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Archive for Tuesday, July 12, 2011

More than 600 gather at public forum to vent frustration with closing of Lawrence SRS office

Some of the sounds from the public forum on the decision by Gov. Sam Brownback's administration to close the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

July 12, 2011

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SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki discusses closure of Lawrence office

Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Secretary Rob Siedlecki spoke with Lawrence Journal-World editors Monday, July 11, 2011, about the planned closure of the Lawrence SRS office. Siedlecki said there was no chance the Lawrence office will be spared closure, but maintained there will be some SRS presence in the city. Enlarge video

Kathleen McGee, a Lawrence woman with numerous disabilities, said Monday she owed her life to the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services.

One of more than 600 people who attended a public meeting at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt., McGee said she didn’t understand the mindset of Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration, which has announced that it plans to close the Lawrence SRS office.

McGee said she read the comments of SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr., who said closing the Lawrence office was necessary for budget reasons, although, he added, it was a difficult decision. He compared it to asking a family to sacrifice a child.

“This is America,” McGee said. “And this is Kansas. We don’t sacrifice our children. We help them.”

Her comments were echoed repeatedly in a sometimes emotional meeting as people who are served by SRS, their advocates and numerous others said the planned shutdown of one of the largest SRS offices in the state was needless and senseless.

Listening to the speakers were Douglas County legislators, city and county officials, law enforcement officers and clergy. No one from SRS was there — officials and staff were invited to the meeting but declined to attend.

Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the comments would be compiled and delivered to Brownback and his staff to try to persuade them to change their decision.

“Facts don’t lie, and I believe the facts are on our side in keeping this office open,” he said.

Earlier Monday, Siedlecki, meeting with reporters and editors at the Lawrence Journal-World, repeated his contention that those needing SRS services in Lawrence will be able to access them online or travel to Topeka, Kansas City, Overland Park or Ottawa, once the Lawrence office is closed.

To the folks meeting at Plymouth Congregational, that was nonsensical. Many of the people receiving assistance don’t have dependable transportation or the ability to travel, they said.

And many of the services that SRS offers, such as medical assistance, cannot be accessed on the Internet.

Retired District Court Judge Jean Shepherd said the biggest loss would be the loss of relationships between SRS and Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Cottonwood Inc., school officials, law enforcement and others who all work together as a team to help people.

“We will get some new social worker in Wyandotte County who doesn’t know anyone in our community,” she said. It will result in the wrong placements of children in foster care and failures in getting children out of dangerous situations, she said.

Others said the loss of SRS will increase the strain on already overburdened local agencies and nonprofits, diverting them from their missions and resulting in fewer people receiving help. That will lead to an increase in crime and more disasters, they said.

Marion Dyer of Lawrence said the Brownback administration’s priorities were out of whack because he is advocating tax cuts while cutting services to needy Kansans.

“This pain we are feeling now will never go away,” she said.

Siedlecki has said the closure of the Lawrence SRS office will save about $413,000. He said the agency had to cut $42 million including $1 million in administrative costs under the budget approved by Republicans in the Legislature and Brownback, also a Republican. Eight smaller SRS offices are also being targeted for closure.

Siedlecki said SRS would continue working with local officials to see about getting free office space for a much smaller SRS operation. The current office has 87 positions, and SRS officials have said those employees can be absorbed in neighboring cities.

But many at the meeting said the move out of Lawrence would prove more expensive to the state in the long run through increased crime and public safety costs.

“The welfare of our community is in peril,” said the Rev. Peter Luckey, senior pastor of Plymouth Congregational. He said even though the state faces tough economic times, the problems shouldn’t be “placed on the backs of the people who are the most vulnerable among us.”

Comments

SouthSide 3 years, 3 months ago

Are you telling me the governor didn't have the guts to attend this meeting?

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mloburgio 3 years, 3 months ago

they are not called guts, try some onions.

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grammaddy 3 years, 3 months ago

That's what we're telling you. He wasn't there but his opponent Tom Holland was.

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RiverCityConservative 3 years, 3 months ago

We don't have a governor; he's a priest. And he's brought a national agenda to solve problems that don't exist here. What a mess he's making.

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Erin Graham 3 years, 3 months ago

He's like a cult leader, with a priest robe and a politician mask. ...Don't drink the punch! ha!

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

I wonder what Flim Flam Sam makes of this teaching:

"or I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Will true Christians recognize his desecration of their values and message before he is able to achieve his goal of the Presidency?

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

True Christians will help their neighbors. They will not expect the government to do it all.
Having said that Lawrence has been very proactive in working to build collaborations among agencies and I expect this event will only make those stronger. Lawrence SRS staff will take their hard working and caring attitudes to other SRS offices and share some of the innovative ideas that Lawrence founded and put in place.

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concerned_kansan 3 years, 3 months ago

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.

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sci4all 3 years, 3 months ago

"The current office has 87 positions, and SRS officials have said those employees can be absorbed in neighboring cities."

How is any money saved by merely reshuffling employees to other parts of the state?

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

The savings is almost entirely due to not having to rent the Lawrence office spaces.

They're claiming that there's enough extra office space in existing buildings in other cities to absorb the Lawrence employees.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

That could be.

They should include those costs of course.

You could check the recently released statistics.

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jafs 3 years, 3 months ago

About $300,000 of it is from savings on rent.

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Kendall Simmons 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm wondering why on earth they still rent those stand-alone offices!

As a landlord, I love it when other people buy me real estate, but this whole issue could have been taken care of long ago had they simply bought/built property.

If they're talking saving $331,875 a year just in rent, that's $165,937.50 per Lawrence SRS building (average) or $13,828 average a month.

The main building at 1901 Delaware is appraised at $1,054,000. My math tells me, therefore, that the State could have completely paid for that building every 6 and a half years. Now THAT is dumb.

(And, yeah, I realize it's the appraised price but, in my experience, Lawrence appraisals tend to be pretty close to actual value.)

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sciencegeek 3 years, 3 months ago

Because someone working in Lawrence who is reassigned to an office in Wichita can't make the move, so quits their job. They never promised they'd be reassigned to a nearby office. One fewer employee, and without having to take the blame for the job loss.

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Kat Christian 3 years, 3 months ago

But what flim flam Sam doesn't get is these SRS employees don't make as much as he does and being sent somewhere else is putting a burden on their pocketbooks in travelling further.

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Erin Graham 3 years, 3 months ago

Is there any way to guarantee he actually sees/reads the comments from the meeting? I hope his people catch some heat from this. Flood his office with email, phone calls, organize a protest on capitol grounds.. something! I wasn't at the meeting, but hope that enough people stand up to this to change it. Take the collective passion down i70 so he can SEE who this affects and the community support. My heart aches for the people that use this office.

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Erin Graham 3 years, 3 months ago

The major expense is the building lease. (according to the PDF files linked on this article). Were the people working in this office given any notification they were on the chopping block? Any chance to look around for a building that would offer cheaper rent? Maybe there's a building somewhere that could be purchased for a reasonable price?

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Sean Livingstone 3 years, 3 months ago

They were chopped because Sam knew that these people didn't vote for him. He's trying to shift jobs to those who voted for him.

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justajoke 3 years, 3 months ago

No one knew about this until the Friday press conference. Plus it is pretty hard for the owners of the building or anyone else to get answers when the Crew won't return any phone calls. They are wanting people to quit or retire and I am sure some will. But I bet there will be layoffs too. They have already done away with 8 positions in the KC Metro Region in the last 3 weeks by firing them or forcing them to retire. Oh but don't think they didn't bring another one of there own in to replace...

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ResQd 3 years, 3 months ago

OK, I'm a little confused, so please bare with me. If the building is the issue, why doesn't the school district donate one of its closed school. Wouldn't that resolve most of the issues?

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somebodynew 3 years, 3 months ago

Well, maybe that would have happened had anyone known that was the problem. From what I am reading and hearing, no one knew about this until it was announced. Kind of tough to find options if you don't know you have to.

Of course there will be "other problems" were that to suddenly happen. Once you make a political decision like this it is hard to step back.

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christine45 3 years, 3 months ago

That is what I had said in comments about the last article! A "satellite" office, somewhere folks could come in and fill out paperwork or maybe have internet access to do so. If the workers need to be in schools to help clients they need to be close by. Commutes do not make sense. Maybe a freeze on pay raises for a while, downsize, get rid of the two big bldgs. If we have to do it in our own budgets then I think anyone can cut back, just dont get rid of it or make people suffer. It is not right to have a phone conference to let your employees know of changes. Professional or politics at their best!

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bevy 3 years, 3 months ago

You can't freeze what ain't there. State employees have not received raises for several years now - except the few positions that underwent market adjustments after being grossly underpaid for years.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

Siedlecki,from Florida and the beltway, was brought in as the hatchet man. Which does not necessarily represent fiscal responsibility. People working under Bush/Cheney were reckless not fiscal conservative.

Wall Street Bank Fraud on Consumers under Bush/Cheney http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2009/0709macewan.html

Bush and Henry Paulson blew the $700 billion of bail out money? http://www.democracynow.org/2009/9/10/good_billions_after_bad_one_year ================================================================ Social Security privatization would raise the size of the government’s deficit by another $300 billion per year for the next 20 years. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html ================================================================ This does not seem to bother Republicans, as long as they are in power.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion:

• Fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. • http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

How would the rest of the U.S. economy be affected if the private accounts replaced the current system?

Put simply, moving to a system of private accounts would not only put retirement income at risk—it would likely put the entire economy at risk. http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

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mloburgio 3 years, 3 months ago

During Bush Presidency, Current GOP Leaders Voted 19 Times To Increase Debt Limit By $4 Trillion http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/04/14/158424/republican-leaders-debt-limit-hypocrisy/

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

How Vermont Enacted Single-Payer Universal Health Care(Single Payer Insurance)

A talk by Jonathan Kissam of Vermont

Thursday, July 14, 2011, 7 pm

Lawrence Public Library Auditorium, 707 Vermont

Question & Answer Session/ Refreshments Served

Health Care is a Human Right!

Jonathan Kissam will talk about Vermont’s recently-enacted universal healthcare law, which has made Vermont the first state to move toward a single payer healthcare system. Mr. Kissam will present how the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, a grassroots movement of thousands of Vermonters, made this pioneering legislation possible.

Sponsored by Lawrence Coalition for Peace & Justice, Health Care for All Kansans, Ad Astra Institute and others. Come Join Us.

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

The overall picture does not support that statement at all. Most of the offices closed were in Republican counties. None of them want to lose those offices either. Most of the complaints are really about loss of the tx dollars coming to the community for rent,utilities, salaries etc. Very few are addressing ways to fill the gap for the clients. SRS was never intended as the end all be all for our fellow man in need.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how many Lawrence citizens will benefit from DFBI (which, of course, is the perfect acronym for this newly agency created by the "get government out of our lives" crew.) After all, we all know that faith-based initiatives are going to get more results than a worker right here in our town.

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LH3867 3 years, 3 months ago

Tanzer - do you know all the salaries? If so can you post?

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DRsmith 3 years, 3 months ago

This is great. Nothing makes me happier than reading the comments on the LJ ever since Brownback became governor. Face it, you all are finally on the wrong side and will just have to suck it up. You knew all along this is a conservative state. Don't like it? There is always California.

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lunacydetector 3 years, 3 months ago

it sounds like the srs recipients need to start looking for new digs in topeka, ottawa or kansas city. you have 6 months. i am sure that most people attending also want lawrence to be like it was in the '60's...when they were at ku, so they're subconsiously hoping you'll move away which means their support will fade away in 6 months time.

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

Nice to see what some really want to do with the poor and weak members of our society, these Easter Sunday "Christians."

"or I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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Cant_have_it_both_ways 3 years, 3 months ago

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

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scott3460 3 years, 3 months ago

"or I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

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redmoonrising 3 years, 3 months ago

So the mentally and physically disabled, along with the moochers, should go jump into the ocean so you can have a few more bucks in your paycheck? Visit Cottonwood some day and see how people who, through no choice of their own, may not be the most productive members of society but do what they can and are happy in their lives, not griping about everyone and everything. Hope you never need services and would starve, and your family with you, before you would seek help. But the money for the library, the T and bike paths I think come from property taxes and not your sacred paycheck.

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Chris Phillips 3 years, 3 months ago

...hmmm...I pay my property taxes with money from my sacred paycheck...am I doing that wrong?

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

YES. Quit paying. If ex City Commisioner Lance Johnson don't have to pay his sizeable property tax, why should you?

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getreal 3 years, 3 months ago

McGee said she read the comments of SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr., who said closing the Lawrence office was necessary for budget reasons, although, he added, it was a difficult decision. He compared it to asking a family to sacrifice a child.

So, sacrificing our children is the new Christian value? Boy I can hardly wait for the faith based initiatives!

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sci4all 3 years, 3 months ago

They're only sacrificed after birth. Before that, they're The Precious Unborn.

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John Hamm 3 years, 3 months ago

"I swear -- by my life and my love for it -- that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine." John Galt it's time this town got some new panhandlers

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." (John Rogers)

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unite2revolt 3 years, 3 months ago

Second time I have seen that quote today.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

The "elected officials": They spoke REALLY loudly as far as I am concerned. Their yelling began when they said they weren't going to say much if anything. It grew to an all out shouting match when it was said notice of the closing was discovered buried in an email. And then they started using foul political speak even suggesting they were going to lobby Brownback & Company. They're small, little people on a par with many other "leaders" in this community.

Why don't you be a tomatothrower instead of a grower?

That meeting was nothing but a waste of time. There was no planning. There was no organization. There was no leadership or concepts placed anywhere to combat what Brownback wants to do. He will continue to rest on the singular issue of the close to $400,000.00 in operating costs of the Lawrence SRS buildings that he wants cut out. If anybody thinks Siedlecki dreamt this up....oh boy oh boy.....and as for the remarks about "the legislature ordered these cuts"....where do you think their marching orders came from?

It was disgusting and at the same time amusing watching and listening to the likes of tomatogrower cry and kvetch and not organize. "Leaders" could have stepped forward and used the time in a constructive fashion instead of using the time for a collective cry. Instead, the dopes just sat around and applauded each other. And, again, I'll ask/state the obvious: Where are all the "friends of Lawrence SRS" in terms of who they do business with; outfits such as Kaw Valley; The Farm; heck...even the regressives over at CASA; the other vendors; the KU School of Social Welfare, etc., etc., etc. What a joke. Don't mourn. Organize. Yeah, I was there listening to politicians. I heard PLENTY.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

Have a Popsicle, Alceste. It's a cool and fruity treat.

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Lisa Rasor 3 years, 3 months ago

Alceste, It's never a waste of time for people to come together, share concerns and ideas, and support each other. That's what real communities do.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Ever read the story of the "Charge of the Light Brigade"? (Copied from Poems of Alfred Tennyson)

Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well Came thro' the jaws of Death Back from the mouth of Hell, All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered. Honor the charge they made, Honor the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred.

...but I've left out a key aspect of the poem. Here it is:

Not tho' the soldier knew Someone had blunder'd:

Carry on. CHARGE!

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nut_case 3 years, 3 months ago

"Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, said the comments would be compiled and delivered to Brownback and his staff to try to persuade them to change their decision."

I say Gov, you've got 600 hard core libs in Lawrence who REALLY aren't going to vote for you in the next election. Pull more stunts like this and they REALLY, REALLY won't vote for you.

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love2fish_ks 3 years, 3 months ago

This reminds me of a temper tantrum of a child. It is painful to stand on your own two feet when you have not stood in years. It is painful to become self reliant when use to self loathing and self pitty.

We have created a dependency class. This meeting of 600 is another example of Greece like behavior in the U.S.

Making someone dependent and keeping them dependent, may feel good, but is of no value to the individual.

It is not the job of government to take care of people. Self reliance. And when self reliance is not possible, then it is the duty and the responsibility of the family. Yes, the family. Not the taxpayer. Familes and society was stronger before we had these agencies and the Govt nanny is holding us down.

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Kim Murphree 3 years, 3 months ago

You remind me of someone who has never really visited those who are in need...you remind me of someone who makes judgments about those who are without money or other resources without knowing them or understanding the cause. There are so many who are striving to be self-reliant, as you put it, but are unable to do so because of the loss of a job, costs from a medical crises, disabilities-mental or physical or both, and you would judge them as a "dependency" class. I say that reasoning is largely fiction--there are some cases of abuse of the system--but most of the people who I have met that use social services would love to be able to overcome their financial obstacles. Have you walked in their shoes? I think probably NOT...so this little diatribe about self reliance resounds with ignorance of the cold hard reality faced by so many. So, in your unforgiving, unmerciful world, we should just let people starve? Shall we bring them to the street in front of your home so that you can watch them plead for mercy and then die? Or maybe they can live in front of your house on the street, and sleep in the cold? Or perhaps those in wheel chairs could come and sit in your warm cozy parlor as long as they agree to do your dishes? This isn't about self reliance. We, as a society, are at a turning point. Either we share the burden, rich and poor, alike, or we will become divided and finally defeated by our own greed. It IS the job of a moral government to take care of people---other agencies do not have the capacity or infrastructure to deliver all the services needed--that time is PAST...LONG PAST. And what good does it do to shout for the families to take over when the families have less and less? Please stop touting rhetoric that has no basis in fact, and will eventually lead to more suffering and heartache in our community. Greed and selfishness are NOT part of Christ's teachings.

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love2fish_ks 3 years, 3 months ago

Nah, I know nothin about being poor, struggling, and dependency. I'm one of 14 kids (some siblings some cousins) raised in a 2 bedroom house. Nah, I haven't seen how the gov't holds people down through entitlements. And I know absolutely nothing about puttng myself through college and graduate school by working - not government loans and grants.

It is time, it is past time, the time is now for all of God's children (Yes I am a Christian and Praise the Lord Jesus I am) to come together and fight the government. NOT fight for more government. But fight for the government to stop enslaving people. Folks aren't gonna starve. We heard it all before back in 94 when the Fed's did welfare reform. The sky was gonna fall. The only thing that fell was dependency. Some of my sisters got off her lazy backside and went to work. They taught her kids by actions to work. Today, we are stronger because the nanny state was cut off.

It's gonna hurt and be uncomfortable but it is the role of the family and the church. Not some collective social group called taxpayers.

I'm far from uncaring. I care a whole bunch. I want people to stand up, not for the governmetn to hold em down. .

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irvan moore 3 years, 3 months ago

it's interesting that we have a carpetbagger as head of SRS who is suddenly an expert on what Kansas needs.

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bd 3 years, 3 months ago

Someone call a WWAAAAAAAAABBUUUULLAAAANNCCE!

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Centerville 3 years, 3 months ago

What a difference 40 years makes. Now we're wailing and gnashing and being 'dismayed' that a bloated, intrusive know-it-all government department is going to leave.

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Cait McKnelly 3 years, 3 months ago

Brownback and Siedlecki have ignored the reaction to this ever since it was announced. They refused to attend any of the meetings (to which they were invited) or even send a representative to do nothing but take notes. Their steadfast refusal to even acknowledge that their is protest over this is a type of hubris I don't think I have ever seen before. Other parts of Kansas aren't taking notice of this and could care less. But it's a type of mentality along the lines of "First they came for...and I did nothing." that just may, in the end, turn around and bite them in the backside.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

cait48 says "Their steadfast refusal to even acknowledge that their is protest over this is a type of hubris I don't think I have ever seen before."

You haven't been involved in too many.....if any.....political like things, have you? This kind of silliness is a cake walk AND you're letting your very own "local elected villages" get away with doing nothing! Rich!

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Richard Payton 3 years, 3 months ago

Sam Brownback just proved he doesn't care about the people that have more needs than him. I can only hope he is a one and done governor of Kansas. Many folks mention that Lawrence's rent is high at the SRS office. Overland Park has a lower case load and I assume the same rent as Lawrence? Ottawa, Leavenworth SRS offices handle more than Lawrence SRS office? I would hope that our children that need help receive more support not less.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

Overland Park does not have a lower case load. They have over 3 times as many cases as Lawrence and only twice as many staff, making their case load 1.5:1 ratio to Lawrence's. Rent is also less at the OP office. The Levenworth office probably also serves more people from Jefferson County than Douglas does.

Before you complain about travel for the people of Lawrence needing services, please look at the locations of offices in western Kansas. Where is your outrage for the citizens in western Kansas that have to travel much farther than what would be asked of Lawrence citizens?

http://www.srs.ks.gov/Pages/FindSRSLocations.aspx

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

I know the pop. densities. I grew up there. Nice compassion from you, the same compassion being shown to Lawrence from Brownback and his administration right now. I never said I want the Lawrence office to close. Again, you are so worried about people in Lawrence having to travel, but seems no worry about people that are in the same or maybe even worse situations in other parts of the state having to travel. Hipocracy? Why does it matter how many people in western Kansas have to travel?

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

So when we, the citizens of Lawrence, are currently more concerned about the sudden removal of our existing SRS office than we are about adding additional resources out in western KS, you call that hypocrisy?

sorry, but that's not hypocrisy.

In fact, I'm quite certain that most of the people I saw at the meeting last night would advocate for more resources out in Western KS. But that's not our primary concern at this point.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

There used to be an SRS office in every county. There was no uproar here when offices in other parts of the state were closed. I am not calling everyone a hypocrit. Just his statement: "you'd probably realize that the number required to travel from the closing of the Lawrence office is probably about the same as the number required to travel in 40 western Kansas counties combined"

I was trying to point out to him that just about everything that he posted was false. The rent for OP is cheaper and they have a higher case load. He is worried about travel, but he shows no concern for anyone who has to travel even farther.

I work for Cottonwood. I know the situations that people who need services are in, especially ones with disabilities. I know the effects that the closure will have. Again, I do not agree with the decision to close the Lawrence office.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

overland park having a lower case load and the same rent as lawrence. I addressed those in the first post after yours.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

sorry, that was not you, but rtpayton.

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

so..... because out in western KS, where population is about 1/100th the density of what it is in Lawrence.... because there is about 1/100th the number of people served..... because there is about 1/100th the amount of resources....

.... it makes sense that the state should get rid of the Lawrence office....

.... because out in Western Kansas, they have to drive farther.

Impeccable logic.... simply airtight.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

That's not what I was saying at all. Please read my post above. But here is what I am saying, Because the population is not as high and not as many people are served, they don't deserve services?

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

Sorry, didn't finish this thought. What I am saying is that it could be much worse. The situations of people here in Lawrence may not be as bad as others that have to travel much farther to get to an office.

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

The outcry in Lawrence would bear more weight with me if they were concerned about all Kansans. I don't hear any of them coming up with ideas how to fund reopening offices long ago closed in rural areas. Those closings also created more travel for people needing services and all the same issues that Lawrence will eventually learn to deal with just like so many before them. Lawrence is a community of privilege but they will adapt in the end. They will use their collaborative skills to come up with a solution once they get through the grieving process of this loss.

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xclusive85 3 years, 3 months ago

Exactly what I was trying to say, but in a much better way.

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Alexander Smith 3 years, 3 months ago

This is sad to see happen. There is no reason to be doing this because there is too many cases here. It is one thing to save money but our "GREAT" republican Governer sees just the dollar value and not the human value. If he wants to save money, how about we start streamlining the budget for contractors that overcharge and abuse the business with the state. Better yet, get a real manager to handle city repairs. Since when does it take 5 to 8 city workers to stand around and watch a trench being made?? This is were we are losing money. Also, get rid of the stupid unions. These have to be some of the laziest people and abuse of funds that exist in our economy today. They won't lift a finger unless its in their contract.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh My Word.....now we're hating on Unions!! A good number of those SRS workers are Union members: KOSE http://www.koseunion.org/ The Kansas Organization of State Employees . And if more (strike that.......insert the word ALL) of them were members, this manner of non-sense would never have even been thought of because in Union states, before the state can simply shut down a big a** office, the Union must participate. Get real.

The only people with decent unions around here are the police and firefighters, however. Well, I suppose the teachers have learned a thing or two over the years.

Why don't you find out how much money B. Wayne Sims and Kaw Valley are paid by the state of Kansas and SRS to run and control foster care? Get angry about something big, 'kay? I'm really worried about you. Lay off the cough syrup, 'k?

Iron mouse indeed.....hahahahahahahahahhaa......

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

You are so right Alceste...all this outrage but little where it should be placed. Not only do CEO Sims and his KVC management crew all make over the top salaries and other compensation but they used Kansas money to build agencies in other states. They did this because they did not want all their "eggs in one basket". If one state figures them out and pulls a contract they can keep drawing their 6 figure salaries from another state. B Wayne does not care about kids. No one should be fooled. He has a big ego not a big heart. Previous SRS administration did not manage the foster care contracts well. Hope for change.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

In fact, 4accountability, B. Wayne had one his own put into THE top child welfare slot within Brownback's SRS:

Gina Meier-Hummel went straight from heading up B. Wayne's Kansas Foster Care bank account to the directorship of Foster Care for ALL of Kansas SRS. Funny how things work out. Not.

"A national survey shows reimbursement rates for foster parents in Kansas do not meet the minimum adequate requirements necessary to raise a foster child.

"To meet minimum standards, Kansas and ten other states would have to increase payments 26 to 50 percent."

We can't have that for our over 2000 children in foster care. If we did B. Wayne and crew would have to buy that new car every 6 months instead of every three......tsk, tsk.

http://www.ktka.com/news/2007/oct/17/foster_parents_kansas_do_it_kids_not_money/

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

Or pehaps SRS hired from within for another reason. Who better to be able to hold the contractors accountable to helping kids instead of taking all for new cars and other fun than someone who worked for them? Time will tell.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Time will tell that Kaw Valley's contracts shall expand, along with B. Wayne's salary, and when the time comes, he'll take Gina Meier-Hummel right back.

I understand, I believe what you post when you write "from within".....but actually since she didn't work for the state, she's being hired from the outside. Gina Meier-Hummel was instrumental in keeping the foster board rate LOW and an aspect of why and how SRS goes out of it's way to NOT pay said foster board rate to qualifying relatives, despite the mandates from HHS and federal code. Because Kaw Valley does the foster parent training, they control how and if a family can afford to take that relative child and help keep some semblance of family with the money to properly rear that child or be compelled to take the vastly reduced TANF payment instead; or force the child into a mindless, abberant, un-caring, nasty thing called foster care drift. Too, the kinship care program is aimed specifically, I do believe at grandparents. I forget.

Anyway....Gina Meier-Hummel ain't no shining star in the world of Public Welfare. She's another bobbing head bean counter for Brownback to control. While you and I share different viewpoints on most of this fiasco, we're very alike in the concept of accountability. People gonna be accounting in the years ahead. Region VII of ACF is already on alert. ( http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/region7/ ) Mark my written words.....

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

Last I knew each contractor had its own policy with regard to paying relatives and they paid different amounts. SRS was always structured so that relatives could receive the same rate as a foster family. The agencies used kin placement to make a larger percentage of profit (YES profit) on those children. I confronted KVC and TFI several years ago in a public meeting and they indicated they would have to renegotiate contracts at higher rates if they paid relatives the same amount. I do think some of that has evolved but my point is that the contractors are by far the main money suckers in this all...far more than SRS has ever been.

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

My experience is that B Wayne likes to brag about stealing employees away from SRS not having a competent one taken from him. Gina is pretty sharp...we will see.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

I would like for you to be right and for me to be incorrect. However, the payoff for Brownback as well as for B. Wayne is pretty intense. I have some time at the moment. Let me see if I can find out if Mr. Simms contributed to Brownback's campaign. I suspect I won't find much because if he did (and I'll place money that he did) he did so via the usual sneaky ways one does such things in order to avoid a record of it taking place....cash money or some go between.

Wait.....you seem to be on a first name basis with that woman....ask her....or....maybe she purchased the seat she now occupies? Oh boy....this getting curiouser and curiouser.....

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

Only time will tell. I don't remember any of the fancy rooms at the KVC Corporate Offices being named after Brownback. Only Roberts, Dole and Kassabaum I think! :)

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

By Doug Orr

The opponents of Social Security will stop at nothing in their long crusade to destroy the most efficient retirement system in the world. Opponents have taken two tracks to attack Social Security.

The first is to claim the system as it is will fail, and the second is to claim that privatization is a better way to provide for retirement security. The first claim was the favorite from 1935 to about 2001.Then the privatization claim became the vogue. Now the first is back on the table.

With corporations routinely defaulting on their pension promises, more and more workers must rely on their individual wealth to make up the difference. The stock market collapse at the turn of the millennium wiped out much of the financial wealth of middle class Americans, and the collapse of the housing bubble has wiped out much of their remaining wealth.

Making any cuts to Social Security now, either by raising the retirement age or cutting benefits, would have a huge impact on their remaining retirement income and are not necessary to “save the system.” In fact, to make the most of the modifications currently being proposed by Obama's commission would be the height of folly.

More info not rhetoric: http://www.dollarsandsense.org/archives/2010/0111orr.html

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

yes, SRS exists as a cash cow for social worker fat cats.

Or!... Or!....

you're a complete tool.

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Richard Heckler 3 years, 3 months ago

It's not that there is no money for SRS in Lawrence or elsewhere. Where is the hard evidence? Is this new admin telling the truth?

It is more that this group of thinkers don't want to spend OUR tax dollars this way. WHY?

What are they doing with OUR tax dollars that are no longer supporting SRS?

Where is the money going? Why aren't these big government thinkers giving OUR tax dollars back to US?

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monarchs20 3 years, 3 months ago

This isn't about money, when we passed the budget there was a big argument between the house and the senate over how much we should leave in the bank. The senate wanted something like 10 million the house something like 70 million. They compromised on 80 million. I have no idea either, we have idiots in our legislature but I digress. After that we got the first quarter revenue numbers and the state came in almost $50 million over projections. We have plenty of money to rent a building in Lawrence.

Rob Sidlecki moved across the country away from his kids and divorced wife, twice. This is the man who thinks the problem with poverty is women caring for children on their own. Ask his two kids and ex-wife about that.

No, the reason why this was closed down is clear, it is clear beyond any reasonable doubt. It isn't that the 4th largest population in the state doesn't need services, it isn't that we can't afford rent, it isn't even that this administration is hostile to poor or disable people. The reason this office closed is because Douglas county votes for Democrats. Expect more of the same naked partisanship in redistricting.

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Kat Christian 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't think Brownback understands what being poor and disabled is. He's probably never had to struggle for the basic things in life. He's probably had someone there to pick up the slack for him one way or another. Yes, I'm sure he's worked hard to get where he is, with help I'm sure. So he and other's like him do not know what struggle really is. This is why it is so easy for him to take away from the most needy. And he calls himself a Christian? I question that in him and will say so to his face. I don't think this man really knows and understands who Jesus is. There's a difference of knowing the Bible vs knowing Jesus. Politicians to my estimation are far removed from that reality, because their agenda is about them - not the people. Or maybe just a select few people the ones that fit into their clique. Brownbackmust think everyone owns a car because it is 2011. He must think everyone has an income, because I think he must think anyone can be hired to any job. Think again dude - its called profiling and if you don't fit in you don't get hired no matter how good a worker you can be. And everyone has access to computers or knows them. Have news for you there are still so many people who do not understand how computers operate and some are just not able to grasp the concept. Not that they are stupid either. Closing this office is a disaster waiting to happen. Perhaps that is what he is waiting for - he must be bored with himself and his career. Perhaps he thinks he can save us after the chaos begins from this closing so we'd think he's our savior. I just don't know how to rationale this any other way.

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deec 3 years, 3 months ago

1995-2010, $48,852. There are 18 listings for people with the last name Brownback, mostly concentrated in Parker and Mound City. If the Parker branch is Sam's folks, they're raking it in. http://farm.ewg.org/addrsearch.php?s=yup&stab=KS&city=&zip=&last=Brownback&first=&stab=KS&i=Search+Recipients&fullname=&stab2=AL

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Kyle Chandler 3 years, 3 months ago

This is so awesome! I cant wait to get my free Kansas State Nazi Club card in the mail. If there is still a mail system left to deliver it. I mean gosh, do we really need mail here....we can all just walk to topeka or overland park right?

The people that support the eradication of social services have been drinking that delightful hardline conservative kool-aid. Pick yourself up by the boot straps, and that means YOU - guy in the wheelchair with NO family and YOU TOO Mentally Disabled person left on a doorstep.

Oh i guess there is one discrepancy, the nazis just executed all the Old, Disabled, and Needy with gunshots to the back of the head.....Brownback and the rest of his supporting crew of wannabe swastika monkeys would rather them all die nice and slow.

Good job people, oh im sorry HEIL ADOLPH BROWNBACK

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Best you mind your P's and Q's kylechandler. Opus Dei, of which many believe Brownback to be a member of, don't mess around. It is rumored Opus Dei has been known to send assasins in the dead of night to do the Lord's work.

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Centerville 3 years, 3 months ago

"I don't think Brownback understands what being poor and disabled is. He's probably never had to struggle for the basic things in life." Talk about breathtaking ignorance...talk about living in the KDP/Rothschild bubble. If you had some curiosity, you might learn some very interesting things.

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 3 months ago

Really. Prove it. PS - you can't.

Conservatives have major issues with the truth. They do like to talk, though.

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StirrrThePot 3 years, 3 months ago

Take the hint, Lawrence. First, Anthony Brown proclaims that Lawrence and Douglas County are to liberal and we must be forced to change, now the SRS office will be closed.

Join the Brownbackenfurher's Gestapo or DIE!!

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 3 months ago

I wrote a letter to Brownback this morning. I accidentally posted it in the "blog" from the meeting last night. I tried to post it here, but it was deleted. I assume because I had already posted it. However it is still on the "blog" article. I encourage those of you who are expressing support for this action to read it. I think it says a lot about what the closing of the SRS here in Lawrence would do to the entire community.

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verity 3 years, 3 months ago

A question:

Those of you saying that we, the people, rather than the government should be taking care of the needs of those among us who need help.

Are we not the government? At least, I thought we were supposed to be, although that's rather questionable these days since so much money is involved in buying politicians.

Yes, among communities like the Amish, the community can take care of it's own. However, most of us don't chose to live in that kind of situation. There has to be some sort of overall plan and organizations to back that up.

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4accountability 3 years, 3 months ago

Someone smarter than I pointed out the core function of SRS in state legislation- "39-701. Purposes of act. It is hereby declared the purpose and policy of the state in supervising the directing of the welfare work therein, to provide an effective uniform system of welfare work for the state; to promote efficiency in the work; and to comply with the conditions provided for obtaining federal grants for welfare work as set forth in federal laws and federal rules and regulations. It is not the policy of the state to discourage or interfere with the universally recognized moral obligations of kindred to provide, when possible, for the support of dependent relatives, but rather it is the policy of the state to assist the needy and where necessary, the relatives in providing the necessary assistance for dependents."

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Your "letter"....which may be viewed here: http://www2.ljworld.com/photos/galleries/2011/jul/11/lawrence-srs-public-forum/#c1683967 does not offer one single, solitary, cogent suggestion as to the $400grand Brownback & Company want to save. One can almost see the salt stains from tears on the missive, but all it's going to do is make the recipient laugh. Sorry....but that's the way things work in Kansas. Don't mourn: Organize.

While you're at it, please ask those "spokes" as you describe them....you know: CASA, Kaw Valley, .....this "....network of agencies ....." you refer to why they're not stepping forward to prevent this closure? Where was DCCCA last night? Ok, Bert Nash had a person there....but that person didn't come across as very indignant about the closure (how much money does Bert Nash get from SRS each year, by the way? Do you know? Perhaps that dollar figure has something to do with the most pregnant silence from that quack operation??).....

larrytowngirl: You conclude your letter with "Please open your heart and mind to the Lawrence community and allow for further investigation into truly useful resolutions to this situation." You understand, right, who you're appealing to? You understand that as far as he and his are concerned they did their "....further investigation into truly useful resolutions....."? It's YOUR turn to come up with the "useful resolutions". Well, yours and these "spokes" you've referred to. My money says them spokes are more interested in #1 than they are children or the poor and working poor.

This proposed closure can be very useful to Lawrence: It will demonstrate, or prove otherwise, just how well people and these "agencies" stick together. So far, Brownback & Co. seem to have been very successful in seperating the wheat from the chaff. Brownback's really good at that wheat stuff....

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 3 months ago

The letter DID offer at least one solution. It seems to me that according to the $ #'s that the administration DID release (hooey!).. the primary expenditure is in rental of the building at the current location. It has been suggested, and I mentioned it in my letter, that Tanger Mall or a closed school would likely be good considerations for another location that would be much more cost efficient. The current rent is over $330,000 a year, which I do agree is irresponsible and, frankly, just plain idiotic! I'm not sure how you missed that part. The problem with trying to come up with other viable options is difficult due to the fact that the numbers provided are limited, and nobody from SRS or those who voted for this move have come forward for any of the discussions. As for asking where was CASA, DCCCA and others were not there, I'm not sure if YOU were, but I was, and I do know that a representative of CASA did speak and as for the others, there were so many people wanting to voice concerns that I'm sure many of the directors of these agencies were there but never got the opportunity to speak because time ran out. There was only 1 1/2 hours to work with, at 2 mins per comment. There were MANY people left with their hands still in the air. Also, I do realize who I'm appealing to. Perhaps it IS futile, but it's better to stand up, voice my concerns and try to make at least a little difference that to sit and complain and do nothing. I do hope that the "spokes" will speak up, and many already have. I do not want these issues to be swept under the "wheat"..that is what this administration hopes for. I have a feeling, and I hope and PRAY I'm correct, this is only the beginning! I somewhat agree about the spokes being interested in their own self-preservation, however, I believe that, for the most part, their motives are in the right place. I also feel that if nothing else good comes out of this, it will be that this community WILL (and has) come together, regardless of the heartless, and as one man said last night, "mean" politics and policies!

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

"I have a feeling, and I hope and PRAY I'm correct, this is only the beginning!" writes poster larrytowngirl.....

It does appear that both of us are seeing a beginning. My vision of the future, which is generally spot on correct, is far darker than yours. Take off the rose colored glasses which are standard issue and fare here in Lawrence: Brownback & Company are going to make certain that during the next four years, Kansas shall become an even more Talibanesque charade of a state than it already is. It's already started, if you hadn't noticed. (Did you trouble yourself to monitor Brownback whilst the dear lad was in Washington....a U.S. Senator no less? Did you stop to notice how he voted in our U.S. Senate on one social program after another?). His importation of Right Wing zealots...and that rabble shall continue to straggle in as people throw in the towell and holler "What's the use?!!"......underscores his intentions for this state. And, GUESS WHAT? That's how the majority in this state want it!!

Read on the SRS website the joy and adulation his puppet is receiving: http://www.srs.ks.gov/News/Pages/6_23_2011.aspx I rather suspect that is how the majority within SRS think and, more importantly (sadly) FEEL: quoting a running dog supervisor in Salina from the article: “There’s a level of professionalism coming from the Secretary and his staff, it’s like there’s a different attitude,” said Linda Everhart, Supervisor for Elderly and Disabled for Salina and Concordia." Salina ain't that far west as far as west goes in this state. Keep going west and find out what them peoples bees thinking about the Brave New World being created by Brownback vis-a-vis SRS and other social service programs. Have you been using your fine internet connection to read how he and this guy from Florida are being received in the rest of the state???? Guess what? THEY LIKE BOTH OF THESE BOYS!

Understand, further, the emphasis is going to be on chasing down $150.00 FRAUD recipients (overpayment is the federal term.....FRAUD is the Kansas term) rather than in processing applications. Note, again from the same newsspeak:

"She said employees were also very receptive to Siedlecki’s anti-fraud priorities. The agency is in the midst of hiring an anti-fraud director that will coordinate those efforts in an attempt to cut back on abuse agency wide. [Another imort from Florida or, at the very least, a hard core, Right Wing, card carrying member of Opus Dei, the John Birch Society, et. all.]

“We sometimes see it, but there’s nothing we can do about it. We suspect it but we don’t have the means to do anything about it,” Everhart said. “We’re hopeful that when we get the additional fraud staff we can have a different attitude, where people don’t come in and just expect us to give.” (Cont.):

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LH3867 3 years, 3 months ago

what is posted on the srs website is a lie. Guess who wrote it? He is not the first Secretary to go to Salina but he is the first one to go and lie his ass off. I'm not sure about the employee quoted but I assure you it does not represent the voice of srs employees these days. most are looking for other work. Now let's get some of the real employee quotes on the srs website.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Otay, buckwheat.....but are you speaking about KC Metro staff or ALL SRS staff.....them west Kansas people....well....they're different.....even the Topeka area office is filled to the brim with "Let's go get 'em" with respect to $25.00 overpayments. As you evidently know, it's just easier to paperwork process them overpayments in the computer than it is to actually work an application.....

So....do you speak for the West sector of the state?

In our family that standing joke about Kansas (and I'm 5th generation) has always been from Granddaddy: "Son, anything WEST of 59 is a DIFFERENT country."

"You mean a different state, Granddaddy?"

"NO. A DIFFERENT COUNTRY. Once you're grown, you'll understand. Go bother your father, now."

He was right.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

Cont.:

This Everhart person personifies what the NEW SRS is going to be all about. Get used to it, or, as you travel west.....pass the state line and see if Colorado ain't a tad bit more friendly......Salida's pretty nice.....

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't refute all that you say..but YES, I have been labeled the "eternal optimist." lol But I would rather live with optimism than pessimism. It's just a more comfortable state of peace for myself. I don't deny that things look worse than grim where politics for our state and nation as a whole have gone... on both sides of the isle. I am a Christian Democrat however, Christian first of course, and that seems to make my life much more fulfilling, rather than thinking that the evil will win, my faith tells me, and has often shown me, that will not be the case in the end. Maybe that mean "end times", but either way, in the meantime I will stand and hope and pray for what is GOOD and the God in people!

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 3 months ago

oh.. and I don't plan to desert this community at a time when perhaps I can make a, if ever so small, difference in it. Home is where the heart is and Lawrence is my heart! ~~always has been, always will be, until my last breath.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 3 years, 3 months ago

one more thing.. the lady for the elderly in Salina was obviously hoodwinked by the wolf in sheep's clothing that Seidlecki is!!

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

To quote Prof Turgesson response to Mr. Helper: "Good answer. Good answer. I like the way you think. I'm going to be watching you." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8bfgrj_62-Y

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gudpoynt 3 years, 3 months ago

According to this document (http://bit.ly/nC7IST) Siedlecki's email address is:

Robert.Siedlecki@srs.ks.govp>Robert.Siedlecki@srs.ks.gov>

I'm sure he'd be interested in hearing from some of us.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

You lack lust, you're so lackluster Is that all the strength you can muster?

Possession

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dadt 3 years, 3 months ago

People, people, people, you just don't understand. All these folks on SRS assistance just need to pray harder.

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notanota 3 years, 3 months ago

Have you ever actually tried taking the JO to Johnson County's SRS? I just googled it, and you'd need to transfer at the college AND walk for 24 minutes.

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Alceste 3 years, 3 months ago

“We are really focusing on the idea of universal access – of being able to serve our customers in non traditional ways. In many instances, customers can contact their caseworkers online or by phone to apply for or manage services,” said SRS Secretary Don Jordan. “The physical location of an office does not hinder our ability to provide services.”

Read that last sentence several times. Read it and weep. http://www.srs.ks.gov/News/Pages/4132010.aspx

("The decision to close the offices was made as part of ongoing efforts to provide services and supports to Kansans in need through the most efficient and cost effective means. The Wamego and Abilene locations were chosen for closure due to small caseload sizes, close proximity to other SRS offices, and the increased ability to provide services outside of the traditional office setting.") Man.....it's dejavualloveragain........only in Lawrence now? Can't be.

I don't recall anyone in Lawrence troubling themselves over those 2010 closings. Too, it reads like the current SRS secretary is only moving forward with what some other clown started? I'm confused. Not......

It's just business as usual here in Kansas. Back to you, Chet. shrug

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