Advertisement

Archive for Friday, July 1, 2011

Lawrence community devastated, shocked by closing of its SRS office

District attorney: This isn’t a reduction, but a ‘flat-out amputation’

July 1, 2011, 11:52 a.m. Updated July 1, 2011, 5:35 p.m.

Advertisement

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services announced Friday that it will be closing the Lawrence SRS service center, 1901 Del.

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services announced Friday that it will be closing the Lawrence SRS service center, 1901 Del.

Heart-breaking. Devastating. A nightmare.

Those were just a few words that were used to describe Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services’ decision to close the Lawrence office at 19th and Delaware streets, which has 87 employees.

The workers were notified Friday morning during a conference call that they will be reassigned to neighboring offices based upon service needs.

More on the offices that are closing

Here are more details about the communities where Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services is closing offices. Lawrence — with 87 employees — is the largest office to close. The population numbers are U.S. Census Bureau 2009 estimates.

• Lawrence: 87 employees. City population: 92,048.

• Fort Scott: 30 employees. City population: 7,938.

• Wellington: 18 employees. City population: 7,677.

• McPherson: 17 employees. City population: 13,323.

• Coffeyville: 16 employees. City population: 10,244.

• Pratt: 13 employees. City population: 6,315.

• Marysville: 12 employees. City population: 3,105.

• Lyndon: 10 employees. City population: 998.

• Garnett: 5 employees. City population: 3,163.

The closure is expected to occur within three months, said Rachel Whitten, SRS public information officer.

SRS provides a variety of services for low-income children and families, as well as for people with disabilities. For example, it administers the food stamp program and provides child protection services.

These clients value the office because they can drop off paperwork in a timely manner and get face-to-face time with SRS employees.

Once the office closes, they are expected to use online and phone services or drive to another center. The closest are in Overland Park, Topeka and Ottawa.

District Attorney Charles Branson said his office and law enforcement in Douglas County work closely with SRS on a variety of cases, especially child-in-need-of-care, juvenile offender, sexual abuse and child abuse cases.

He said law enforcement investigations rely on SRS a great deal to be able to identify children and vulnerable adults in need who have been victimized and bring their abusers to court.

“Without a local presence of SRS in the fifth-largest jurisdiction in the state, I think the health, safety and welfare of people in Douglas County are going to be greatly affected by this. Instead of a reduction in force, this is a flat-out amputation, and I have to question why it happened to Lawrence and Douglas County,” Branson said.

SRS did not respond Friday to a request for the number of SRS caseloads at the Lawrence office as well as the other offices being closed, or how Douglas County’s caseload compared with other offices across the state.

Statewide closures, restructuring

SRS is restructuring its offices statewide, a process that will include merging six regions into four, and a closure of nine service centers, according to a press release sent Friday upon request of the Journal-World.

Others offices being closed are in Coffeyville, Fort Scott, Garnett, Lyndon, Marysville, McPherson, Pratt and Wellington.

Among the considerations for selecting offices for closure, the release said, were caseload size and proximity to other SRS offices.

When asked why Lawrence, which has such a large population, Whitten emphasized the proximity to other SRS offices and added, “It was a very detailed process that was thought out and researched and examined, and we have definitely ensured that the people in Lawrence who are served by that service center will not have an interruption in services and their cases will be handled efficiently and professionally.”

Budget cuts

The 2011 Legislature directed SRS to cut $42 million from its all-funds budget, including $1 million in administration costs for fiscal year 2012. To meet that reduction in administration, the agency is also reducing cell phone use and other expenses, and looking for ways to find additional efficiencies.

“The Legislature told us to find savings, and we have identified a way to achieve those savings while still providing exemplary services to our beneficiaries,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.

When House Democratic leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, heard the news Friday, he was floored.

Just four weeks ago, Davis said, Siedlecki invited him and a few other local representatives to tour the Lawrence office. Siedlecki praised the office for its work and never uttered a word about the possibility it would be closed.

Davis said he can’t believe that Douglas County has been affected by the cutbacks when there are offices serving communities with fewer than 5,000 people being left open.

“I am becoming increasingly convinced that the vulnerable Kansans who rely upon some assistance from the state during tough economic times are not a top priority for the Brownback administration,” he said.

Davis also criticized the timing of the announcement.

“Announcing the closure of these offices on the Friday before a holiday weekend is yet another cowardly move by this administration.”

Ripple effect in community

Loring Henderson, director of the Lawrence Community Shelter, called it a “terrible blow.” The shelter has about 150 active clients, and, of those, about 80 percent use SRS services for items like food stamps and vocational rehabilitation.

He said these people can’t afford shelter let alone gasoline money to get food stamp applications in area cities. He also doesn’t expect that they will be able to navigate a complex SRS system through the Internet.

So, how will they access services?

“They will be coming to us and asking for help. We and other agencies and case managers will end up having to help them get transportation to these places and then we will have to be coming to the community at large and asking for more donations to underwrite our transportation programs. So, it’s a vicious circle.”

Other agencies like Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and Independence Inc. are concerned about the impact on their clients.

Stacey Hunter Schwartz, executive director of Independence Inc., said often their clients need paperwork filed right away and they are able to send them around the corner to SRS.

“A lot of people are in such a state of crisis that when they need it, it isn’t like they can wait a few days and hear by mail. That’s a common scenario,” she said.

A Lawrence resident who has loved ones who depend on SRS services for everyday life was upset on Friday.

“It just sounds like a nightmare. I was just shocked when I learned it was closing,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified. “There’s going to be higher frustration, lack of services, lack of coordination of services.”

She has an elderly mother and son with neurological developmental issues who access SRS services. She is the person who handles all of their paperwork and often goes to the Lawrence office for help or to drop off needed paperwork.

“How am I going to be able to resolve situations through a computer system, where I will not have documentation that the items have been received and are accessible, and known to the people who are processing them?” she asked.

She also doesn’t have the time or money to drive to area offices. Taking care of her son is more than a full-time job.

“There will be a tremendous stress on whatever transportation issue there is,” she said.

Future SRS services

In the release, SRS said beneficiaries served by the affected offices will see no disruption in services. As staff and casework is reassigned, customers will be notified of how and where to contact their assigned caseworkers.

Beneficiaries may contact any SRS office to inquire about services, can apply for services online at www.srs.ks.gov, and, in many cases, can contact their caseworker or manage services over the phone or online, the SRS release said.

The release further noted: All communities in which offices will be closed have public libraries that provide Internet access to the public. SRS also maintains Access Points, where people can receive informational materials and traditional hard copy applications for assistance. In Lawrence, the Access Points are:

• Community Health Facility, 200 Maine.

• Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vt.

• Lawrence Workforce Center, 2540 S. Iowa, Suite R.

• Health Care Access, 330 Maine.

• United Way Center for Human Services, 2518 Ridge Court, Suite 200.

Comments

Meatwad 2 years, 9 months ago

Brownback will stick it to Lawrence every chance he gets. So will the rest of the right wing state. Figures. Crime rates will probably go up as a result of this. But maybe we'll have less homeless people moving here from around KS since they won't be able to get all their services here. So maybe this will backfire on the politicians from Topeka and other cities who did this to us.

0

meggers 2 years, 9 months ago

citizen1,

This was an administrative decision, not a legislative one. I suspect the legislators you speak of are just as shocked as we are.

As for your comments about balancing the budget, Brownie and his team from Florida (a state that has one of the worst human services records on the nation, BTW) are merely shifting the costs to communities. The need is still there.

Those of you who applaud this action appear to be clueless as to how this will impact your lives on a local level. You're in for an awakening.

0

western_kansas_girl 2 years, 9 months ago

Sunny: get a clue...Brownback's Taliban doesn't want to give money to Planned Parenthood for family planning services either. So, poor people just be celibate, I guess, according to your line of thinking.

0

mutualrespect37 2 years, 9 months ago

Here is Paul Davis's (Lawrence, KS State Representative and House Minority Leader)contact information:

Phone: 785-296-7630 Email:paul.davis@house.ks.gov

Let's contact him and see what can be done.

Possibly we should start a petition or something too.

0

HootyWho 2 years, 9 months ago

Voters in Kansas,,,,have you been following HOW the city commissioners have been voting? or should i say how they have always voted? and yes i do vote, even in the primaries

0

sunny 2 years, 9 months ago

Maybe this will cut back on people having kids they can't feed!

0

citizen1 2 years, 9 months ago

Some of our State Congress persons have blamed Gov. Brownback for loosing our SRS office. Now the DA is in a "toot". We should be asking our State Senators & Representatives where they were when these closings were being planned? If this is so important then why were they not standing tall and effectively representing our interests? Possibly our Representatives & Senators are ineffective in representing our real needs. Elections count...when we elect weak political partisans we get ineffective representation. Governor Brownback & the legislature did their job, they got the budget under control. Hard decisions had to be made. Our elected officials do what they always do, whine and blame someone else.

0

rbwaa 2 years, 9 months ago

This decision is so naive, short-sighted, and callous. The ones making these decisions should be forced to attempt to navigate the system through phone calls and internet service. Trying to figure out the computerized phone voice prompts and actually speaking to a real person is a nightmare - I have tried and it sucks.

Face to face contact is virtually impossible with the cost of travel even if individuals have their own transportation. If they could afford to travel 60 to 100 miles round trip they would not need financial assistance. At a reasonable cost of approximately 25 cents a mile a round trip could cost a minimum of $15.00.

Perhaps one of the goals of this decision is to eliminate the personal touch and respect for human dignity that we are all entitled to regardless of our situation.

One more thing that makes me embarrassed to be a Kansan.

0

Gandalf 2 years, 9 months ago

merrill (anonymous) says… Brownback is NOT a republican but a Neoconservative Christian Fundamentalist.

You're wrong merrill that IS the current definition of republican.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Brownback is NOT a republican but a Neoconservative Christian Fundamentalist.

A fiscally responsible republican would not make this SRS cut. Because it makes no fiscal sense.

Another point to understand is that the only thing being cut are employees and services NOT necessarily the budget aka spending. This is known as neocon deception which has been practiced for about 31 years.

What is the Brownback admin doing with OUR money?

Notice he gave Mars Corporation some "free land" plus $9 million tax dollars. Mars is a quite a wealthy corporation yet is on the Brownback corporate welfare list = addiction to D.C. habits. "Free Land " must some somehow belong to taxpayers. If not how was this "Free Land" acquired?

"Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (And Stick You with the Bill)" is all about development corruption.

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/1/18/free_lunch_how_the_wealthiest_americans

http://www.uua.org/events/generalassembly/2008/commonthreads/115777.shtml

0

bolshavik_vw 2 years, 9 months ago

This is so sad. There are a lot of poor people and Homeless People who rely on this for their assistance, I do not nor have I ever used assistance, although I have known a lot of people in Lawrence who have or do. I hope they can find some way soon to get these people their needed benefits without having to go elsewhere.

0

Caller Hunsaker 2 years, 9 months ago

This is the way the State thinks. After all it just laid off 80 people who worked for the Department of Labor. So let’s look at that logically. If your business employs 200 people and you regularly serve 40,000 customers per month and now your business grows to serve 60,000 or 80,000 people per month what do you do to insure good quality customer service? Hire more employees or cut your employee staff to save more money? Unfortunately the customers of the Department of Labor have no choice of where to go for help when they lose their jobs so the State elected to cut more employees from the DOL and send them into line on the phone with the rest of the unemployed. They are simply making bad choices when it comes to cutting our state budget.

0

Gandalf 2 years, 9 months ago

Heck ya'll, quit yure squakin! If'n ya think this is bad wait until December 23rd.

0

ResQd 2 years, 9 months ago

I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to do the job of a social worker. Not only do they appear to be overworked, but can you imagine the mental stress they must take on? KUDOS to all the social workers out there and I wish you all well.

0

trinity 2 years, 9 months ago

granted, it has been some time since i've been a child protective services social worker; i am just astounded by your post, alceste. while i read it, i was brought back in my mind to a period of time wherein i did 9 sexual abuse interviews in 5 days; each of them was a "hot" case that was substantiated, all seperate families/homes/incidences/children. then the mountains of work involved with the placements, family work, etc afterward. then making my "rounds" to tend to kids already in custody all over the place, plus kids locked up in detention centers. yeah, i spent tons of time doing nothing and "playing". i worked my ever-lovin' butt off at that job and dealt with being called every vile and filthy and mean name in the book, getting irate phone calls and death threats over the phone and in person, having to get next to evil the likes of which i wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. yeah, i sure enjoyed that play time at sub-standard pay. yeah. you tell us, alceste.

0

woodscolt 2 years, 9 months ago

Fred brownback Phelps continues his scorched earth assault on the poor. But his koch heads are very pleased with their yes man.

0

camper 2 years, 9 months ago

This is going to put pressure on law enforcement, which just might increase the need to fund additional law enforcement (police, court costs, etc.). If it is harder for people to get food stamps, you will surely see an uptick in petty crime.

Things are really starting to unravel here in the US. Not just Kansas. Yep, I still think we need to extend the Bush tax cuts.......Not.

0

Cant_have_it_both_ways 2 years, 9 months ago

Why don't you blame Marci Francisco? We have not heard a word from her.

0

LadyJ 2 years, 9 months ago

Can a Federal Judge block the order till it is reviewed and studied?

0

Jimo 2 years, 9 months ago

Sec. 2, Art. 4 of the constitution requires signatures from 355,516 voters to have a recall election. That's not all that much more than Tom Holland received, or about 2/3rds of Obama's vote.

Unfortunately, recall only gets you a replacement from the same Party not a new election.

0

ksb 2 years, 9 months ago

It does seem highly unusual that Ottawa gets to keep their SRS office but a large community like Lawrence has to do without. This is very tragic indeed for those children, families, and individuals with disabilities who need access to these services in our community.

0

Jimo 2 years, 9 months ago

173 days in office and still no new jobs or even plans for new jobs.

0

Jan Rolls 2 years, 9 months ago

Some should print all of these out and send them to that jerk as well as everytime he does something stupid.

0

Pablita 2 years, 9 months ago

I no longer live in Kansas. Sadly, I live in an even more red state. I was once proud to tell people I was from Kansas. Now I keep it to myself. What with the present administration, the Rev. Phelps and the Kochs and more I am so very sad for Kansas. What was once a great place has been driven into mediocrity! To remove SRS from Lawrence is an act of thoughtlessness.

To assume that people who live on the margins have the resources to access services miles away is ludicrous. In addition the assumption that people will be able to navigate SRS online at the public library is equally ridiculous. With budget cuts, libraries are frequently short staffed and are already called upon to provide an increasingly complex array of services. Are librarians now to serve as proxies for trained SRS staff as they attempt to help people with little exposure to the Internet navigate faceless, anonymous websites?

Poor, poor Kansas!

0

mutualrespect37 2 years, 9 months ago

Someone who has the status and authority to do so should bring a lawsuit to keep open the local SRS office, similar to what is happening with the abortion licensing issue. Prayer is no substitute for practical safety nets, and many SRS services require face-to-face interviews. Long-distance travel is not an option for many.Such a irresponsible and hostile governor!

0

wastewatcher 2 years, 9 months ago

I do not know if it was political or not, but if it was Democrat Leader Paul Davis should pay attention. All he does is whine and complain and never offers anything constructive. Look at the last election and the Democrat's LIBERAL IDEAS AND VALUES were soundly rejected. It is time for Mr. Davis to do something positive and contribute to Lawrence and the state.

0

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

"Great comments Liberty. I love how it is SRS who is breaking up the families... No personal responsibility there."

Old neighbors. Father, 40ish. Son 17. The son was a typical teenager that was bigger than his father. If the son fought with his siblings and the father did anything more than stand in the middle and take the punches (as in subduing and holding down the son until he calmed down), the son would have been taken by SRS because of the "abuse" from the father.

You are right. The father can not take personal responsibility for raising his son and other children because if he punishes his children to within 10% of the punishment I received as a 16 year old boy the kid (and maybe all the kids) will find himself/themselves rotting in foster hell.

0

Larry McGlinn 2 years, 9 months ago

Douglas County & Lawrence=a BLUE island in a sea of RED. You have lost your hot line to the Governor's office!

0

justajoke 2 years, 9 months ago

Great comments Liberty. I love how it is SRS who is breaking up the families... No personal responsibility there.. And by the way , I didn't voted for Brownie and his followers. I am not as concerned about myself having to relocate as I am about the population that we serve and how this will effect them. There are many disabled people in this community that need help and they will be the ones to suffer. Also the abused children and adults.. I just can't wait to read the headlines of Child injured or Adult abused and how it will then become the workers fault for that too...

0

Kat Christian 2 years, 9 months ago

I choked when I read "will still offer efficient and/or exemplary service." Oh please this is so blatantly evident SRS services will fall apart. I feel bad for the case workers, I know most of them do an excellent job in assisting everyone. So people its time to start writing those letters to Brownback's office. Enclose examples, proof and pictures of your hardship along with the letters. Perhaps if enough are sent they may change their minds. We are a democracy and deserve to have our voices heard. So speak up - don't just sit there on your cans and take it or just gripe about it to your friends and neighbors. Write those letters - be a voice heard.

0

overthemoon 2 years, 9 months ago

I sincerely hope that the Mayor, City Council and County Commissioners will protest this ridiculous action with a very direct letter requesting full disclosure of the decision making process. They also need to suggest that the Governor work WITH city and county governments and include them in the needed budget reduction analysis.

0

smitty 2 years, 9 months ago

This will put considerable pressure on the non-profits such as Ind Inc to actually do case management in lieu of the poverty pimping methods now in place....II's social worker/case manager simply wrote the state a bill for services without providing more than a tokenism of representation to justify the charges submitted.

How in the world will a disabled individual and their care takers with less that $700 income manage the extra expense and time. The state paid expenses in services and transportation reimbursement to meet the new closure will likely exceed the savings.

Brownback's at work with his obstructionist party members to punish the poorest of the poor.

0

ksriver2010 2 years, 9 months ago

There won't be any reassignment "based upon service needs". That is the whole point. They will be without a job. The Republican state leadership not done anything for jobs in this state. One whole legislative session, and a year (since they don't meet again until next year), wasted on abortion, marriage, going after the arts and the biotech commission. How do we impeach this governor?

0

Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 9 months ago

This is a TRAVESTY of BROWNBACK's attack on the most vulnerable of our society!! SICKENING!!!

0

Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

It's going to make it a lot harder to break up homes in Lawrence if we don't have our own dedicated crew.

Mr SRS worker, how's that hopey changey stuff you voted for working out? Maybe you can find a union and go on strike or something.

In the end... good riddance.

0

justajoke 2 years, 9 months ago

I am one of the workers that will be effected by this closure.. It is just typical of this administration to pull this crap. Just a month ago Ole Rob and his group of Faithbased followers marched into this office to fill us with 15 minutes of how perfect they were and he infact said "This Region Would Not Be touched With Any Closures". These people don't care about anyone but themselves. They give the workers no indication that this is coming and then call a Conference Call ( they can't even do this in person) to tell us the building is closing, no layoffs and we don't have a timeframe.. Then the Regional Director says she will be here in the afternoon to answer any questions.. Really are you people serious?? Did you have to field phone calls from frantic customers all afternoon? Did you have to sit at your desk and try to work and just think about your future.. Nope you didn't. Brownie and his group of Faithbased followers don't care about the peoples lives they screw up. They don't have to worry about their jobs or how to find transportation to get services that he continues to cut.. This is a joke and I hope the people in Lawrence will stand up and fight for this.

0

whatupdown 2 years, 9 months ago

I thought the SRS just created a dozen new high paying positions?

0

ResQd 2 years, 9 months ago

Be very afraid of this governor. I'm sure there's more to come.

0

average 2 years, 9 months ago

Cynical suggestion... they really aren't going to leave Lawrence with no staff. The number of miles on state vehicles and hours spent driving (we'd be talking at least 10 roundtrips a day from Ottawa/Topeka/KC) for child protective, foster home, and other site visits make it ridiculous.

What will happen is they'll 'hear the people'. Leaving Lawrence with an SRS office with 15-20 absurdly overworked staff. Which was the initial goal all along, but we'll be happier with the 'compromise'.

0

ranger7272 2 years, 9 months ago

I do not recieve SRS services but I work with SRS and have for several years. They are such a horrible pain to work with. They don't answer their phones or return messages. They are usually rude and short with you and make you feel terrible after you speak with them. I am not only referring to the lawrence office as I work with offices all over Kansas and I am generalizing all of SRS. I can tell you that there are a rare few people at SRS that are helpful and nice to speak to but 98% of the time they are not. They complain about how busy they are and how much work they have on their desk like that is some how my problem. People who truely need SRS services and the people who have to work with SRS will truely suffer MORE then they already do trying to continue to work with SRS.

0

LH3867 2 years, 9 months ago

Watch for the layoffs. They will be coming. Lying politicians is all they are. SRS employees claim that Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) now stands for Siedlecki Really Sux (SRS) since he no longer believes the agency's function is social services OR rehabilitation. There are rumors he is going to be in a parade at the mexican fiesta. He seems to be more concerned concerned about getting his picture taken than responding to legitimate press requests for information. When is the press going to refuse to be his photographer and insist on answers and report them. Name the last Secretary that thought his job was to get his picture taken while dismantling the services to the most vulnerable of Kansas citizens. He is a small insecure man that owes it to the taxpayers to get some help with his daddy issues and then step up and run the agency like it is supposed to be run. I don't know his salary but am sure it is enough for counseling. Doesn't Kansas have a employee assistance program for the employees? Use it Siedlecki.

0

akt2 2 years, 9 months ago

If cuts are to be made, by god go after the fraudulent medicaid and food stamp users. Leave the poor, their children, and the disabled out of it. There would be plenty of state aid and services available to those who actually qualify.

0

Jan Rolls 2 years, 9 months ago

They didn't even kiss them first.

0

Gandalf 2 years, 9 months ago

Looks like the brownies are starting to come out to defend their master.

0

ku_tailg8 2 years, 9 months ago

What ever happened to being responsible for your own actions? You buy what you can (house, car, food) but unfortunately people bought in over their head and now they are screwed. Just because you have a limit on you credit card doesnt mean you need to reach it. I have my degree but find it more productive to do something with my time instead of relying on tax payer to make my payments. There are too many people that are lazy and unwilling to take a job. Thats a fact! Government has become to big of our society.

0

lilygrace 2 years, 9 months ago

I wish Douglas County could secede from the rest of the State of Kansas. Douglas County has the only intelligent people in this miserable hell-hole of a State. Governor Throwback (to the dark ages) is trying to get Douglas County "in line" with the rest of the State by punishing us for consistently voting for the Democrats. The populace of Douglas County could do and does do better for the citizens who live here than anything the Republican schmucks have ever done. Douglas County is the last bastion of "Free State" thinkers. Next election, get off your duff and vote Democrat!

0

rhaig1 2 years, 9 months ago

IT IS REALLY TOO BAD THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED. THERE HAVE BEEN A LOT OF JOBS LOST AND FAMILIES DISPLACED FROM SERVICES THAT ARE ACTUALLY NEEDED. ITS NO SURPRISE THAT CUTS NEEDED TO BE MADE BUT I CAN THINK OF A LOT OF AGENCIES THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN CUT LONG BEFORE SRS. TOO MANY DESERVING PEOPLE AND FAMILIES WILL SUFFER AND A BIG HANDFUL OF NON DESERVING PEOPLE WILL HAVE TO WORK HARDER TO FIND ANOTHER CRUTCH TO MOOCH OFF OF. LETS LOOK AT THE CITY WORKERS. HOW MANY DOES IT REALLY TAKE TO DO A "SIMPLE" JOB? TRASH SERVICE? THE SANITATION CREWS WORK HARD DOING A JOB THAT MOST PEOPLE WOULD PREFER NOT TO DO BUT FACE THE FACTS ANY LEVEL OF GOVT. SUCKS AT RUNNING A BUSINESS. IT NEEDS TO BE PRIVATIZED. JUST REMEMBER NEXT TIME YOU CAN VOTE. ACTUALLY GO DO IT! IF YOU DON'T VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE CANDIDATE AT LEAST YOU CAN VOTE AGAINST YOUR LEAST FAVORITE .

0

Amy Heeter 2 years, 9 months ago

Aside from the possible unemployment of some employees of srs locally not much else will change. Applications can and will be processed maybe even in a swifter manner. Workers investigating abuse will still do so but home base will be in a diffrent location. child support will be collected and distributed. Work programs will still exist. It's just a building. Other service providers will be assisting with transports to regional service centers.

0

ku_tailg8 2 years, 9 months ago

A JCCC student living in Lawrence should be able to comprehend their situation. If you have to rely on a bus to get you there, and you don't like the bus hours, then go to another school. Plus, if there isn't a demand, which apparently there isn't, they would make more runs and stops. But there isn't. This is just a typical situation of our society. Everyone wants something for free even those milking the system. I'm not a fan of GW Bush but did anyone catch that article on yahoo that said the # of Obama's staff making over $100k has tripled since GW. Both are idiots. Eventually the government will run the majority of this country. I want to puke! Watch CSPAN and see what our "leaders" are doing in DC. All they do is argue against each other instead of making things work for both parties. Its an absolute joke.

0

kusadgirl 2 years, 9 months ago

According to the location of that SRS building. That would make a great location for a homeless shelter.

0

kusadgirl 2 years, 9 months ago

They should just put the whole process of SRS (to be honest I don't even know what SRS is) online.

0

Alceste 2 years, 9 months ago

The closure of the Lawrence SRS office CAN be stopped, but only if the community comes together and presents a united front. This process must include the City Commission as well as the County Commission. Other SRS offices have prevented their own closure due to the united clamoring of the community.

As an example, Wamego prevented it's closure for years and years and years due to fact it "organized". While the Wamego SRS office was eventually closed (and rightfully so in my viewpoint.....the "people" who worked their slept a good deal of the day; the idiots locked the doors of a government office over the "lunch hour"; the number of citizens served by the office was a joke; blah, blah, blah.), it successfully resisted that closure, again, for years.

If people in Lawrence want to retain the SRS office they need to do something about it. Their are four legislators right here in Lawrence: Francisco, Davis, Ballard, and Sloan. There's a starting point. How many "not for profit poverty pimp" operations are there here in town. Well, we got us DCCCA, The Farm, Kaw Valley Center, etc., etc., etc. All of them get a good deal of money from SRS. Will they join in the collective clamoring to keep the Lawrence SRS office, or will they be cowed into silence for fear of having their income stream cut?

This announcement can prove to be very interesting as to just how strong a "community" Lawrence really is. Will the "community" come together and storm that guy from Florida's office (Siedlecki) or will the community do what it generally does which is to hand wring and post on message boards?

0

bisky1 2 years, 9 months ago

this almost seems political, has brownback been taking lessons from obama?

0

nonracist 2 years, 9 months ago

If you damned liberals in Lawrence would simply vote correctly, these things wouldn't happen to you.

0

roosmom 2 years, 9 months ago

Before spouting off, educate yourself on the services SRS provides!
http://www.srs.ks.gov/services/Pages/default.aspx

People use these services to better themselves. I'm tired of hearing the "I'm better than you because" crap!!!

0

crosstownbytch1 2 years, 9 months ago

How are people now goin to get their vision cards that you have to go in and get when apply and they dont have away to get to another town?

0

Gandalf 2 years, 9 months ago

Looks like a good spot for my compromise solution.

Gandalf (anonymous) says… Here's an example of compromise.

Democrat's propose one bullet in gun for russian roulette. Republicans demand a automatic.

Who should give in?

Gandalf (anonymous) replies… Answer: democrats, if republican's agree to go first. :O)

July 1, 2011 at 6:13 a.m. permalinkreplysuggest removal

0

BOULEVARDWHEAT 2 years, 9 months ago

I am someone who considers myself conservative (Baptist, Veteran, Defense/Government employee, Self-sufficient). Brownback is the worst of the bunch and showed me to never vote on party lines. Whether this was a move by Brownback's group to go against Lawrence is something that I will never know. But what I do know is he is following his ideals instead of what is good for Kansas as a whole. I'm sure that Western Kansas loves him, but I don't.

0

snook3200 2 years, 9 months ago

this is a pure attempt to run the homeless somewhere else because no one can agree on a place for them to live and no services to help the poor so the solution is to take the services away from those that need it. god save us all. we send money and help to other places but we cannot help our own people here in the united states. people living under bridges. living in hallways in apartments. people born and raised jayhawkers that need help and are being turned away. only to read the day before how someone is being paid a salary that is sickening. how can this be in our town. so much suffering and all the agencies are being taken from those that need them. the employees are being punished with no jobs or having to drive so far to get to a new destination it almost is not worth it. what kind of world is this. something has to be done before this town is turned upside down from the devastation of this decsion that is going to only hurt families that have children, elderly and disabled. what kind of community do we really live in? instead of pointing fingers we must come together.instead of being judgemental.this kind of craziness is only the beginning of a downward spiral of travesty and heartache.

0

worthlessljworldposter 2 years, 9 months ago

cait48 Posted 7:19 p.m., July 1, 2011 Suggest removal

The idea of talking to anyone in a state government agency by phone is nothing short of laughable. You will automatically go to voice mail and then wait hours for someone to call you back. And that's after navigating an auto answering system so confusing you don't know whether you're coming or going.

You again, huh? I thought teabaggers hated social welfares such as food stamps, unemployment, etc. What you callin the state for? Legal aid? Help with a useless god? Change a tire? Death threats to Sebelius? For those needs you may be waiting a bit. I'm sure your god would be in complete agreement with shafting those of us without a car. Do I need a f-in horse & buggy to comply with your god? Sandals? Hippie hair? A stinky bible? Kosher salt? Here's to SRS finding a way to allow us to work well with them without having to leave town. Much sorrow for the employees. 100+ to move around? Could be really tough..

0

cowboy 2 years, 9 months ago

Screw Brownback and his Florida Bush cronies

0

password 2 years, 9 months ago

even though population in one town may not seem as important, i know that out in western kansas, where there are hardly any SRS offices, some of the case workers have to travel many miles to provide services in other western towns. so caseload size does matter. many of them are on the road constantly and having to stay overnight and they are not in the convenience of their own office as they are in lawrence. and from what i know, alot of counseling services are provided to the many schools that dont have counselors. western kansans need the services just as much as it is needed in lawrence.

0

Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 9 months ago

King Sam strikes again! I am a volunteer for the Kansas Guardianship Program and as a result need to use the Lawrence SRS office frequently to assist my ward. Now they have added quite a drive time as well as crowding in other office to my volunteer effort. Kansas has the best guardianship program in the county--don't make it harder to recruit the volunteers necessary to make it work!

0

trymeone35 2 years, 9 months ago

great more tax dollars wasted on there buildings.how are people going to see there workers face to face .. thanks government for screwed us over yet again, you close are school and take and take from us... but you keep raising are taxes....Kansas is really screwed up.........

0

JM Andy 2 years, 9 months ago

Brownie says your church should help feed, clothe and shelter you. That's why he brought in his cronies for "faith based initiatives". Better accept Jesus as your savior ASAP, po' folks, if you want to eat and keep a roof over your head.

0

To Sides 2 years, 9 months ago

Totally payback for Democrat Tom Holland, Baldwin, having the nerve to run against Brownass. Bombard suckass Anthony Brown in Eudora the local Republican kiss ass with calls and emails and tell him what you think.

0

workinghard 2 years, 9 months ago

Can we demand some sort of audit, maybe federal?

0

kusadgirl 2 years, 9 months ago

Has anyone read What's the Matter with Kansas? by Thomas Frank. An interesting read explaining how the conservatives convinced people to vote against their interests.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/What%27s...?

0

Armored_One 2 years, 9 months ago

I know it's not a big paragraph, but for those that are claiming LJW didn't do the leg work, or whatever you want to call it must have missed it

"SRS did not respond Friday to a request for the number of SRS caseloads at the Lawrence office as well as the other offices being closed, or how Douglas County’s caseload compared with other offices across the state."

At any rate...

I am thinking that Brownback just sealed his fate when it comes time for elections. There are a lot of people that are going to remember this, along with the rest of his less-than-brilliant ideas.

I regret not voting last time. I was dealing with family issues that day and simply couldn't find the time. I WILL find the time next time around. I disagreed with his stances when he got elected. My vote alone wouldn't have done anything to keep this fool from being elected, but I still should have.

This is truly disgusting. Lawrence is too large of a town to not have a local SRS office.

0

Cait McKnelly 2 years, 9 months ago

The idea of talking to anyone in a state government agency by phone is nothing short of laughable. You will automatically go to voice mail and then wait hours for someone to call you back. And that's after navigating an auto answering system so confusing you don't know whether you're coming or going.

0

ivalueamerica 2 years, 9 months ago

Will Kansas...will Kansans be able to survive this governor?

0

chalice2 2 years, 9 months ago

Well, the pro-life people only care about life in the womb. Once we're born, it's pure social darwinism.

0

NegroNancy 2 years, 9 months ago

I have a problem with politicians who claim the moral high ground (God loving/fearing Christian conservatives) who, in practice, show the most blatant disregard for the well being of our most vulnerable citizens. This is the kind of oppression that leads to cyclical poverty for families; that leads to abuse and neglect. This seems totally unwarrented, cruel even.

"we have definitely ensured that the people in Lawrence who are served by that service center will not have an interruption in services and their cases will be handled efficiently and professionally.”

Right, tell that to the family that gets a new case worker. Tell that to the case worker who gets 10-15 more clients. Tell that to person who's gonna be told to jump through fire to get the services they need. Interuption in service!? This isn't cable!

0

gvnobas 2 years, 9 months ago

Whatever happened to working a job?

0

PaladKik 2 years, 9 months ago

Some people need the government to lead them. What will all these people do without SRS? Special trips by the T to SRS outposts, should be arranged immediately

0

velmasangel 2 years, 9 months ago

This is ridiculous, there are thousands of people in this town that use this srs and there are constantly people in the office using their services, this is really going to hurt this town alot, because the low income and the disabled are not going to be able to get the services that they need and deserve because they aren't going to be able to have access to the office to get paperwork in a timely manner or talk to someone in a timely manner, plus alot of them don't either know how to work a computer or don't have a phone and there is not going to be enough people around that will want to help them do this, THIS TOWN IS TO BIG IN POPULATION TO CLOSE THIS OFFICE, but then that shows how much the state and government actually care about the people in this community. Plus most of the employees will probably be unemployed now because i am sure that there is not going to be very many openings in the other offices for their services and also some of them won't be able to get there, but they say that they want to try and have jobs available to the people in town, but then they are taking away jobs, it makes no sense at all. And as far as the law enforcement, they will not be able to have someone respond to their request in a timely manner because there won't be anyone close enough to get to where they are needed .

0

trinity 2 years, 9 months ago

soooooooo just a bit ago on the news i saw plastic hair/pancake made up "gov" harping on about how he wants a 9-11 style investigation as to why the damn have failed and are causing all this flooding. gee i wonder how much that will cost. what a tool.

0

kusadgirl 2 years, 9 months ago

Blame Brownback. I blame the Viking explorers.

0

trinity 2 years, 9 months ago

it's friday. good lord, what next?! i ain't believin' this. wow. these schmucks seem to enjoy F'ing up state employee's weekends and lives!!!

0

Steve Jacob 2 years, 9 months ago

This is what government looks like with no tax hikes. Just look at the new California state budget that passed. Schools will suffer, felons who would be in jail in any other state get probation. You get the government you pay for.

Just be lucky the old governor passed the sales tax increase that even Brownback did not want to get rid of, or it would be worse.

0

Dispersant 2 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how many people who use SRS services in the state of Kansas voted for Brownback and are tea partiers? Got to love voting against your own self interests. But you can always blame Obama.

0

tange 2 years, 9 months ago

Ok... so, you're Sam Brownback's frozen head... and you fall onto the ground, somewhere far from hilly Lawrence, Kansas...
you don't roll, but you don't gather moss... 'cause you're the boss... the albatross... croquet ball on the lawn of Koch Schloss.

0

George_Braziller 2 years, 9 months ago

I work a few hours a week as a personal care attend for an elderly woman who I took just this afternoon to the Lawrence SRS office for one of her annual reviews. There wasn't a single mention that the office was closing.

Next year I'll probably have to drive her to the KC office for her review. If it's still open. Last month that one was hit with mass terminations.

0

newmedia 2 years, 9 months ago

Hope and Change. Lean Forward. How many people does (did) the Lawrence SRS office actually serve?

0

jayhawklawrence 2 years, 9 months ago

I think we can read between the lines and figure out that Brownback and his administration don't have much use for Lawrence, KS.

0

grammaddy 2 years, 9 months ago

Brownback is punishing Douglas County for being the little blue sea of common sense in an ocean of madness.

0

autie 2 years, 9 months ago

So them poor people in Coffeyville will have to access the Indepenance office for services. Well them poor so them ain't got no car..mark that off the list...them cousins what go a car cain't put no gas in it cept on saturday to go to the club...hmmm..now them ain't go no pouter skills neither but they can go to the lieberry and gets on the line if the lieberry persons helps them...so what now, gots to mail something in? Ha.

another manuever to elminate access of these exemplary services to Kansans with out a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of...good move Sam..should save thousands. Until those reciepents wind up in the community corrections....then it will be hundreds of thousands.

0

andreamg 2 years, 9 months ago

well..it sux that the SRS office is closing as there are alot of people that benefit from the services. after reading all the comments.....THe blame is going to politics.....so therefore, NEXT TIME ELECTIONS COME UP...GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND VOTE SO YOU CAN ALL QUIT COMPLAINING.....I have also been reading about how it's going to be such a tragedy to drive to KC for services....it's not that hard to find a ride or drive there, or it is just a matter of getting a job and finding out what other services there are in Lawrence such as ECKAN or SALVATION ARMY.

0

rbwaa 2 years, 9 months ago

This is appalling. What else could we expect from our 'family friendly' governor and his 'couldn't care less' florida lackeys. Closing KNI cannot be far behind.

0

true_patriot 2 years, 9 months ago

I think this story makes an interesting pairing with the one about how Doug Compton's downtown private investment will now be receiving corporate welfare using Lawrence's public tax dollars - this passed with only 1 member opposing it. So, from a Lawrence and Kansas citizen's perspective, an SRS branch that serves people in need and rescues children and the elderly from sometimes horrifying abusive situations and is a major hub of social safety net support for the public while simultaneously draining our public coffers to help insure greater profits for private wealthy investments.

Steal from the public, give to wealthy private investors. It is happening on every level from global to federal to state to country to city. It is a massive redistribution of wealth and completely opposite of what the founding fathers had in mind when they created this wonderful experiment in democracy and did what they could to prevent the rise of aristocracy in the New World after seeing it's corrosive and destructive effects in the old world.

0

Jonathan Kealing 2 years, 9 months ago

Just so you all know, Karrey's working on another update with reaction from the community. So far she's put several additional questions to SRS, including on things like caseloads and how services would be rendered, but has as yet received no response. We sincerely hope that SRS will answer our questions before the holiday weekend arrives for their staff.

0

theoljhawk 2 years, 9 months ago

Here it comes.........WAAAAAAA!

0

Melissa_Bower 2 years, 9 months ago

Great job on this story, Karrey. I can tell you did a lot with a very little bit of information provided to you. I hope you will consider a follow up. I would like to know more about how SRS will provide services to places where it does not have a location. Also, I would like to know more about your request for information - were they denying you information about the offices closing? Perhaps that would best be addressed in a letter FROM the editor. If they denied information to the public about the closure of their facilities, I think that warrants another news story.

Here are some other questions I would ask. - Who made the decision to close the facilities? - How was this decision made? Whitten's quote states, "It was a very detailed process that was thought out and researched and examined," but that does not address this question. She is avoiding giving a direct answer, and the taxpayers of Kansas deserve to know why. If someone directed her to keep this information from going public, I want to know who made that order and why. - How will services be provided to SRS beneficiaries who live in Lawrence? Can SRS staff travel to clients and be compensated? Are there SRS staff living in Lawrence who can work from home? Will any beneficiaries have to travel to the Overland Park or other offices to receive services, or can they access online?

Finally, remind SRS that as a local newspaper you have the power to inform many people at once, but they have to work with you. Perhaps local organizations, such as the library or KU, can help SRS beneficiaries by keeping computer labs open to people who need to access SRS services online. Or perhaps even offer discounted taxi rates to those computer labs. People need specifics about how to access these services, and a catch-all referral to SRS' website simply does not cut it in this case. As a taxpayer, I expect SRS to conduct its operations openly and with the best interests of my fellow Kansans at heart.

0

Lawrence_Pilot 2 years, 9 months ago

Payback for Douglas County not voting for Brownbutt. Look for similar moves over the next 4 years. Things like attacking and defunding KU.

0

Steve Jacob 2 years, 9 months ago

This hurts, not only to the people who use SRS services, and the employees (you know not all of them will get to be transferred) , but the Lawrence tax base. 87 jobs, guessing on average 40K a year. My addition says around $3.5M leaving Lawrence a year.

0

jackbinkelman 2 years, 9 months ago

Another reason to gut the Lawrence site, more jobs to cut.

0

true_patriot 2 years, 9 months ago

i wonder why there are two separate LJW articles about the same event ... Cross-post from other article:

Full on class warfare - give to the rich, steal from the poor. It's such a loaded phrase, but the Koch Brothers of the world are banking on the sheeple to be reluctant to notice what's happening to them now that they've bought and paid for key politicians and the jump starting of a new ultra radical political party.

Guess it'll have to effect more and more families higher up the middle class income scale before there is any real backlash. Those already going to bed hungry and unable to pay for medical needs and losing their homes will just have to suffer more. Nice way to gouge the Lawrence economy during a downturn as well.

0

jackbinkelman 2 years, 9 months ago

my comment was deleted.. hmmm ...

0

Casual905 2 years, 9 months ago

Oh well, you get what you vote for.

0

scott3460 2 years, 9 months ago

Elections have consequences.

The way to stop someone from hitting you is to hit back.

Quit electing these abusers.

0

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 9 months ago

"When asked why Lawrence, which has such a large population, Whitten emphasized the proximity to other SRS offices"

Meanwhile, there is a SRS office in Manhattan and in Junction City.

There is a SRS office in Columbus and in Pittsburg.

In Chanute and in Iola, and in Garnett, too.

In Atchison, KCK, and Leavenworth.

In Osawatomie and in Ottawa.

Proximity is not the reason. Here's hoping the LJWorld follows up on the census numbers with the number of clients served in each office across the state.

0

somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

0

jhawk0097 2 years, 9 months ago

“The Legislature told us to find savings, and we have identified a way to achieve those savings while still providing exemplary services to our beneficiaries,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.

Says the mf ivy league brownback stooge.

0

John Yocum 2 years, 9 months ago

snap - Yes, they do. We haven't seen the worst of the economy issue in this town or in this country. Everybody get ready! Just waiting for the debts to be called in . . . . .

0

Flap Doodle 2 years, 9 months ago

The constant cries of "no growth" in Lawrence have consequences, don't they?

0

Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence is a hotbed of nasty liberal thinking. Gov Brownbackwards cannot allow this!

0

KansasPerson 2 years, 9 months ago

"The workers were notified Friday morning during a conference call that they will be reassigned to neighboring offices based upon service needs."

Reassigned my eye. Wake up, there are not anywhere NEAR enough open spots at "neighboring offices" to absorb all the Lawrence SRS workers.

0

Richard Heckler 2 years, 9 months ago

Add this to the many state jobs which been lost in Topeka.....

So how many pay checks has Lawrence lost??? in the past 6-7 months?

How many more paychecks will be lost in the coming months and next three years?

How many Lawrence people have been cut by city hall?

And Lawrence WANTS to build a new $15 million rec center after blowing $20 million on the USD 497 sports fiasco. The PLAY projects are for who?

0

Phillbert 2 years, 9 months ago

If it's Friday, you know it's time for more layoffs by the "jobs, jobs, jobs" Governor.

0

John Yocum 2 years, 9 months ago

Too bad the folks losing their jobs couldn't have appiled at the M & M Mars plant . . . . . or the American Eagle warehouse, or the Wal-Mart warehouse, or Olive Garden, or . . . . .

0

meggers 2 years, 9 months ago

Some more fun facts:

In 1999, Lawrence had 4,267 residents with a median income of less than 10,000.

That exceeds the total population in some of the areas where the offices will remain open.

0

Laura Wilson 2 years, 9 months ago

So now 87 workers have to commute somewhere (assuming they all live in Lawrence), spending more money on gas etc.

And still we have no NEW jobs. At least we didn't lose any here. So far.

Oh and cutting back on cell phone usage to save money? That's a step backwards. That's like saying, let's go back to typewriters. Cell phones are the future. In twenty years, no one's going to have a landline. I know a lot of small businesses that don't have landlines but rely on cellphones and the internet.

0

OonlyBonly 2 years, 9 months ago

Somebody in Lawrence really, really p.... somebody in Topeka off. Really, BIG time!

0

hs_reader 2 years, 9 months ago

This sucks, but the Lawrence office was probably closed because it's close to the KC Metro and they figure they can make all these people drive somewhere else.

0

nonracist 2 years, 9 months ago

What else would you expect from Brownback? He's going to show those nasty liberals in Lawrence who's the "Dictator".

0

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 9 months ago

A sampling of some of the service centers staying open:

Columbus and Pittsburg

Osawatomie and Ottawa

Manhattan and Junction City

Atchison and Leavenworth

Chanute and Iola

0

Multidisciplinary 2 years, 9 months ago

I haven't kept up on the status of the last planned homeless shelter building...

but if it fell through, then here you go.

0

meggers 2 years, 9 months ago

How in the world can anyone in their right mind compare Lawrence with any of the cities listed???

Population data from the US Census Bureau:

Lawrence: 80, 098 Fort Scott: 8,277 Garnett: 3,368 McPherson: 13,770 Lyndon: 1,038 Wellington: 8,647 Pratt: 6,570 Marysville: 3,271 Coffeyville: 11,021

Combined total of all of the cities above, excluding Lawrence: 55,982

Lawrence: 80,098

This decision reeks of politics.

0

pinecreek 2 years, 9 months ago

What are the 4 office remaining open and how many people work at each location?

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.