Advertisement

Archive for Monday, July 11, 2011

After Open Records request, SRS provides more detailed explanation for some office closings

July 11, 2011

Advertisement

The Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services released information Monday about the closure of the Lawrence office — after the Lawrence Journal-World sought the information Wednesday morning through an Open Records request.

The data include more details about how SRS expects to save $413,000 by closing the local office, its reasoning behind the closings, and how these offices compare with others statewide.

SAVINGS

Here’s how SRS expects to save $413,000 a year:

  • $18,563 — phone.
  • $331,875 — property rental.
  • $18,217 — copier rental.
  • $2,969 — postage machine rental.
  • $16,406 — janitorial contract.
  • $210 — pest control.
  • $761 — shredding.
  • $26,581 — electricity.
  • $3,234 — natural gas.
  • $1,121 — water.
  • $3,751 — sewage.
  • $2,290 — solid waste.
  • $1,935 — building supplies/repair.

SRS expects to spend $14,528 more on travel expenses because of the closure.

OFFICES BEING CLOSED

Here are the number of cases served in June, and the population of those served by each office, followed by reasons SRS gave for closures. It provided reasons for just a handful of the closures.

Lawrence — 10,211 cases, 110,826 population.

Reasons: Significant savings; nearby access to offices in Topeka, Ottawa, Kansas City, Overland Park and Leavenworth; more than 100 spaces are open in Topeka and Kansas City offices; 19 percent of Douglas County children living in poverty compared with 31 percent in Wyandotte County and 27 percent in Shawnee County; and Topeka’s is a state-owned building with significant empty space.

Coffeyville — 8,084, 35,471.

Reasons: None provided.

Fort Scott — 5,462, 24,829.

Reasons: None provided.

McPherson — 2,269, 29,180.

Reasons: Nearby offices in Newton and Hutchinson; it has a smaller staff and caseload compared with Newton and Hutchinson; 9 percent of population are living in poverty compared with 13.8 percent in Reno County and 10.5 in Harvey County; and it ranks second in state for smallest percentage — 10.4 — of children living in poverty.

Wellington — 2,129, 30,166.

Reasons: Winfield is nearby and has space to accommodate Wellington staff but not vice versa; lease is month-to-month; average monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) participants are double in Winfield compared with Wellington.

Marysville — 1,429, 20,295.

Reasons: Regional office director indicates “walk in traffic is light” and “customers already have a lot of contact by phone” and there are just 12 employees.

Pratt — 949, 18,954.

Reasons: None provided.

Garnett — 748, 8,102.

Reasons: Proximity to Ottawa, Osawatomie and Iola.

Lyndon — 422, 16,295.

Reasons: None provided.

OFFICES REMAINING OPEN

Here are the number of cases served in June, and the population of those served by each office:

  • Wichita — 77,110 cases; 498,365 population.
  • Kansas City — 34,582; 157,505.
  • Topeka — 33,475; 191,396
  • Overland Park — 32,354; 544,179.
  • Hutchinson — 13,308; 82,452.
  • Salina — 11,120; 112,793.
  • Manhattan — 10,201; 86,703.
  • Pittsburg — 8,545; 39,134.
  • Leavenworth — 8,498; 76,227.
  • Garden City — 8,267; 53,610.
  • Emporia — 7,775; 51,004.
  • El Dorado — 7,607; 72,569.
  • Junction City — 6,157; 34,362.
  • Newton — 5,981; 47,344.
  • Atchison — 5,838; 43,995.
  • Dodge City — 5,650; 50,129.
  • Great Bend — 5,601; 27,674.
  • Hays — 5,561; 44,425.
  • Winfield — 5,491; 42,862.
  • Parsons — 5,302; 21,607.
  • Ottawa — 3,777; 25,992.
  • Osawatomie — 3,102; 32,787.
  • Liberal — 3,007; 50,804.
  • Columbus — 2,803; 21,603.
  • Chanute — 2,707; 25,921.
  • Hiawatha — 2,620; 9,984.
  • Phillipsburg — 2,048; 26,802.
  • Iola — 1,811; 16,680.
  • Concordia — 1,610; 29,762.
  • Colby — 1,168; 18,692.
  • Goodland — 1,389; 10,221.
  • Greensburg — 530; 4,444.
  • Larned — 464; 6,973.

Comments

Steve Bunch 3 years, 5 months ago

Now that we have case load info (although I'd rather see one year's worth than one month's), what's missing is the case load per staff ratio for all the offices (not just the ones being closed).

walkthehawk 3 years, 5 months ago

this is out on a limb, but what about closing the OP office instead? looking at the numbers--it's particularly interesting with the OP numbers next to KCK's; similar number of cases but very different population--it seems like perhaps OP could be served by KCK and Lawrence offices, with backup from the other services and supports available in JOCO. Rationale: clients are more likely to have access to public transit to get around the KC metro than clients in Lawrence are to be able to get to the KC area; less need, overall; availability of supports and services throughout a metropolitan area (whereas Lawrence is a stand-alone community); and, as in Lawrence, "significant cost savings." Just my .02.

tomatogrower 3 years, 5 months ago

Good points. Come to the meeting tonight.

average 3 years, 5 months ago

Johnson County is the largest county in the state. It's kind of ridiculous to have no office in the largest population center in the state. A full quarter of the state's population is in JoCo and WyCo, so 2/30 offices is pretty reasonable. 16 remaining in the Big First... well... it's big.

Junction and Manhattan? Goodland and Colby? Great Bend and Larned... although I'm guessing the Larned site is primarily for interaction with the State Hospital? Same deal with Parsons or Osawatomie?

xclusive85 3 years, 5 months ago

Don't bang that Goodland and Colby drum please. They both serve multiple counties.

average 3 years, 5 months ago

And the northwestern 17 counties of Kansas (Ness and everything north and west... a much larger territory than those two offices cover) have under half the population of Douglas County.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 5 months ago

"Topeka’s is a state-owned building with significant empty space."

False.

This building in Topeka is being leased, as is a second facility on Kansas Avenue, not to mention the SRS space in the state office building by the Statehouse.

If there is significant empty space in Topeka, why isn't it being used to avoid shutting down offices?

thinkagain 3 years, 5 months ago

Looks to me like Schwada just lost his second tenant in 60 days. Maybe his rents are too high.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 5 months ago

The SRS office rent is so high that SRS has been paying for the buildings every 6 and a half years!

Kansas Republicans...fiscally responsible? Couldn't prove it by me.

Steve Bunch 3 years, 5 months ago

Most of the empty space in Topeka resides in the noggins of our legislators.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 5 months ago

If the South Iowa location grows into a weed-filled corner, it's only because the developers deliberately don't maintain it.

As an aside, I don't know about you, but I see no reason whatsoever why taxpayers have to guarantee that private developers make a profit.

grammaddy 3 years, 5 months ago

If the SRS office here isn't owned by Kansas, who is the owner? I remember when it was built.

RubyVrooom 3 years, 5 months ago

And renting copiers for $18,000+ a year? For how many years, how many thousands of dollars total? Why the h*** don't they just buy them?

Liberty275 3 years, 5 months ago

Ummm, I don't think the state can force a land owner to sell without condemning the property, and that would raise a huge stink. It isn't fishy. If I could get $300,000 a year in rent for a $150,000 building, they would have to start shooting at me to take it away.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 5 months ago

Yup...but there's no reason the State had to stay at that location.

What's fishy is that the rent they paid "bought" those two buildings every 6 and a half years.

deec 3 years, 5 months ago

With so much of what is going on in the world now, I thought maybe reality was dead. I'm glad its ghost decided to pay us a visit!

Liberty275 3 years, 5 months ago

"$331,875 — property rental. - Actual savings of overpriced rent ($1.5M property, 10% ROI would be $150,000/year)."

That's $150,000 which is better than nothing. Also, a lot of your examples don't take into account service charges. We pay some amount (my wife does the bills) even if we don't use a drop of water or whiff of gas or garbage truck all month. Consolidating bills will reduce them all (or at least most) to some extent.

I think you were sandbagging a little on that. Carry on.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 5 months ago

According to http://da.ks.gov/fm/leasing/officebyagency.asp there are eight leases with a higher total cost per sq. ft. rate, including utilities, than Lawrence.

Shhhhhhh........ don't tell the press.

Steve Jacob 3 years, 5 months ago

You know what this means! .You know they will not be able to rent office space for that much in East Lawrence, so it will become apartments.

Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 5 months ago

What those that oppose this latest move don't get is, that if you live in Lawrence, and even many in surrounding communities.. you WILL be effected quite adversely by the closing of the Lawrence SRS office. There is a network of agencies in Lawrence that work together, and SRS is at the center of the wheel, with the spokes that go out to form the wheel that makes this community go round and work for the better of the whole. I've lived in Lawrence all my life, and have had to access services in the past. I now speak as an advocate for those who's voices are weak now, while mine has been restored! I love this town, which is more like a city now. I hate to see it become just another adjoining arm of Kansas City. That's the direction this move is making.. to take away our community and make it part of the "greater" Johnson County. If you care at all about Lawrence, you would see that closing the SRS tears apart the very social infrastructure that makes our town so great!! The costs for this move are going to be astronomical.. both socially and financially!

devobrun 3 years, 5 months ago

So Douglas county (Lawrence) serves 110,000 and 10,000 cases were dealt with in June. Figure that each case involves more than one person on average and we're looking at maybe 20% of the population dealing with SRS in one month.

I don't even know what SRS does.

I don't know where it is.

And 20% of the population (in a relatively rich county) uses their services each month.

No wonder our country is broke. Social and Rehabilitation Services? Or is it just giving money away?

jafs 3 years, 5 months ago

It's interesting when people who don't even know what it does or where it is then have strong opinions about it.

Why not find out what it does first, and then form an opinion?

devobrun 3 years, 5 months ago

Coupla weeks ago I talked to my financial adviser who told me to go by the Social Security office to get the estimate of my retirement benefits. I had never been into the place and I didn't know what to expect. There was a cop there who asked people about guns. I looked around the room and saw people who needed to loose weight. I got my information and split, pronto. Who knows Jafs, maybe I could get money from SRS. But then I would have to go into their office and feel like I had entered Bangladesh, too.

I know what they do, Jafs. They pass out money to people who cannot get money otherwise.

justajoke 3 years, 5 months ago

The Lawrence office has the same number of intakes as the bigger offices in the region per worker. I think someone needs to ask for a break down of cases per division. These numbers aren't accurate. The cost savings isn't accurate either, now the state will be paying to relocate workers, mileage, cell phones, laptops and other items that are needed to do the job. Postage won't be a savings either because now intakes will increase and you will have to mail more documents. I am betting that the KC Metro Region has already save close to the amount needed by the firing or ( forced retiring) of the 8 people that have left in the last 3 weeks...

Ken Lassman 3 years, 5 months ago

The process the Brownback/Siedlecki duo used, is, as usual, incompetent. Key stakeholders were not consulted in the data collection, goal setting or problem solving stages of this decision. As has typified what has happened across the board, goals are set behind closed doors, and solutions are formulated without any input from those affected.

Why didn't they come to Lawrence and say: "we'd like to save $413,000. Come up with a plan if you want to keep your offices open?" Judging from the incredible network of community supports that use SRS in Lawrence, they would have come up with a viable plan.

The governor/SRS never gave them that chance. That's what I call incompetence.

jafs 3 years, 5 months ago

Also, there may be even easier ways to cut $400,000 from the budget without touching SRS.

It's a fraction of the projected cost for the SLT.

According to a post on another thread, the newly formed faith based initiative section pays more than that in annual salaries.

New state logo.

Trim the retirement packages for legislators.

Don't engage in massively expensive ($3 million and counting) renovations of the state house.

Use energy efficient lighting in all public buildings, and set thermostats at more modest temperatures.

Etc.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.