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Archive for Thursday, July 14, 2011

Statehouse Live: Lease agreement for SRS office has conditions

July 14, 2011, 11:37 a.m. Updated July 14, 2011, 5:50 p.m.

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— Supporters of keeping open the Lawrence office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services said Thursday the building’s lease with the state may help their efforts.

A provision in the lease between SRS and Lawrence developer and property owner Duane Schwada’s Venture Realty Corp. for two buildings at 19th and Delaware streets, states that SRS “shall use its best efforts to obtain annual appropriations to satisfy its obligations under this lease.”

Related document

Lease agreement for SRS office ( .PDF )

Related document

SRS office lease amendment ( .PDF )

“I think this puts an affirmative obligation on them (SRS) to provide for the money in their budget,” said House Minority Leader Paul Davis, D-Lawrence.

Local leaders are searching for ways to reverse the decision by SRS Secretary Robert Siedlecki Jr. to close the Lawrence office.

Siedlecki has said that the state budget approved by the Legislature and Gov. Sam Brownback calls for $42 million in cuts to SRS, including $1 million in administrative expenses.

On July 1, Siedlecki announced his intention to shut down nine offices, including the one in Lawrence, which serves thousands of people and employs 87. The Lawrence office was, by far, the largest on the closure list.

Community meetings on the issue have drawn hundreds of people, and more events are scheduled, including a rally at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at South Park.

Siedlecki has said closing the Lawrence office will save the state $413,385, which includes $331,875 in rent. He and Brownback have said that people utilizing SRS in Lawrence can travel to nearby cities, such as Topeka, Overland Park and Ottawa, or use the Internet. Social service advocates and law enforcement officials have said that is not realistic and the closure will disrupt assistance for many vulnerable citizens.

In a meeting with reporters on Monday, Siedlecki and his top staff said they were confident they would be able to terminate the lease for the Lawrence SRS office. They said they want to work with local leaders to see if there is a possibility for free office space for a small number of SRS employees.

“We want to make sure it is an orderly process,” Siedlecki said.

The full lease provision cited by Davis states: “Lessee (SRS, in this case) shall include in its annual administrative services budget the funds necessary for Lessee's obligations under this Lease, and shall use its best efforts to obtain annual appropriations to satisfy its obligations under this Lease.”

Davis said SRS has discretionary spending that could, and should, be allocated to fulfilling its contracts, including this one.

Another provision that was added to the lease in December 2008 states: “Subject to termination for fiscal necessity, four years of occupancy are guaranteed. The Lessee may terminate this lease upon the giving of 180 days notice in writing to the Lessor, after the end of the four year guaranteed lease period.”Opponents of the Lawrence closure say it will disrupt critical services for many vulnerable residents.

In a meeting on Monday with reporters and editors of the Journal-World, Siedlecki and his staff indicated they would be able to terminate the lease for the Lawrence SRS office.

Comments

lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

sebelius closed 62 s.r.s. offices....how many of those had their leases challenged by the landlord with the same canned language?

isn't paul davis an attorney?

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 9 months ago

Would all the Whine and Cheese crowd rallying around SRS put as much work forward to save jobs of employees at Target, if it shut down, if Walmart shut down, if Amaar or Vangent shut down? Probably not!

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Alceste 2 years, 9 months ago

larrytowngirl:

Please, get a life and realize the closure thus far is a done deal. If Lawrence can present Brownback & Company with a site or sites...all covering expenses such that the 400 large is all contained, so be it. The deal is, it can't be done. Contracts in this state mean nothing. Too the single line which negates the contract has been posted a couple of times by other people. Accept failure. It is the only option. It is occurring because the people of Lawrence have been arrogant and exclusive: NOT caring about other parts of this, sadly, hillbilly laden state. It is what it is......

Squirming around legal speak is going to get people nowhere. We're in Kansas and we it like it like that....especially when it relates to contracts with the state. It is what it is.

It does seem and appear that this entire saga is a very useful lesson for those that have been sleeping at the wheel and wearing them standard issue Lawrence rose colored glasses. WAKE UP!

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Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 9 months ago

Dec. 2008 to Dec 2012 is 4 years..plus 6 months (180 days) more makes it June 2013! RIGHT??? Doesn't seem that hard to figure out! As for the legal defense to terminate the lease, well that could be another story.. but I would say there is definitely a very strong leg to stand on here to defend the closing of this office. ~~I would add, that I think ever having agreed to pay that much $ for rent on those buildings in the first place was irresponsible at best, but if this lease gives some power in defense of closing the office for at least another year and 1/2. That would allow plenty of time for the Lawrence community and its leaders can come up with more viable options and be able to keep the office in Lawrence.

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LadyJ 2 years, 9 months ago

Don't know if anybody has posted this, but it is the link for the Save our SRS online petition

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/saveoursrs/

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bill_priff 2 years, 9 months ago

I'd say this all boils down to the meaning of "failure of the legislature to appropriate funds specifically budgeted for this lease" found in section 9 of the original lease. This is form language found in all Department of Administration leases.

I think it is going to be hard for SRS to make the case that the legislature failed to appropriate funds SPECIFICALLY budgeted for the Lawrence lease. The Secretary of SRS is choosing how to allocate the funds that the legislature has appropriated. The only case I could find (in a quick and dirty search) concerned a situation where the legislature did specifically fail to appropriate funds for a lease.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Bob Corkins would be the one providing the Secretary with legal advice. Surely he has some justification for believing that they can break the lease w/o any repercussions.

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Alceste 2 years, 9 months ago

Davis is grasping at straws and merely posing. He knows what time it is: He been being lazy representing the needs of Lawrence in Topeka. Try getting this professionally paid politician to present such an argument on a more individualized matter: He will plead ignorance; turn the voter over to a minion; and forget about you.

Meanwhile, Paul Davis will be making certain he gets PAID via KPERS for all the "work" he has done over the ever so many years of "service" he has given the "people" of Lawrence:

Here is the retirement package Davis signed up for....all by his little self......almost ten years back:

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

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

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

•$7,083 non-session allowance.

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

The Senate president and House speaker are at the top of the pay scale, and annualized pay for those posts could be as high as $99,859.74, depending on their enrollment choices. As House Minority leader, I'm pretty sure Davis gets more than the "regular" Kansas Legislature political hack. Somebody correct Alceste if Alceste is incorrect.

Greed? 372 day year? Right....uh huh......good one..... One has to wonder if Davis figures his own personal finances from them fancy law offices he works at on a similar calendar!

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Godot 2 years, 9 months ago

Too bad the school district gifted the East Heights building to Boys & Girls; otherwise they could have offered it, rent free, to the SRS.

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heygary 2 years, 9 months ago

In the year 1787, Alexander Tyler (a Scottish history professor at The University of Edinborough) used an analogy to describe "The Fall of The Athenian Republic" some 2,000 years prior: “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

From my vantage point, Mr. Tyler’s observation has been unsettlingly predictive of the path of our own experiment in Democracy.

In my youth I studied, with gratitude and reverence, the “bondage to liberty” sequence associated with the birth of our country. I believe I have lived through the “abundance to apathy” sequence. Now, as I watch the current Administration attempt to spend its way out of a recession, push forward massive bail out and entitlement programs, and socio-engineer Government intrusion/involvement in to most aspects of our lives, I cannot help but feel that the road to “dependence” has been charted.

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Electrical8Eel 2 years, 9 months ago

I forgot to mention... the ceremony for the 804 structure begins about 10 a.m.

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Electrical8Eel 2 years, 9 months ago

When Bill Graves was governor, he purchased the old Security Benefit building; Security Benefit moved into a new building. Then, Graves purchased a new fleet of Chevrolets. And I'm not sure whether he or Kathleen Sebelius was responsible for repairs to the tunnel connecting the Robert Docking State Office Building to the statehouse. I do know repairs were needed, but to add furniture and places to congregate... was just plain ridiculous and a waste of tax payers money. Renovations are still ongoing at the capital. I'm sure Brownback is trying to fill up space that's going to waste in such a large building as the old Security Benefit bldg. Before Graves bought the building, state offices were scattered all the way out to Forbes, south of town. I remember wondering how much money the state saved before that major purchase, or should I say purchases (new cars). And still we pay for governors' inappropriate decisions.... and Brownback is just following the cycle and digging it deeper. It makes no sense to close the Lawrence SRS. There is no excuse.

I understand Brownback will be in town tomorrow for Studio 804's new building. If you go, please remember to respect the hard work and labor these graduates have put into the project over on Bob Billings (old 15th Street across from Meadowbrook Apts). They have had to endure an instructor who pits students against each other. Several students had to quit because they aren't allowed to work while working on an 804 project (this includes the fall semester). And their names have been removed from receiving credit for the project even though they worked beyond graduation back in May. And I doubt the Mexicans who helped with the masonry for $20/hr will be mentioned either. So if you go there to see Brownback, give loyalty to those who've earned it first. From there Brownback should understand how Douglas County truly feels. And citizens have a right to express how they feel. Or has that freedom been taken from us, too.

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bd 2 years, 9 months ago

where is a WAAAMMMBBUULLAAAAAANNCCCEE when you need one???

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lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

there isn't going to be any lawsuit. there is nothing there in regards to the lease unless you live in a fantasy world.

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 9 months ago

What makes everyone think the state will honor its lease agreement? We haven't seen a whole lot of due process from this group.

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justajoke 2 years, 9 months ago

I am so glad Schwada provided a copy of this. It just gives more proof that this isn't about money. It is just a political bunch of crap. But they still say the office is closing so the State will just continue to waste money are needless thing. How much can Brownback waste in a year??? This is the worst administration I have seen in many many years..

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LHS56 2 years, 9 months ago

If the amendment does state...for fiscal necesssity.....then the State can terminate the lease. Lord (ooopss....sorry Browie) knows Kansas has a fiscal problem.

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none2 2 years, 9 months ago

OK, I don't think I'm quite following this after reading the PDF's. From what I read, they WILL have to pay the landlord through Dec 2012. Meaning that there is absolutely NO savings on rent to close this prior to that date. Of course, it all depends on the legal definition of the sentence:

"Subject to termination for fiscal necessity, four (4) years of occupancy are guaranteed."

Is this fiscally necessary, or it is THEIR choice on how to cut the SRS?

I would also like to know the square footage charges on other properties. Is $11.25 per square foot a typical charge for office space compared to other areas in Lawrence, and compared to other counties such as Johnson, Wyndotte, Leavenworth, Franklin, Shawnee, Sedgwick?

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thinkagain 2 years, 9 months ago

I think this will show what Schwada is made of, a true businessman. He will enforce the lease as he usually does. The new SRS Director may not understand that Lawrence, while home to the majority of the States Democrats, it is also the home to many businessmen and great entrepreneurs.

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ku_tailg8 2 years, 9 months ago

Lawrence shouldn't have to deal with this. I'm mad because I don't understand what the logic is behind this. I want Congress and Senate to get along and do something good, but quite frankly, they haven't done anything. I believe more in the inner democratic process then I do in sending someone to washington to do nothing for years on end. The house is a joke. I will not capitalize their name because all they do is fight for the next election. They never do anything!!!

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lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

come on people, they can walk. "1. Subject to termination for fiscal necessity," it's also an "amendment."

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XTC 2 years, 9 months ago

Can someone help me understand the rental obligation for the SRS bldg. Is that $ 331,875. for one or both buildings? Is that for a 12 month period or other time frame? If the J/World saw the lease maybe they can anwser this.

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Cait McKnelly 2 years, 9 months ago

Just out of curiosity; how would one go about mounting a civil lawsuit against the establishment of the "office of Faith Based Initiatives"? Taxpayer money (some of it Federal) is being spent for an "office" that clearly violates the Establishment clause of the US Constitution.

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none2 2 years, 9 months ago

It would have been nice to have a bit more detail: What is the actual date of the 2008 modification? Is it Jan 2008, in which case they only have to pay the rent through next Jan? That is a lot different than if it is Dec 2008. Also, what is the amount of the rent so that we can figure out how much they are not saving but spending for a building they won't be using.

It is good to know that we have goofy people who waste money to supposedly save money.   Brilliant, shinning government mavericks.  (NOT!)
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4accountability 2 years, 9 months ago

I really think we should be upset with whoever made the original (bad) deal...sounds like somebody was already recieving way too much rent for this building. If this is the kind of deal they made in Lawrence I would expect for the new SRS managment to look for cheaper digs in every office across the state where possible. It probably is happening elsewhere. I saw an article that said the Fort Scott landlord would have taken less rent...really??? Well too late!

I say its time to quit whining and direct the blame at those who have been lining their pockets with your money.

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Liberty275 2 years, 9 months ago

Can some scoundrel in the law profession explain why this means anything other than brownback (alias kansas, government, fascist) has to pay for three months of rent on the building to satisfy the requirements necessary for the state to abandon the facility?

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autie 2 years, 9 months ago

just some good natured ribbing...Lunacy is as lunacy does. When is the next full moon anyway?

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autie 2 years, 9 months ago

I think if we could deec and luncacydetector to get together for a legal debate, we could sell tickets and use the proceeds to fund the SRS office. done deal.

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Jonathan Kealing 2 years, 9 months ago

Let me just be clear: we're not, at this point, saying that the state can't get out of the lease. But we're also not saying they can. We're still reporting and at this point we're giving you all the contracts and comments to examine while we continue to try and get more information.

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somedude20 2 years, 9 months ago

Jesus will help!!! hahahahaha. Last night as I prayed to the lord above, I asked the dear lord for a sign and wouldn't you know it, thirty seconds later I had diarrhea; proof that there is a god. I see trees of green, red roses too I know that Brownback is out to faa..., I mean, make love to you And I think to myself what a wonderful Sam

I see Koch and Sam, with their heads in the sand They kill the poor, take away your rights And I think to myself what a wonderful Sam

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Lindsey Buscher 2 years, 9 months ago

Scott & LJW,

Have you asked fmr Governor Parkinson or Sibelius for comment? They both made spending cuts, but did they ever consider cutting SRS like this?

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Lindsey Buscher 2 years, 9 months ago

Scott,

"In a meeting on Monday with reporters and editors of the Journal-World, Siedlecki and his staff indicated they would be able to terminate the lease for the Lawrence SRS office."

But at what cost? I am sure the LJW asked this question, did you get an answer? Or was it one of those, "We are looking into the matter..." non-answer answer.

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lunacydetector 2 years, 9 months ago

third amendment of the lease agreement

"1. subject to termination for fiscal necessity"

that means s.r.s. walks! nice reporting

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neilhull 2 years, 9 months ago

When govt. makes contracts with civilian entities there is a clause in the contracts that states the govt. can cancel any contract in interest of the govt. Regardless of what the lease says, the owner was also served with a contract that list these clauses. They can cancel the lease and not pay future.

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JohnSickels 2 years, 9 months ago

So basically...closing the office saves no money, either they have to pay the lease anyway, bribe the landlord out of the lease, or get sued and pay lawyers.

Further evidence that this was about politics, not money.

Brownback is scum.

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 9 months ago

He closed it because of policitics which in turn will bite him where it hurts.

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jafs 2 years, 9 months ago

Wouldn't this be the kind of thing to check out before deciding to close the office here?

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mcontrary 2 years, 9 months ago

Too bad we have Brownback in office.

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LHS56 2 years, 9 months ago

I know the owner has knowledge, skill and good attorneys when leasing a property. Also....he has deep pockets. I don't think the State will be able to break the lease. They may "decide" to not pay but my quess will be the landlord will take the State to court and win. It seems a shame that some of our government employees just don't have the skills to match their counterparts in the private sector.
However, knowing Brownback and his buddies.....they will still close the office and find money in the budget to not only pay the lease but legal expense.
I'm not surprised....but disappointed.

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guesswho 2 years, 9 months ago

Too bad the Brownback administration fired the state lawyers when he took office,otherwise someone competent might have read the fine print.

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tolawdjk 2 years, 9 months ago

Bah, contracts with the state aren't worth the paper they are printed on.

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deec 2 years, 9 months ago

So, I guess they won't be able to break the lease with no cost after all. Oh well, more work for those high priced Koch brothers lawyers.

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