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Archive for Monday, March 7, 2011

Statehouse Live: Brownback’s budget director quizzed about salaries

March 7, 2011

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— Legislators on Monday questioned Gov. Sam Brownback's budget director about salaries within the administration and the reasons behind some of Brownback's proposed budget cuts.

Budget Director Steve Anderson defended administrative salaries, and said Brownback, a Republican who was elected in November, faced a short time frame to come up with a proposed budget while facing a nearly $500 million revenue shortfall.

Appearing before the House Appropriations Committee, state Rep. Bill Feuerborn of Garnett, the ranking Democrat, asked why Brownback decided to hire separate people for budget director and secretary of administration. In the previous administration, both positions were held by one person, Duane Goossen, at a salary of $114,199 per year.

Anderson is making $98,000 per year as budget director, and Dennis Taylor is making $114,000 per year as secretary of administration for a combined total of $212,000 per year. The salary figures were provided by the governor's office through a Kansas Open Records Act request.

Anderson said it was better to have two people focused on the separate departments. He praised Goossen, but said, "Goossen was just spread too thin. It was penny wise and pound foolish," to combine the two jobs, he said.

Feuerborn also asked Anderson why Brownback recommended full funding of a program that is supposed to make air fares more competitive in Wichita, including a rollover of unspent funds, while also recommending elimination of the Kansas Arts Commission and funding of Kansas Public Broadcasting.

The "Fair Fares" program was presented by its supporters as a way to help to western Kansas, Anderson said. "Everything will be scrutinized in detail in the next budget cycle," he said.

Combined with the short time frame to propose a budget when the legislative session started in January, Anderson said there was a lack of data on the efficiency of state spending when he came on the job.

Anderson said he has directed his staff to put in place a management information system that will measure costs per unit of output throughout state government.

"Good data makes good decisions," he said.

State Rep. Peggy Mast, R-Emporia, praised Anderson's efforts, saying, "I always thought of government efficiency as an oxymoron; maybe we have the potential to make it something credible."

Comments

Fred Mertz 3 years, 12 months ago

Not only agency to hire more admin staff. Be interesting to compare past administration admin staff salaries to current salaries totals.

lawslady 3 years, 12 months ago

Smoke and mirrors. Robbing Peter to pay Paul. Cherry picking facts. Closed meeting planning sessions with private "investors" who have money to make off changes. Nothing new to see here.

Jan Rolls 3 years, 12 months ago

Because taylor is the gov's longtime buddy and a lackey that will do whatever the gov and koch brothers say. It is noted that taylor was a lousy administrator in his previous tour with the dept of human resources. He was so partisan that he fired good people and hired his buddies.

plainspeaking 3 years, 12 months ago

The folks in Dodge City, Garden City, Hays and Liberal have good airports with multiple daily flights to Denver. The Fair Fares program hurts - not helps - Western Kansas.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 12 months ago

Almost every agency is now carrying additional "management" staff. The Brownback administration has been targeting rank and file employees so they can pay lavish salaries to political hacks.

So much for "doing more with less". To insinuate Duane Goossen was spread too thin is ludicrous, particularly when you consider how Goossen never refused an invitation to appear before a committee.

Either way, the budget for those two positions should have been $115,000. Instead, Brownback doubled it.

tomatogrower 3 years, 11 months ago

And didn't Brownback create a position that is suppose to bring jobs to Kansas? Aren't there already jobs for that? Another high paid job for more of his political hacks. Face it Republicans and Tea Party people, Brownback is undoing all the streamlining that Sebelius did. Remember when she got rid of all the extra vehicles that weren't needed. Remember how the legislators whined then? I wonder if they have started replacing all those vehicles? Does Brownback have a driver? Didn't Sebelius drive herself around? Welcome to the land of hypocrisy.

notanota 3 years, 12 months ago

I see, so if you earn around $100k, you need more help to do your job, but if you're a teacher or social worker earning $50k or less, it's perfectly fine to increase your duties for no extra pay. Everyone's got to make sacrifices, you know.

Speaking of "penny wise, pound foolish," This was highlighted by the highly paid budget director making decisions without data. Note to Anderson: the Kansas Public Broadcasting funding primarily benefits Western Kansas. The Wichita air subsidy does not. Kansas arts funding creates job and gets matching funds. Might as well save the taxpayer money and hire a bobble-headed dashboard ornament in his place.

notajayhawk 3 years, 12 months ago

"if you earn around $100k, you need more help to do your job, but if you're a teacher or social worker earning $50k or less, it's perfectly fine to increase your duties for no extra pay."

Tell ya' what, notanota: When either a schoolteacher or a social worker in this state is responsible for a five and a half billion dollar budget, come back and we'll talk. Lordie but that was an imbecilic comparison.

"the highly paid budget director"

$100K is what you consider "highly paid" - particularly for a job at that level of responsibility? You don't get out much, do you?

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 12 months ago

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notanota 3 years, 12 months ago

Heck, it's probably much higher than that when you add in benefits, which also have to be doubled.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

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Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 11 months ago

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notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

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notanota 3 years, 12 months ago

I see, it's ok to overload social workers, because the only thing that could happen is that someone could die. They probably weren't an important person, or they wouldn't need a social worker. Wouldn't want to overwork a budget director, because they might make a careless recommendation that could potentially cost the state jobs and federal matching funds, and... oh. Too late.

No, $100k is not that much in the greater scheme of things, and at face value I wouldn't object to it. But we're paying more than twice that, because we now need twice as many people to do the job that one person managed to do before while he's asking people at a lower salary to do more with less.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

" it's ok to overload social workers, because the only thing that could happen is that someone could die"

Oh puhleeeeze.

Forget what I said about your earlier comment containing an imbecilic comparison. You've outdone yourself this time.

Tell me something, notanota (and thanks heavens you're not a nota): You think those amzing altruistic life-saving angels of Topeka would keep doing the lord's work if they weren't getting paid?

The very fact that you're here commenting on a story about the budget director kinda' demonstrates which of the two - he or one of your social workers - has a bigger impact on the lives of te people o Kansas.

notanota 3 years, 11 months ago

Ad hominem, kitchen sinking, childish nicknames, red herrings, and even typing paragraphs of "hahahaha." Oh my. Looks like someone ran out of arguments and has gone straight to the troll toolbox.

notajayhawk 3 years, 11 months ago

Nice distraction there, notanota. Typical response of one who has no argument.

notanota 3 years, 11 months ago

Yes. Thanks for conceding my point that you have none.

newmath 3 years, 12 months ago

I thought the entire point of the administration was to downsize government? How does replacing 1 job with 2 do that?

we have seen several times already where quick decisions by people who don't understand the impact have cost us more money than it saved. KNI, Kansas art commission, special ed funding, etc... Long on ideas, no clue about true impact. Brownback needs to keep the experts and dump the hacks before he gets the state sued and cost taxpayers even more money.

Jan Rolls 3 years, 12 months ago

Why do you think they brought in Taylor? He's used to sticking it to workers and hiring his buddies. And before any of you idiots deny it there is plenty of documentation about his past.

tomatogrower 3 years, 11 months ago

"Anderson is making $98,000 per year as budget director, and Dennis Taylor is making $114,000 per year as secretary of administration for a combined total of $212,000 per year. The salary figures were provided by the governor's office through a Kansas Open Records Act request.

Anderson said it was better to have two people focused on the separate departments. He praised Goossen, but said, "Goossen was just spread too thin. It was penny wise and pound foolish," to combine the two jobs, he said."

Many people are being forced to do the job of 2 people for far less money. When they complain, they are called whiners, and that they should be happy they have a job. Brownback is a hypocrite. He isn't trying to save the state any money. He's just trying to get some dead beat executives a high paid government job, where they can make sure that their real bosses, Kochs, get everything they want.

sweetiepie 3 years, 11 months ago

What the article didn't mention was Rep. Feuerborn asking how Mr. Anderson's response that Duane Goossen was spreading himself too thin worked with KDHE only having one person over KDHE and KHPA. Wasn't that spreading the new Secretary of KDHE too thin? Mr. Anderson didn't really have an answer to that.

Bob_Keeshan 3 years, 11 months ago

This isn't the only agency adding administrative staff. Over at the Secretary of State's office, they've even created a brand new Deputy Secretary of State.

Because what will make state government more efficient is more Deputy Secretaries of State, and the $100,000 paychecks that come with the job.

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