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Archive for Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Brownback’s CITO resigns amid controversy over degree on resume

Jim Mann, left, was Gov. Sam Brownback's choice to lead the administration's IT department until Mann resigned Tuesday afternoon after questions about his education background arose. He graduated from an unaccredited university, often referred to a diploma mill.

Jim Mann, left, was Gov. Sam Brownback's choice to lead the administration's IT department until Mann resigned Tuesday afternoon after questions about his education background arose. He graduated from an unaccredited university, often referred to a diploma mill.

November 8, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Updated November 8, 2011, 11:39 p.m.

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— Gov. Sam Brownback’s chief information technology officer resigned Tuesday after a controversy erupted over the degree he listed on his resume.

Jim Mann, 58, who had started his $150,000 job last week, said he had a business administration degree from the University of Devonshire, which has been cited in several reports as a diploma mill and not an actual school.

On Monday, Brownback held a news conference to introduce Mann, of St. Augustine, Fla., and to announce his hiring. Brownback said Mann was a crucial hire to improve the IT capabilities of the state.

But when news stories about Mann were filed online, reader commenters almost immediately started questioning the validity of his degree.

On Tuesday morning, Brownback defended Mann to reporters based on Mann’s private sector work, but conceded that his administration had not looked into Mann’s educational background.

“The education was not a factor in hiring,” Brownback had said.

He added that he didn’t believe Mann tried to mislead his administration when interviewing for the job.

Brownback said it was not unusual for information technology employees to lack degrees. He said when he was state agriculture secretary from 1986 to 1993, “My IT guy was a former meat cutter.”

But by late afternoon Tuesday, Mann submitted his resignation to Brownback and the governor accepted it, effective immediately.

Mann wrote a letter to Brownback that said, “The questions surrounding my qualifications to perform and deliver in this position have compromised confidence in me and in my integrity. As such, I am no longer an asset to your team and your IT mission.

“Please accept my sincerest apology, and I wish you and all Kansas nothing but the best as you strive to bring excellence to Kansas’ information technology systems.”

The governor’s office said it has reopened the search for the position.

Comments

Stain 2 years, 5 months ago

There was no excuse for that guy to be making $50,000 more than his predecessor - even if he had been qualified, which he was not.

Meanwhile state employees including KU employees have had their wages frozen for several years, and there's no hope that annual raises are ever coming back.

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Fretster 2 years, 5 months ago

Anyone notice Arminius is back? Damn the torpedos!

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JJE007 2 years, 5 months ago

PEOPLE... Who hired this guy? This was an important position which the governor should/would have had a huge say in who was hired. Yes? No? The guy really had no solid credentials. Someone had to suggest him. Someone had to ignore warning signs before accepting him as a candidate. Someone had to pull strings to pull him through the process. Someone messed up. It doesn't matter who that someone was, or someones were, this fail falls squarely in the lap of the square (our governor). Take an axe to this governance! It flat out stinks of burned coal, feedlots and bought souls.

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

This is so, so funny. Brownbackwards has stubbed his political toe a number of times and plods onward with this insane hiring and now retirement. I wonder what future occurances are left for the long suffering people (at least those who are not brain dead) of the State of Kansas?

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

Dear Governor Brownback, A real leader might have made a mistake hiring someone who lied on their resume, but a real leader would have stepped up, admitted the mistake, then fired the liar. They wouldn't have tried to rationalize their choice, then behind the scenes, "encourage" the guy to resign. No gut, no glory, guv.

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toe 2 years, 5 months ago

All state IT functions should be outsourced.

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oletimer 2 years, 5 months ago

the guy was a fraud, just like brownback is. Birds of a feather....... Now if we can just get brownback to quit, we will be good.

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kansanjayhawk 2 years, 5 months ago

Every administration has it's moments of embarrassment, this is one for Mr. Brownback, however, the piling on by the left is just another example of how they have only one agenda and that is to bring a good man down. Mr. Brownback has brought our state government finances into balance, he has redirected Kansas toward being a competitive place to bring business, by fighting to change our tax system. He has stood up for the weakest among us and he has brought good positive values into the governors mansion. What a great change from the extreme liberal agenda of the past!

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somedude20 2 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Mann looks like a cheshire cat in the photo that the LJW is using. Really, that picture bothers me because he looks like the face of this republican eviliness that has been infecting America and some of its weaker minded people for the last few years!

Be afraid, be very afraid!

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yourworstnightmare 2 years, 5 months ago

His interest in Florida is to become connected to the GOP establishment in that state, so that they can help him when he runs for president, just as they helped GWB.

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blindrabbit 2 years, 5 months ago

Makes one wonder, what is Smilin Sam's connection to Florida! First he hires his chief SRS Siedlecki and now this! Sam must have invested on some land deal down there and has some chips he needs to settle.

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deathpenaltyliberal 2 years, 5 months ago

"consumer1 (anonymous) says… Whew!! Good thing the lefties caught this one. We certainly wouldn't want to have a person doing that job that wasn't qualified as a genuine bureucrat!! I am so sick of whiney liberals, they hate America."

I'm sick of whiney cons, who only see partisanship. This guy was clearly a liar, likely unqualified, and taking a job from a Kansan.

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lgreen17 2 years, 5 months ago

This is about creditably, not the degree. If someone pays for a college degree so they can put it on their resume, that speaks to their character. As a career IT-person (until recently) I can say that most people in IT don't need degrees, you either get it or you don't. You don't have to FAKE one to get a job, unless you think you are the smartest guy in the room, and people won't figure out you are a flake. He resigned because people in Kansas are smarter than he thought, and he wouldn't have been an effective leader given his poor judgement.

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consumer1 2 years, 5 months ago

Whew!! Good thing the lefties caught this one. We certainly wouldn't want to have a person doing that job that wasn't qualified as a genuine bureucrat!! I am so sick of whiney liberals, they hate America.

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booklover2 2 years, 5 months ago

This is the best thing that has happened since Brownback took office.

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

If Brownback is right, that his choice was right. There is only one way to prove it. Brownback must resign to show his support.

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ssteve1 2 years, 5 months ago

O.M.G !!!!! How could Brownback be so stupid??? He should have gone straight to the lawrence college (note lowercase) and hired a degreed individual from the school of slavic dance. Or maybe the "honk for hemp" guy. Really, Sam. Check out lawrence. It's just full of characters!!!

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hedshrinker 2 years, 5 months ago

So this guy Mann is fr St Augustine Fl; isn't Fl where the disastrous, arrogant new head of SRS was recruited from? Why does the Gov have to go to Fl to find staff who frequently turn out to be highly UNqualified, but get paid big 6 figure salaries...think it has to do with his religion litmus test, maybe.

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distant_voice 2 years, 5 months ago

I hate to disappoint liberals in a university town, but after working in IT for more than 40 years, the worth of any degree from any educational institution is about as meaningful as dog manure in an ice cream cone after someone has been working in this field 10 years or more. It's experience and knowledge, not societal certifications that are the best gauges for how well a candidate will perform. The first person I ever had to fire for incompetence had a Master's degree from a respected institution. Three of the most knowledgable IT professionals I've ever encountered had only high school diplomas and a wealth of knowledge and perseverance. Need more proof? Like at the resume of Steve Jobs.

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bobberboy 2 years, 5 months ago

Mr. Brownback - don't close the door on your way out also !!

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bobberboy 2 years, 5 months ago

Yep, another pi$$ poor browncrack decision - who voted for this guy ? Now I'm sure there are alot of dumb people in Kansas !

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Fred Whitehead Jr. 2 years, 5 months ago

Yet another vivid demonstration of the incompetance and dysfunction of this "senator- turned-governer". He was elected by the sheep in Kansas who were flummoxed by the PDR of this moron. (Public Display of Religiosity). For those who think this theocrat is such a stunning "Christian" go read Matthew 6:6 for some information on what Jesus Christ had to say about those who engaged in splashing their religious fervor all over the street corners. Being governer involves a lot more than running to Texas to "pray' with the equally disgusting Governer Hair of Texas, another theocrat cut from the same cloth. Some common sense in veetting, hiring and concern for residents of his own home state are very much in order with this alleged public servant.

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somedude20 2 years, 5 months ago

Bet the next dude hired will be that Dell dude or maybe the mac kid. Dude, you are getting a cell!

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autie 2 years, 5 months ago

the power of the fourth estate. Marvelous.

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Paul R Getto 2 years, 5 months ago

ThePilgrim (anonymous) says… "Is there any impeachment process in the State of Kansas? And how long will it take until Brownback gets run out of the state?Oh wait, he will surely get a big gubment post when the Repubs win in 2012." ==== We are stuck with him. Impeachment is not gonna happen and not appropriate. Sam is doing what he said he'd do and what his trainers have taught since the 1930's....shut down government, particularly social services and sell what remains to the highest bidder. Maybe people will actually vote, particularly next August. That's when we'll see if the house of reps will stay extreme right and if any of the remaining rational senators survive. There's a three-word answer to the problem, elect new people. This will, however, take a while.

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Kookamooka 2 years, 5 months ago

Yeah. The state lost money on this one. I'm betting he had a severance deal and he took it...effective immediately. So long suckers!

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pace 2 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if he got a formal parachute or if it was under the table?

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gccs14r 2 years, 5 months ago

Now if we could just get Brownback to resign....

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Starlight 2 years, 5 months ago

In this time of austerity why was he offered the job at 50% more than the position formerly paid? Brownback is a plague on this state.

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sunny 2 years, 5 months ago

Brownback was elected..right?

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REdign 2 years, 5 months ago

"Can anyone explain to me how, exactly, Brownback won any political points by handling it this way, as opposed to just firing the guy?"

This is just the way it is done in higher management. It's done this way time and time again.

They act like they back the person they hire while pressuring him to resign on his own accord. For the better of the State...bleh..

Totally predictable.

The appointment secretary is one that should be in hot water with Brownback. Who is that and how much does he make?

It's pretty obvious that Brownbacks appointees do not trust any sitting IT managers. A pity, since they can probably help with IT consolidation and do it without making massive mistakes.

IT Consolidation is a great thing, Choose a qualified Kansan

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Orwell 2 years, 5 months ago

The key lesson in all this is that Brownback's reaction was to rationalize and try to justify his own actions rather than acknowledge and correct a mistake. Forthrightness apparently isn't on his list of "family values."

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Glenn Reed 2 years, 5 months ago

Feels like there's pieces missing to this little drama...

I can't imagine why a resignation letter from Mr. Mann was necessary. The governor's office should have fired the guy immediately once it became clear that the diploma listed on the resume was awarded from a fake college.

Can anyone explain to me how, exactly, Brownback won any political points by handling it this way, as opposed to just firing the guy?

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 5 months ago

Is there any impeachment process in the State of Kansas? And how long will it take until Brownback gets run out of the state? Oh wait, he will surely get a big gubment post when the Repubs win in 2012.

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profound 2 years, 5 months ago

Gonna have to shut down some more SRS offices to pay for this.

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sunny 2 years, 5 months ago

I really doubt it will matter who Sam hires for the job. All of you sam haters will continue with your posts. Carry on...

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 5 months ago

Damage control was in effect today at the State. My friend said that the "talking points" were that Mann didn't know that Devonshire was a degree mill until he tried to transfer the credits. And that it was so long ago (70's) that it really didn't matter in the hiring process. He was hired for his experience. I agree with Mann that his credibility was compromised. I am very surprised that he stepped down. Unfortunately, he probably will have difficulty finding another job. Unless he had an out in his contract.

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atiopatioo 2 years, 5 months ago

State run degrees are better than for profit degrees anyday of the week.

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SOS 2 years, 5 months ago

Wonder how many applicants (and the percentage that were actually qualified) were interviewed for this job? So..... personnel searches, interviews, transportation and lodging, house finding trips, relocation assistance, etc. Severance package no doubt. What was the final price tag for the Kansas taxpayers? Now, back to square one. This has to be very inefficient and costly.

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kansasplains 2 years, 5 months ago

I agree. The LJ World jumped on this degree right away and made a major impact in Jim Mann's resignation. The role of newspapers in towns is never better stated.

Start hiring Kansans for this job and other positions in this state! You could probably get two Kansans for the same price who would oversee the various operations of the IT department, and do a much better job.

And watch out for what he was saying. He was talking integrate, integrate, integrate. But when everything is integrated too much, one catastrophe happens and thousands of names are put out in the open with all their information, which never can be recovered safely.

I'm surprised I didn't hear him talk about "cloud" technology. Once the local systems have given up their servers and programs, and all the information is kept elsewhere, anything can happen. For individuals and governments, that is a very dangerous thing - not to speak of businesses.

Take a look at what just happened to Lawrence Memorial Hospital - all that information was released on the internet, and that was probably disk-based. What would have happened if Lawrence Memorial Hospital had had their information and servers elsewhere (say Kansas City or California, or off shore) along with all the other hospitals of Kansas? Insurance companies, employers, all would have had a ball and the technological loss of this would have been catastrophic.

And bear in mind - that's what Jim Mann was saying in order to save money. He doesn't really even have a background in IT.

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Brock Masters 2 years, 5 months ago

Meat cutters from around Kansas are dusting off their resumes.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 5 months ago

"The questions surrounding my qualifications to perform and deliver in this position have compromised confidence in me and in my integrity. As such, I am no longer an asset to your team and your IT mission,"

What integrity? When you buy a fake degree, you have no integrity.

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Carol Bowen 2 years, 5 months ago

Aren't all state positions supposed to be advertised?

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nschmi04 2 years, 5 months ago

Dollars to donuts that this forum had a large impact on Zealot Samuel asking for his Brother's resignation. No way this guy could have survived what was coming next. Nice job LJWorlder's.

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 5 months ago

Why don't you advertise the job sam. Bet you have some very qualified people with years of experience working in one of your agencies. I know of three.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 5 months ago

Brownback walks away with a mere black eye. He's an arrogant guy, but I surmise he never vetted the guy before hiring him. Wondering whether Brownback asked for his resignation. I am a little disappointed that this is all over. would have been fun to watch it play out a little longer.

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Lana Christie-Hayes 2 years, 5 months ago

Hardy Har Har!!! Why am I not surprised?!...

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cowboy 2 years, 5 months ago

oooh raahh , this has been very entertaining

Next

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Gandalf 2 years, 5 months ago

I would be willing to bet he finds another crony who's no better!

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just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 5 months ago

Wow, Brownback is in backpedalling mode. Hope he doesn't stop there.

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thinkagain 2 years, 5 months ago

Great! Hire someone from KANSAS!!!

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