some said the payment would set a precedent of shifting state costs to the local level.

Martin said he doesn't blame Lawrence and Douglas County officials for doing what they did.

"What I'm frustrated with is the whole situation. The whole thing was not handled or evaluated correctly," he said of SRS' closure announcement.

The Fort Scott office serves one of the poorest areas in the state. He said locals there will have to come up with $84,000 to keep the Fort Scott office open another two years.

David Howard, city manager of Pratt, said city and county officials there will decide next week whether to come up the $60,000 SRS says it would need to keep open the Pratt SRS office.

"Whether it's doable or not I don't know," Howard said. "Anytime you have to come up with additional funds, it causes problems."

Comments

sourpuss 2 years, 11 months ago

Sounds like if they want to save $1 million in SRS, they could start at the top instead of at the bottom. Thousands of Kansans are going to be hurt to secure a handful of choice jobs for some out-of-state cronies.

Will any remember come voting day? Nope. Red all the way (again)

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rrh 2 years, 11 months ago

"Saving the state one million dollars" is nothing but a catch phrase which has been used several times. It was used by KHPA to justify layoffs of key staff professionals, for instance. When asked for details on the one million dollars, KHPA officials did not have any details to share with employees

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pace 2 years, 11 months ago

Brownback is grinding the poor, the elderly, the lame, children under his heel, because he can. REcall.

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somebodynew 2 years, 11 months ago

Well, IF he were to not hire a bunch of high dollar Administrators they could save money and not take from the poor. That would actually be "smaller government", but since BB has been in the top levels of government have expanded and just the regular 'working people' have been cut. Probably saving nothing because the people he brought in (extra not just replacing people) are making big $$$.

You are correct in that the ballot box is the answer, but that is a long, long, long way off. And something tells me people will not remember by then :(

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

The "high dollar Administrators" you make mention of were already in place prior to Brownback taking office save for the "faith based" talking head. All Brownback has done is to replace one set of political cronies with another set. Bizness as usual. Where were you when these prior "high dollar Administrators" were running SRS into the ground?

Me? I think they're all a bunch of duffus clod hoppers and there are people that can and will do these "high dollar Administrator" type jobs for 1/2 to 2/3 what the political hacks are given and take.

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cummingshawk 2 years, 11 months ago

I thought the actual savings was only $250,000 for closing the Lawrence SRS office due to the loss of $200,000 in federal funding from closing the local office. So now the city and county are going to pony up the $450,000 thus allowing the state to have that $200,000 as a bonus to spend as they desire. Better attention to details would have saved the local taxpayers this amount.

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pittstatebb 2 years, 11 months ago

$450,000 is for two years. So using division, $225,000 a year.

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 11 months ago

The city did that to us when they shifted the $4 Million/year funding of the empT to a sales tax, then forgot to give the taxpayer property tax relief.

There is plenty of this bait and shift going on.

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oldbaldguy 2 years, 11 months ago

Absolute crap. State government is either responsible or not for social services. Lawrence and Douglas County made a bad decision when it decided to pay for state services. I normally vote republican but these guys are shake down artists. Where is the democratic party screaming about this?

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Them guys are pretty good at the shake down, too, oldbaldguy. Take a look at how they reward themselves into the future with the sweetheart KPERS plan they figured for themselves (no Democrats complaining, either, mind you):

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 "...so 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

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sciencegeek 2 years, 11 months ago

"Where is the democratic party screaming about this?"

Give them a break--outside of a few elected officials, there's only about 20 of 'em in Kansas anyway. If anyone should be screaming it's the moderate Republicans--and every other intelligent adult in the state.

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handley 2 years, 11 months ago

Brownback should be held in contempt of court for the planed parenthood directive to keep them from getting federal funds. And why should we not get 31.5 million for health care. the SRS was to come from top administration and not from the people that they are helping. Jesus thru the money changers out of the temple. That is what we should do.

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Grump 2 years, 11 months ago

It's not really about Jesus; when faced with a dilemma, Brownback asks himself, "What would Phill Kline do?" and then he does it.

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olddognewtrix 2 years, 11 months ago

Brownback EXTORTION-plain and simple

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chootspa 2 years, 11 months ago

Do I sense some bipartisan disappointment in Brownie's administrative skills? I certainly hope so. I hope he's lost control of the state reps with this one.

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jhawkinsf 2 years, 11 months ago

Fort Scott and Pratt must be Democratic strongholds, just like Lawrence.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 months ago

Dunno about Fort Scott but Pratt? Um, no. Pratt County (and it's surrounding counties) is just as big of a Republican stronghold, run by millionaire ranchers, as the rest of the state. In fact, their demographic is even more sharply divided between the "haves" and "have nots", like any other rural western Kansas county, then what we would ever dream of here. There's just about no "middle class" there. As a consequence, I think they will have a lot harder time coming up with the money to keep their office open than what Lawrence faced.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 11 months ago

What has happened to the federal funds that were paying 50% of the rent at these facilities?

Not only are local taxpayers being forced into picking up the state's costs, they are also picking up the fed tab too. Since Kansas is a net importer of federal money, that means taxpayers in these three communities are spending dollars that previously came from taxpayers in other states.

That can't be good for the economy.

That's patently ridiculous, so why hasn't an intrepid reporter dug into the situation?

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 11 months ago

It is to bad that those who demand the most from the system put the least amount into it.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

You mean like the oil company types and the Wall Street types?

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pace 2 years, 11 months ago

Well the Koch brothers probably pay more than is visible, a lot of their contributions are under the table. Also all those ads where they are pretending to be concerned grass roots activist or moms are expensive. I do agree that the billionaires should be paying more in taxes and receive less "incentives"

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Centerville 2 years, 11 months ago

They have to save $40 million at SRS. And $460 million from the rest of the state budget. The idea of funding by community business is a solution just now being offered by the US Post Office to communities that will otherwise lose their post offices.

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notanota 2 years, 11 months ago

It's not actually "saving" if you're simply transferring the cost to the local community. It's especially not saving if you cut an office but add high-level administrative positions.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Brownback did NOT "add" a ton of "high-level administrative positions"! Perhaps three from what I can tell: The fraud fellow; the "faith based" woman; and the 2nd mouthpiece. All them other slots already had high paid, mediocre minded boobs in them who had run SRS into the ground....quite nicely I might add, at that. All Brownback has done is replace 'em with different mediocre minded boobs.

Heck, he even got old Phyllis Gilmore to come out of retirement, double dip, replace a DCCCA clown, and further the process of "leading" KC Metro SRS.....leading where is not known. Remember, There Is No Plan. Amen.

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chootspa 2 years, 11 months ago

Brownback did indeed add high level administrative positions to the tune of at least $200,000 of extra expenses. You're the one who wrote "a ton" in on your own. He claimed he'd save $400,000 by closing the Lawrence office, only it turned out we got $200,000 in matching grants, and then he added administrative positions totaling right around the $200,000, so the move was never ever a matter of saving anything. Add in that he couldn't have gotten us out of the lease anyway, and it was a money losing proposition. Yet he somehow managed to climb that financially irresponsible dung heap and pluck himself a rose.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

chootspa: You're just flat out wrong. State/list the "new" positions, please. I've listed the THREE that I recall, but the rest of the slots were already filled prior to Brownback entering the picture. And, they were filled with glorified "YES" people, heads a-bobbing up and down, whenever some "new trend" came about. They collectively ran SRS into the ground due to their ineptness and refusal lto accept new ideas.

Now, none of this is to say that Brownback's headbobbers are any different because they shall demonstrate their own ineptnesses soon enough. However, it's just flat out wrong to state Brownback fluffed the jive up when it had already been primed and fluffy full of dimbulbs before he even ran for office.

Your $200,000.00 figure may be correct with respect to the extra money he is paying for the EXISTING positions he "turned-over", but I think a large % of that money was "corrected" because some of his new appointees are being given less than the hacks they replaced. It is what it is. SRS is not about helping people. It's about getting paid by your connected buddy.

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chootspa 2 years, 11 months ago

You've listed three new positions. That's your $200k right there. Do you not read your own posts for comprehension?

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Perhaps. Irrespective, Brownback hasn't "bloated" SRS anymore than it already was unless you call putting three people on the dole "bloating".

Methinks you don't have a clue how federal matching works in the final analaysis. Those "in the know" knew from the get that money savings being claimed included the federal match. Brownback don't want to "play Sun City"...meaning he wants to restrict as much Fed. Gvt. monies coming into the state as possible. It's a "principle" thing for him; was well known it would begin happening if he got elected; and he's only just begun. If you did know how federal matching works, you'd be rapid at the way the foster care payment structure in this state uses General Fund money to make board payments in many instances because Kansas is not eligible to draw down federal monies because of the funny business SRS "practices"; has "practiced"; and continues to "practice"; and did so well before Brownback even thought about being made hizzoner. The kicker, too, is that Region VII of ACF of HHS based out of Kansas City is bellying up the bar with Brownback. Interesting, eh? The fact K. Sebelius can run HHS and yet her own people in Kansas City are playing footsie with Brownback? See can you find out just who and what Mr. Gary Allen is all about out of that Region VII office. Mr. Allen was a proud attendee/speaker at the Strengthening Families PRIVATE INVITE conference earlier this summer. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/region7/ and http://thefamilystrengtheningcoalition.com/2011/05/strengthening-families-summit-june-8-9/ .

It's just one of the shell games Brownback has in store for Kansas and Kansans. Heed the symptom!!

The Lawrence SRS office WILL be closed if Brownback is allowed to remain in office. Contracts are meaningless in Kansas, let alone amongst a gang of thieves. "They" do want they want.

Why not direct your hubristic angst at now changing the way SRS does business instead of all the hand wringing and teary eyed "It's for the Children (aged and disabled)" and whambulance bullroar about contracts, "us"...whoever that is....and all the other silliness you write about? There are far bigger fish to fry and problems to correct. The failure of Lawrence, Kansas to support the other communities who have had their SRS offices shut down over the past 10 years, all under other administrations is just plain unctuous.

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chootspa 2 years, 11 months ago

I'll take that as your admission that I am not, "flat out wrong" on the issue. Thank you for admitting your mistake. I have no desire to muddle through the rest of your ranting. TL;DR. Please get therapy.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

No error admission on Alceste's part. In the scheme of things, $200k is chump change.

Your own admission of a refusal to become conversant with the facts about public welfare and where we are headed speaks for itself.

Emotive responses belie an ignorance as to what's what. shrug

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chootspa 2 years, 11 months ago

Referring to yourself in third person is a further sign that you do need that therapy. I'm not joking or using it as a rhetorical device to suggest it. You're irrational and obsessed, and it's just not healthy.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Alceste is shaking his head and noting "If only the knave actually had chutzpah, the knave would have a better vision of what's what."

All these "you" statements. Tsk, tsk.

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pavlovs_dog 2 years, 11 months ago

SRS wants $60,000 per year from Pratt to keep that office open.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

Pratt has a "world class medical center" and can afford to pay tribute to one of their favorite sons. They're lucky he isn't asking for more.....which he SHALL be doing now that Lawrence done went Jim Jones and drank the Kool-Aid. Follow the leader.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 months ago

"Pratt has a "world class medical center"..." So "world class" they had to send one family member of mine to Wichita for a colposcopy and another one for cardioversion . If their hospital is "world class" so is LMH. Yeah, it's "world class". A "world class" band-aid station.

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Alceste 2 years, 11 months ago

My point exactly. Try telling the Job Creators (rich) in Pratt that; not to mention Lawrence In Memorium's "world class" cardio vascular department; along with their purchase of The Interntal Medicine Group. It's all about the money for the monied. Sometimes it justs gots to bees dat way......

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 11 months ago

Looks like Pratt's not any happier about it than we are, though. http://www.pratttribune.com/topstories/x911398661/Commission-debates-response-to-SRS-closing Brownback is bleeding his base.

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