Archive for Friday, July 29, 2011

Heard on the Hill: Reader wonders about Haskell ground maintenance; alumnus, longtime budget director, dies at 97; KU posts director of federal relations job opening

July 29, 2011


Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• Thanks for all of your great suggestions for questions for the president of Haskell Indian Nations University during our interview next week.

Perhaps one of the oddest ones I got came from a reader who lives nearby, and pointed this out.

“There appears to be an excessive amount of money spent on grounds maintenance,” she said. “I swear that they are mowing every single day over there. It seems as though they could cut a lot of that in half.”

Now, obviously, I’m not quite sure if this is true, but I do recall seeing grounds maintenance staff being fairly active during the times I’ve visited the campus, too.

I don’t know if it’s a question for the president, but it would be interesting to find out. If I hear more, I’ll be sure to pass it on.

• Elmer B. Staats, a KU alumnus who was the chief of the United States General Accounting Office from 1966 until 1981, has died of congestive heart failure at age 97.

He graduated from KU with a master’s degree in political science way back in 1936, according to The Washington Post.

He began his career in the federal government in 1939, and worked in the administrations of nine presidents, the Post pointed out, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan.

He sounds like an interesting fellow, and he certainly hearkens back to a different age, where, growing up in Kansas, he worked for a farmer who paid him 15 cents a day (and charged him a nickel a day for water, too, the article said).

• KU just posted its job opening for the director of federal relations.

The job has been open since Keith Yehle left to become manager of congressional affairs for Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M.

The job will be based in Washington, with travel to Lawrence one to two times per month.

The person who takes the post will be an advocate for the university’s positions and a liaison with congressfolk, and will also, according to the job posting, “Ensure the university is aware of emerging areas of sponsored research and positioned to capitalize on these funding streams, including non-traditional or non-peer reviewed channels of support.”

When we get someone new, I’ll be sure to let you know.

• The water is always free here at Heard on the Hill world headquarters at Seventh and New Hampshire, but you’ll probably have to submit a tip to get in the door. Send it to


Alison Carter 6 years, 8 months ago

FYI - your interesting Staats comments reminded me of something QUIETLY SIGNIFICANT.

....KU alum, former Cong. and statesman Bob Ellsworth will be remembered at a graveside service at Pioneer Cemetary/KU west campus, Saturday (tomorrow) at 2:00 p.m. He had a most interesting career. He died in May of this year at age 84. Wish I were in town to express my thanks for his service.

KU_cynic 6 years, 8 months ago

KU is spending a couple million bucks paying the Huron Group to identify efficiencies, and also advertising for a director of federal relations? Seems to me that in tight times that is a position that should be eliminated. At most, perhaps the whole Kansas Regents system should employ such a person on behalf of all of its institutions.

Jack Martin 6 years, 8 months ago

The University of Kansas has more federally sponsored research than all other Regents universities combined. We also work closely with many federal agencies, such as with the U.S. Army on the Wounded Warriors Initiative. As a result, having federal representation is vital for KU, just as it is for any national research university.

KU_cynic 6 years, 8 months ago

"The University of Kansas has more federally sponsored research than all other Regents universities combined."

All the more reason for there to be one such representative for all regents schools; KU can just be his or her biggest "client".

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