Archive for Friday, March 18, 2011

Brownback administration seeks removal of Civil Service protections at Labor agency, Democrats say

March 18, 2011, 12:28 p.m. Updated March 18, 2011, 3:45 p.m.


— Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration wants to make all employees of the Kansas Department of Labor unclassified employees without Civil Service protection.

Democrats blasted the proposal.

The move would affect 383 classified workers, or about two thirds of the workforce at the agency, according to Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee.

Brownlee said the change is needed because federal law requires that the agency dealing with unemployment insurance must be a performance-based employment system.

“We believe the federal law and state law are incongruent,” Brownlee said.

She also said the Department of Labor will soon have to downsize as it receives fewer federal dollars.

“As we downsize, we need to keep people who will do the best job and are the most efficient,” she said.

On Thursday before the Senate Commerce Committee, Brownlee proposed an amendment to another labor-related bill that says "all employees of the department of labor shall serve at the pleasure and direction of the secretary of labor."

The committee approved the amendment above the protestations of Democrats who said they were caught off-guard.

On Friday, Democratic leaders called it one of the worst anti-worker proposals from Republicans during the current legislative session.

“Allowing an incoming administration to fire an entire department -- this is absolutely abysmal,” House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence said.

Senate Democratic Leader Anthony Hensley of Topeka said, “We should not be taking away Civil Service protections from state employees.”


Jan Rolls 7 years, 3 months ago

I told you they were going to do it lead by Taylor. That's what he did when he was the secretary of the department of human resources (turned into dept of labor). He got rid of everyone he could and then filled the positions with his republican buddies. This story will make national headlines. Brownback is a lousy uncaring individual. All they want to do is give jobs to republican donors.

Melinda Black 7 years, 3 months ago

Winning an election doesn't mean you have a mandate to treat people like this. Brownback calls himself a Christian. I'm pretty certain this is not what Jesus would do.

Scotchguard 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe it's not what Jesus would do, but it's pretty typical modern-day Christian behavior.

dadt 7 years, 3 months ago

Why keep a few pesky Democrat employees around when you can fill those positions with your buddies in the so-called pro-life groups?

Kontum1972 7 years, 3 months ago

he just uses the christian thing as a cover.....they have 3 or 4 chicks on the side....holed up somewhere, when ya see them with their wives out in public do they look happy...?

TheStonesSuck 7 years, 3 months ago

baseless accusations only detract from the shameless/deplorable actions that we have direct evidence of. Gov. Brownshirt (credit to foodboy), is determined to turn kansas in to an oligarchy. If anyone has a rational argument in support of this Gov. or Legislature, I'd love to hear it.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

Lots of talk from KDOL ever since the inauguration. Apparently they openly ask your political views during interviews, it isn't enough to be GOP you have to be the "right" kind of GOP.

The Secretary has also been e-mailing the Administration secretary, basically asking for total control over everything including being able to fire pretty much the whole staff.

Alceste 7 years, 3 months ago

Yee Haw!!! Brownback's Christian Crusades Against Working People is moving FULL STEAM AHEAD!!!

sciencegeek 7 years, 3 months ago

Continuing the march toward total power. Throwing out management to biring in (often unqualified) cronies isn't new, but the entire department??? Where do they think they're going to find people for some of those jobs that will work for what the state pays? And what about the institutional knowledge that goes out the door with them? This is "efficiency in government"? This goes beyond hypocritical.

But this may only be the start. If it works at Labor, why not at all government agencies? Oh, wait--that's NEXT week.

Randy Leonard 7 years, 3 months ago

Pay isn't a problem for unclassified employees. The Administration can set their salary. Only classified employees are limited to notoriously low pay of the civil service pay plan.

ksjayhawk74 7 years, 3 months ago

Yea, stick it to the civil servants. What have they ever done for Kansas?

Gecko 7 years, 3 months ago

Thank goodness the idiots at KU already saved Brown Crack the trouble. Funny how the administration can lie to - what is it? - 34,000 some odd students - by "assuring" their student body president "oh, no...we wouldn't ever use student tuition enhancement fees to pad employee payroll," then turn right around and tell 4,000 some odd employees exactly the opposite lie - that after 4 or 5 years of no cost of living increase, if they vote to be taken off State Civil Service, KU can then dip into the student tuition enhancement fee money to give everyone merit pay and a cost of living increase, to which no other State of KS employees would be privy. Sounded exactly like when the sly cunning fox told the Gingerbread Man to "climb aboard my tail, I'll give you safe passage down the stream." Apparently all the greedy idiots who voted to strip what people before them had fought tooth and nail for forgot the ending to that story. They also forgot to utter one peep of dissention when the merit pay and cost of living increase again STOPPED, as wholly expected. Good job, Kansans.

ResQd 7 years, 3 months ago

My understanding: In 2005, the University switched classified employees to "university support staff", which put them under the Board of Regents. There was a big vote and alot of classified employees voted to switch over, getting out of the State Civil Service system; but not really knowing that there classified positions would be in jeopardy in coming years. All they wanted were equal raises that the faculty and unclassified staff were getting. So, be it, it passed. University support staff at the university are no longer protected under the "classified" job protection statues. They are now considered "at-will" employees. They were duped by the HR department who now has more control of there positions. This is why Brownbacks administration wants to begin abolishing civil service status. Be afraid, be very afraid.

tomatogrower 7 years, 3 months ago

Also, Brownback is trying to take complete control and get rid of the Regents too.

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

So what protects us from the Republicans?

Keith 7 years, 3 months ago

Campaign contributions, lots and lots of campaign contributions.

Bob_Keeshan 7 years, 3 months ago

"She also said the Department of Labor will soon have to downsize as it receives fewer federal dollars.

“As we downsize, we need to keep people who will do the best job and are the most efficient,” she said."

So that means she will also implement a hiring freeze? Don't count on it!

letsgiterdone 7 years, 3 months ago

if the budget needs to be cut....I am all for cutting government jobs first!

letsgiterdone 7 years, 3 months ago

if the budget needs to be cut....I am all for cutting government jobs first!

sr80 7 years, 3 months ago

in the 2 yrs of collecting unemployment insurance,i called the unemployment contact center(ucc) probably 20 times with various problems and not once ( i mean zero times) did i speak with a human being.So i don't see why there is a big todo with thinning the ranks which is what is mean't by being declassified .

MyName 7 years, 3 months ago

You act like people who flip burgers make enough to be worth the time you spend there. Next you'll be telling me that Walmart actually pays people enough that they don't have to file for Medicaid.

Jan Rolls 7 years, 3 months ago

They are setting it up so they can privatize it. This is a no brainer. Unknown to a lot of people, part of the employment service that is funded with federal Wagner-Peyser funds has already been privatized in several areas of the state. The first Lt. Gov (republican turned democrat) did that and Sebelius let him do it. Many civil service people lost their jobs. He also split the department of human resouces and put employment services under the commerce dept. That left unemployment in the newly named labor dept. He screwed things up so bad. Clsoed the UI call centers in Wichita and Kansas City and that's why people can't get though. Guess why he wasn't on the ticket second time she ran. This is the way to take away the rest. Unemployment receives money from the feds based on the number of cliams they process by formula.

muxman9 7 years, 3 months ago

Salary or Slavery, guess it depends on where you are at on the scale. here a link to those 100K Kansas Gov jobs

Dave Trabert 7 years, 3 months ago

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Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Sam Brownback like his supporters aka Koch special interest money are anti american.

They call themselves Libertarian however their actions are more like Nazi Germany.

The S&L scandal is by no means the only incident of questionable, and actually illegal, financial activity that the Bush family has been involved in. The line of questionable, illegal, and unethical businesses practices goes back at least to Prescott Bush Sr., George Bush Sr.’s father.

Prescott Bush was a Senator from 1952 – 1963. Previous to his time as a Senator Prescott was a banker and businessman. Prior to the American entry into WWII Prescott Bush was director of Union Banking Corporation.

Union Banking Corporation helped to finance Hitler’s regime. The Concentration Camps of Nazi Germany were labor camps that the Nazis used to make products for their regime as well as for sale to raise money. Prescott profited directly from the Auschwitz labor camp.

In 1942, after Hitler declared war on America the United States government seized the Union Banking Corporation under the Trading with the Enemy Act as a front operation that was supporting the Nazis. Much of the profits from the operation were already pocketed by Prescott however, and $1.5 million was put in a trust fund for George Bush Sr.

For more on Prescott Bush's ties to the Nazis see:,12271,1312540,00.html

Richard Heckler 7 years, 3 months ago

Blind Government loyalty is NOT patriotic!

Questioning government authority daily is patriotic!

Blind government loyalty is dangerous to OUR democracy,Our quality of life and OUR tax dollars!

Don't get duped again!

mr_right_wing 7 years, 3 months ago

...he says as he pours himself another cup of liberal tainted flavor-aid.

Jimo 7 years, 3 months ago

I guess I don't mind a performance-based system for gov't employees. I would start with the head honchos though and not the low-level schlubs.

Let's see: how about a test -- by the middle of the Governor's term, either the Kansas economy improves on several sets of data (employment, manufacturing output, wages) above the national average or the Governor is dismissed. Think Brownie can perform? We all know he'd never subject himself to the same standards as the public - too much time in Washington schmoozing with his fatcat friends.

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

Maybe he'll take out Craig's List adverts in Texas (whose miracle economy seems to have hit the wall) promising that they can find an even more conservative, backward, evolution denying environment that fosters religious fanaticism?

7 years, 3 months ago

We have to get people to vote. I've always believed that if we had almost 100% voter turnout for EVERY election that we would rarely find ourselves in these messes.

When the voter turnout is low, these creeps win.

Even though it often seems that your vote doesn't count - if we had a greater percentage of participation we could at least know that the outcome of elections - the people we elect to represent us - would be closer to what the majority truly want.

So please, each one of us needs to vote and we need to ensure that all of our friends, families, neighbors, etc. - everyone who is eligible - votes -

The military industrial complex is counting on a disaffected votership so that their pawns can be elected.

So please, please vote - in every election.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 3 months ago

That's exactly what happened. Some people got out and joined these 'tea parties' (not me personally) the rest of us were frustrated enough to at least get out and vote; something needed to change...Sam never promised warm fuzzy change either. I voted for him and was among the majority of Kansans who were wary of how the libs/dems were running things, locally and nationally.

I sure wouldn't want the job though; he's going to have to make decisions that will leave no one uneffected. One thing is certian, this isn't the last decision he makes that you're not gonna like.

jafs 7 years, 3 months ago

Turnout stats?

I think you'll find that a large minority is still not voting at all.

How do you like Brownback so far? Are you pleased with his cutting education and social service funding even though he promised to protect them while campaigning?

And, in what universe have the "libs" been running KS???

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

I used to worry about the Military Industrial Complex. I'm becoming more concerned with the intermixing with the Dominionists.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 3 months ago

Obama may have been the one promising 'change', but Brownback is deffinately delivering it

(Did I say I gree with every decision he's made? the past I've even called some past, and future for that matter, lose-lose decisions.) .

4getabouit 7 years, 3 months ago

Sieg Heil ! Herr Brownback and the Brownshirts march onward towards social justice.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 3 months ago

I read this to my husband and we both went into hysterics. The irony is beyond belief.

Cait McKnelly 7 years, 3 months ago

I like to call him Sam Brownbelt. (Anybody familiar with the Black and Tans will know what a subtle insult that is.)

overthemoon 7 years, 3 months ago

"Brownlee said the change is needed because federal law requires that the agency dealing with unemployment insurance must be a performance-based employment system. "

I have done some poking around Federal DOL regulations and don't find reference to such a law. In fact, I do find a lot about the importance of a diverse and well supported workforce. Perhaps the reporter can get this information from Brownlee?

bolshavik_vw 7 years, 3 months ago

We have an ignorant Governor. Enough said.

newmath 7 years, 3 months ago

I wonder how all the other states with unions are able to staff their department of labors? This is pure political power play. Was this an IT21 idea? Who are these people advising the kansas department of labor?

spaw 7 years, 3 months ago

The new secretary thinks that the IT dept can run with fewer than 12 employees. So if you think there are problems now wait until they have privatized it. I figured this was what would happen if Brownback got elected. He is wanting to put Kansans back to work but it looks like that is by laying off state employees and giving the jobs to private industry. Who says those consultants will be located in Kansas and spending their money, paying taxes here. How much money that will save? It will cost a lot more for consultants to do the jobs than it would state employees..

gudpoynt 7 years, 3 months ago

Good point. A lot of people don't understand that.

If the public sector hires out to the private sector, it typically costs them (i.e. we the taxpayers) more, especially when it comes to IT.

Also a good point about how contracting doesn't guarantee that business stays within state borders.

gccs14r 7 years, 3 months ago

They'll probably get Google to host all of it.

Dave Trabert 7 years, 3 months ago

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Dave Trabert 7 years, 3 months ago

General fund spending exploded between 1993 and 2008, going from $2.7 billion to $6.1 billion. The recession forced budget reductions but this year we will still spend about a billion dollars more than in 2005. The Tax Foundation ranks Kansas as having the 19th highest combined state and local tax burden - and that's based on 2009 data; since then, sales, unemployment and property taxes have increased by about $500 million so our tax burden is even worse. Jobs have been migrating to states with lower tax burdens for years and Kansas continues to suffer the consequences. Our private sector job growth was just 5.2% between 1998 and 2008, well below the national average and about a third of the 14.6% growth in the ten states with the lowest burden. Now we have fewer people employed than in 1998!

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to reduce spending without cutting services. Privatizing is one viable option. We also need to examine state spending and look for non-essential spending that can be eliminated, such as travel, dues, overtime, advertising, etc.

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