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Archive for Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Democrats argue Brownback attempting to control, influence state government agencies

May 11, 2011

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— Democrats are complaining that Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, is trying to take control of various aspects of state government that have been relatively independent of political pressure.

They point to administrative moves, statements of intention and defiance of the Legislature.

“There’s definitely an effort by the governor to centralize authority within his office,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence.

Brownback and his staff say his actions have been aimed at reducing state spending and making government run more efficiently.

Earlier this session, Brownback issued an executive order consolidating all hiring and human resource functions in the Kansas Department of Administration, which is headed by a Cabinet secretary appointed by Brownback.

Democrats say the new system is a way to ensure Brownback has control over who gets state jobs.

In announcing that decision, Brownback stated, “The state of Kansas needs to establish and increase efficiency, uniformity and fairness in employment policies, procedures and practices within the Executive Branch of state government. Streamlining the administration’s human resources to the Department of Administration will ensure employees are treated equally.”

Other examples, cited by Brownback’s critics, include:

  • Brownback’s Kansas Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee’s effort to make all employees in the agency unclassified. Brownlee said she wants to improve the agency through better management and a merit-based employee system. A state employee group said the proposal was an attack on worker protections. Democrats have also said that Brownlee has issued an edict requiring agency employees working at the call center to request permission before they can go to the bathroom. Matthew Manda, a Labor Department spokesman, said that allegation is not correct. Employees are supposed to tell their supervisor when they are taking a break, he said. This allows the department to do a better job in fielding calls, he said.
  • Brownback’s insertion into the Kansas Bioscience Authority debate. Some legislators have raised questions about KBA finances, and the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office has said it has opened an investigation in the KBA, although it has declined to say what it is looking into. Brownback has been vocal in demanding an independent audit of the agency and review of records. Democrats say Brownback is trying to take control of the KBA, an allegation that Brownback denies.
  • Brownback’s order to fold the Kansas Health Policy Authority into the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, which will remove the board that oversees KHPA. Brownback said the move will save administrative expenses and “unifies the expertise in KHPA with the accountability of KDHE as we implement major reforms to our Medicaid delivery model.”
  • Brownback’s layoffs disclosed Tuesday at the Kansas Arts Commission despite a vote by the Senate to keep the commission going and agreements by legislators to fund it. Brownback has said elimination of the agency is a cost-cutting move.

Comments

Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 11 months ago

I challenge you to identify waste in the Kansas Arts Commission. Isn't it odd that the gentleman from Topeka hired by Il Marrone to "privatize" the Kansas Arts Commission couldn't do the same in Topeka?

The so-called "private" arts council in Topeka is reliant upon funding from the Kansas Arts Commission to survive. Yet Il Marrone insists his hand-picked choice to lead the new "private" statewide Arts Commission will be successful in replicating what was done in Topeka.

Effectively, Il Marrone isn't just killing off the Kansas Arts Commission, he is killing off the Topeka arts council and who knows how many other local organizations at the same time. Eccellente!

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booyalab 2 years, 11 months ago

The Dems version of freedom is the freedom for government agencies to waste taxpayer money however they want.

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Steven Gaudreau 2 years, 11 months ago

He's trying to take over the government = he's trying to get rid of our bloated govt staff. I have business weekly in the capitol. The workers their spend more time on smoke breaks then at their desks.

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75x55 2 years, 11 months ago

Gee, a governor trying to run the state, and the opposition party trying to smear the governor with any brand and color of mud it can.

Situation normal.

How bad are things when the dems have to misrepresent 'bathroom privileges/breaks'? Honestly?

Oh, you Dems make spirit of Lincoln Steffens surge alive....

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Mixolydian 2 years, 11 months ago

State agencies are, and always have been, under the control of the Governor, whatever party. Agencies are executive branch. Of course he's trying to control them, it's called doing his job. The legislature affects agencies by the agency's enabling statutes and funding and the courts effect agencies by ruling on the legalities of their actions.

It's Government 101.

This is nothing but minority party sniping and banking on a populace who doesn't understand our constitutional system of governance.

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newmedia 2 years, 11 months ago

Tax, spend, and complain. Tax, spend, and complain. I guess it gives some people a reason to get up in the morning and feel they have made a difference.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 11 months ago

Kathleen Sebelius ran the KDHE lock, stock, and barrel through her puppet, Rod Bremby.

I suppose all of you leftist hypocrites didn't know that.

The fact is that you didn't care as long as the KDHE represented the interests of radical environmentalists.

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question4u 2 years, 11 months ago

Centralized power is always such a good thing for governments. Maybe Brownback will make the trains run on time.

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pusscanthropus 2 years, 11 months ago

@stund--It's obvious you never made it through English 101. Oh yeah...who needs education?

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bobberboy 2 years, 11 months ago

brownback and oneal twiddledee and twiddledumb.

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Floyd Craig 2 years, 11 months ago

well then he needs to take back the control of the university of kansas as there is a lot of bad things going on there if you dont kiss butt you dont get a job or a promotionthey need to clean the personal ffices from the top to the bottom even the human resorce area its really bad there

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oneeye_wilbur 2 years, 11 months ago

Kansas has no money, so the cuts have to be made. How did the State prosper in the days without some of the current agencies? Now there is a Saturday column for Mr. Simons.

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Rational_Kansan 2 years, 11 months ago

Moderate Republicans and Democrats must band together and work for a candidate who will truly represent Kansans and our values of fair, moderate, open government. This Governor does not represent us. Instead, he works for an extreme right-wing, secretive ideology of power grabbing by the monied interests of the state. He cloaks it in "family values," but then seeks to defund education, the arts, services to the disabled and the poor, middle class and working people. We must start now.

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newmath 2 years, 11 months ago

so it matt saying they don't have to tell their supervisors when they have to go the bathroom? Is going to the bathroom considered a "break"

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 11 months ago

Sure he's trying to take over everything why else would he hire a jerk like dennis taylor. When taylor was with the dept of human resources he got rid of every democrat he could and then filled the positions by first looking at voter registraion records to see if they were republicans. He wasn't even subtle about it as is the case now.

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verity 2 years, 11 months ago

"Democrats argue Brownback attempting to control, influence state government agencies"

Duh!

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woodscolt 2 years, 11 months ago

dictator in chief. smellyback will have kansas a third world state or die trying.

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Crazy_Larry 2 years, 11 months ago

I think once the new state logo is fully implemented, everyone will come together and sing Kumbaya! July 1, state workers will waste tax dollars by disposing of all business cards, envelopes etc. with the old logo. We really, really needed a new state logo! My ears are still ringing from the cries of the Kansans, "WE WANT A NEW BRAND!"

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autie 2 years, 11 months ago

"when fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross"....or something like that. Kansans of common cause for right, to the barricades!

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