Archive for Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Legislators grill Kan. social services official

November 15, 2011


SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki spoke with Lawrence Journal-World editors and reporters in this file photo from Monday, July 11, 2011. Legislators asked Siedlecki this Tuesday to explain comments they said he made about some residents being more willing to accept state assistance than find jobs.

SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki spoke with Lawrence Journal-World editors and reporters in this file photo from Monday, July 11, 2011. Legislators asked Siedlecki this Tuesday to explain comments they said he made about some residents being more willing to accept state assistance than find jobs.

— Kansas lawmakers asked the head of the state's welfare agency Tuesday to explain comments they said he made about some residents being more willing to accept state assistance than find jobs.

Rep. Jim Ward, a Wichita Democrat, said he doubted the estimated 22,000 unemployed workers in the south-central Kansas city would prefer to get food or cash assistance rather than take a job at one of Wichita's many aviation factories.

"Some people in Kansas are broken," Ward said.

Rob Siedlecki, appointed as Kansas Social and Rehabilitation Services secretary by Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, said some people refuse to help themselves by finding a job, especially when eligibility for benefits can change by just a few dollars more in income, complicating their lives.

"I think some people do that," Siedlecki said. "I believe there is hope for everyone. I want to make SRS the agency to give people hope."

He said many of the reforms his agency is considering would put greater emphasis on helping clients find employment and improving their lives. Siedlecki said he wants to work with commerce and labor officials to better match people needing workers with clients who possess the necessary skills, or help clients find additional training.

Legislators said that the difficult economy has made public assistance the only option for some people.

"Where are the jobs going to come from?" asked Sen. Laura Kelly, a Topeka Democrat.

Siedlecki said tax cuts and other incentives would help create private sector jobs. He agreed with Kelly who said transportation issues often make finding employment difficult and said his agency would try to reallocate funds to help with that.

Brownback wants to reorganize three state agencies that handle Medicaid-related services. SRS would turn some of its programs over to the new Department of Aging and Human Services. Other services would shift from the Department of Health and Environment and the Juvenile Justice Authority to SRS, with the agency being renamed Department for Children and Family Services.

The changes will be sent to the Legislature next year in a series of executive reorganization orders. Legislators approved similar restructuring for other state agencies this year.

Siedlecki said although he isn't proposing such a requirement he wasn't opposed to implementing mandatory drug testing for clients seeking assistance. A similar program has been approved in Missouri but is being challenged in court.

He said if someone were to be found with a substance or gambling addiction that the agency would try to help them get treatment and improve their lives.

"I think it's a good idea," Siedlecki said.


autie 6 years, 7 months ago

What jobs? Oh, those jobs that will be created by cutting taxes. Hmmm? Ohhhhh.....I really don't know how you are going to figure which comes first, the horse or the cart....especially when the barn is on fire.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes. The magic trickle down fairy will bless us all with jobs THIS time.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

Cutting taxes will help find jobs? Ask bush after 11 years of tax cuts where the jobs are. What a lie these republicans keep telling. Everyone of them across the country. When is someone like a newspaper going ask them about that?

Sean Livingstone 6 years, 7 months ago

Supply-side economics versus Keynesian economics: Using only one by itself doesn't work... i.e. cut taxes only versus government only actions.

Some people are just lazy, but not everyone who are unemployed are lazy.

Some rich people are nasty, but not all rich people are nasty.

If this country continues to use extreme politics, and lop-sided policies... we're done.

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

Jobs should be created first, then tax cuts given. Giving the tax cuts first is like paying the guy ahead of time to put a new roof on your house. Create so many jobs, get so much in tax cuts.

Keith 6 years, 7 months ago

"Siedlecki said tax cuts and other incentives would help create private sector jobs."

Aren't we at the point where anyone making this statement should be met with mocking laughter?

Armored_One 6 years, 7 months ago

So when they cut taxes on businesses to "stimulate jobs", not only are they essentially feeding this mass hysteria over the 1% concept, but exactly who is supposed to pick up the loss of income for the state?

ljwhirled 6 years, 7 months ago

By the time revenues decrease, the public will have long since forgotten the tax cuts.

Then we will have a discussion about "austerity and sacrifice" and the state will cut spending for education and social services.

It is the public's own fault for electing these twits.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

The new program to transition people off of services will consist of printing out motivational posters that say, "Get a job, you lazy bum!"

Seriously, that's essentially their plan. They get rid of the services and transfer the savings to the rich. In their mind, people who can't find jobs are lazy. People who have vast amounts of inherited wealth they can leverage into a business are "hard working job creators."

somedude20 6 years, 7 months ago

yeah, you can grill him but you can't grill Brownback because he is more like putting poop in a bag, lighting it on fire and then leaving it on someones porch (staaaaannnnkkkkssss)

guess_again 6 years, 7 months ago

Those reprobates could improve themselves by taking some courses at the University of Devonshire.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 7 months ago

The claim that cutting taxes will increase jobs is just as bogus as the idea that giving banks tens of billions of dollars would cause them to loan more money to consumers.

Pretty obvious who exactly that idea is supposed to benefit and it isn't poor people who can't find a job...

tolawdjk 6 years, 7 months ago

Too bad Siedlecki's boss left him out to dry while he was kissing kiester for his new job in Iowa.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Too bad we have a President who spent two years trying to expand government entitlements rather than working on incentives for the private sector to create good high-paying jobs. Obama's days i the Whitehouse are numbered because of this failure.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 7 months ago

There should be a Godwin's law for some nitwit inserting Obama into any public policy discussion.

Obadwin's law, perhaps.

ignatius_j_reilly 6 years, 7 months ago

What are you talking about? He's doing the same that the liberals on this board do with Brownback, not that it's not warranted. Just because he's got a point that you don't like doesn't make it wrong.

There's lots of nitwits on this board, myself included.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

Keep believing that. With the nitwits the gop has running I suggest you quit drinking the cool aid. All expect rommney look like fools everytime they open their mouths.

Amy Heeter 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with drug testing the clients and the srs staff too. Especially the fraud investigators and IM workers, some of them just have to me stoned.

chootspa 6 years, 7 months ago

Test all the legislators. That's where all the dopes are.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't stop there. Test all state employees including sham the sham and his staff. Big business does it so shady sam shouldn't have a problem since he is for business and not the people. Should have tested him yesterday since he was stupid enough to go to iowa with perry. Two jerks together. What an idiot sam is didn't have time to stay for the whole meeting in kck but had time to go campaign for perry in iowa.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

And drug test all law enforcement officers (don't forget to check for steroids). ;-)

thebigspoon 6 years, 7 months ago

And I feel for your pain when you finally open your eyes (and your mind) and see the truth.

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

So his testimony wasn't under oath. Tax cuts are creating jobs and more tax cuts will create more jobs. How is that working? Tax cuts are creating fat portfolios. Tax cuts are creating deficits. Test him, give him a lie detector, see if he believes his spin.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 7 months ago

Those who are able-bodied should be made to work and not get welfare payments. Only those who are truly in need should be eligible! If you do not work you should not eat.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

I doubt the children "will starve" if you force people to take responsibility for themselves!

thebigspoon 6 years, 7 months ago

You persist in living in lala land, kjh. Where, exactly, are these jobs going to come from? Just exactly how does the world look to9 you who look over the rainbow for solutions that aren't there? Get real, hawk, and join the human race. Oh, yeah, and try, just try, for once, to add something constructive to the conversation and quit sounding like a machine that reels out endless tea party sound bites.

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

Just because you don't like conservative opinions doesn't mean that many of your fellow Kansans don't have them. This is at heart a very conservative farm-belt state that support the traditional family values and morals that made us a great nation! Like it or lump it.

Kathy Theis-Getto 6 years, 6 months ago

A couple of things KJH Your governor is not a conservative and neither are you - extremism is deadly.

As for the poor? Me thinks you haven't been paying attention to Jesus!

Mark 10:21-22 Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, "You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me." When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.

Luke 14:12-14 He said also to the one who had invited him, "When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Luke 11:39-42 Then the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you. "But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and herbs of all kinds, and neglect justice and the love of God

Luke 12:16-21 Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

And finally: John 2:15 ESV / 2 helpful votes And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.

Take heed to this all of you false Christians, Republican extremists and money-changers.

mloburgio 6 years, 7 months ago

kansanjayhawk now i know who you are,

Michele Bachmann: ‘If Anyone Will Not Work, Neither Should He Eat’ | GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann promised to significantly lower funding to social safety net programs during a speech at the Family Research Council this morning, going so far as to suggest that people who can’t work should not eat. “Our nation needs to stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves,” she said. “Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

guess_again 6 years, 7 months ago

ha ha ha ha

kansanjayhawk = michelle bachmann

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

kansasnjayhawk makes michelle bachmann look like madeline albright

Kansass 6 years, 7 months ago

Hmmmm, kind of like stray cats, right? If you don't feed them they'll go away. Maybe we should "fix" the unemployed while we're at it.

Kansass 6 years, 7 months ago

Oh wait! Even better, maybe we can just put them down and bring unemployment down to 0%. You republicans are all heart.

voevoda 6 years, 7 months ago

Stalin said the same thing, kansasjayhawk: Those who do not work shall not eat. Are you advocating Stalin's methods of implementation?

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

why should able-bodied people who have no physical problems just be sent a check? We need to enable them and empower them to work and seek gainful employment!

Confrontation 6 years, 7 months ago

There are always going to be those people who feel that they are entitled to live off of the system. Lazy people who like to blame everyone else for their problems. It's time to force them to work. If a couple is getting welfare, then both of them need to work. I'd rather subsidize child care than letting a parent have the option of not working.

coloradoan 6 years, 7 months ago

"people who feel they are entitled to live off the system."

So, you're talking about the Citibank and Bank of America and AIG executives? Nice we agree on something; it's a start.

Kerry Putthoff 6 years, 7 months ago

It has been proven time and time again that welfare does not work. I have first hand experience managing rental apartments with this problem. There are individuals that are perfectly capable of working but refuse to work because it is too easy to get free money from US! The government cannot "give" something to someone, unless they first "take" it away from someone else! Teach a man to fish! So the job you can find is not a great what!? Maybe it takes two jobs to make ends meet, there are jobs out there, we just don't want to do that because it is beneath us to work there! I know I have had jobs over the years that I did not like or it was not a prestigious job, but it fed the bulldog! It just makes you work harder to get out of where you are. It used to be that it was beneath us to take welfare, now it is a way of life for some, AND it has become generational! Where else in the world can you be below the poverty level and still have a cell phone, car and cable TV? A hand up is one thing... a hand out is money out of my pocket and I am sick and tired of freeloaders!

Jimo 6 years, 7 months ago

I promise you that you don't pay enough in taxes to cover your own welfare - let alone someone else's. Sheesh! What a hero in your own mind, you are.

Millions of people in the last year of Bush did not suddenly quit working and decide they'd rather live off welfare. ROFL

fan4kufootball 6 years, 7 months ago

If anyone is receiving entitlements such as unemployment or SRS benefits because they cannot find a job they should be required to volunteer at local charities, hospitals, city parks etc. so many hours a week in addition to hunting a job (since no one hunts a job 40 hours a week).

kansanjayhawk 6 years, 6 months ago

absolutely this would be a great start...

nixon00 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree! Welfare was never meant to be a permanent way of life for people. It was designed to help you for a very short time to get back on your feet. Grow up get a job and maybe we can start using that funding to support schools and education instead of lazy people who refuse to get a job when they can just feed off of the hard working taxpayers. The jobs are available. They may not be the jobs of your dreams, but it is a start.

Jimo 6 years, 7 months ago

"The jobs are available. They may not be the jobs of your dreams, but it is a start."

ROFL Mr. Delusional, making its rounds on the internet these days:

A: I just get so pissed off by the older generation. B: Why? A: Because when I grew up, we were force fed the idea that if we didn't want to 'be flipping burgers at McDonalds' then we'd better go to college. B: And? A: And now we've gone to college, have degrees, can't get a damn job, and the same people call us entitled a&&&holes because we refuse to flip burgers.

I for one didn't pay through the nose in taxes to educate some kid to waste her skills on flipping burgers for $7/hr. and displace a high school drop out so he could go on welfare and collect even more of my money.

Kerry Putthoff 6 years, 7 months ago

The Truth hurts! Good for you Rob for speaking the TRUTH! Keep it up!

thebigspoon 6 years, 7 months ago

Yeah, the truth hurts, and you, tongie 1, and those like you simply refuse to acknowledge it. Ther are some who would rather not work, just as there are some who own apartment buildings. But the vast majority of folks who are unemployed are lookiing to replace lost jobs (not my opinion, SRS statistics you may look up if you're so inclined, which you arren't) and are unable to find employment. Your bitterness towards unfortunate peoploe is just what the Kochs and the Brownbacks and the tea partiers pander to, simply because it helps them to retain and build on the wealth that they are "entitled" to.

xclusive85 6 years, 7 months ago

"...are lookiing to replace lost jobs (not my opinion, SRS statistics you may look up if you're so inclined, which you arren't) and are unable to find employment."

I think that tongie may know that there are many people who have lost their job and are looking for employment. It used to be though, that instead of living on welfare while looking for a career job, they would take some low paying job, but still a paying job. Now when we pay unemployment, it benefits someone who had been working a career job to not work while looking for another career job because they make more than they would working at say Applebees.

By the way, there are jobs. I have a friend who walked into Applebees two days agos, got hired, and started yesterday.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Never mind asking if your friend at Applebee's is working full time. The answer will probably be "no". And, before anyone says "then get a second part time job", lots of people try to. But then you've got to find a job that works around your other job's schedule. Which, in the case of restaurants like Applebee's, often changes week to week and you may not know what it is until a day or two before that week starts.

What's far more important IMHO to consider, though, and which is something I think many of you don't seem to ask yourself, is this: "If I lost my job and my unemployment benefits are $400 a week...or I could get a minimum wage full time job at $7.25 an hour ($290 a week)...which option would be in my family's best interests???"

I'm not arguing that unemployment benefits can be a disincentive to finding a job....any job..quickly. Or that there are plenty of lazy people out there.

But it seems to me that taking any job should depend, at least to a significant extent, on how much your weekly benefits and your bills are as compared to an "any job" take home pay...and not just the idea that any job is better than no job. The latter smacks of false pride, and I'm definitely not a big fan of that.

xclusive85 6 years, 7 months ago

That's kind of why I made the distinction between a career job and other jobs. I don't fault the people for taking the unemployment that is more than a low paying job, but why are we responsible for paying that much in unemployment. I don't feel like we should be subsidizing to that extent.

mloburgio 6 years, 7 months ago

Middle-class areas shrink as America divides into 'two-tiered society' of rich and poor

Study: 44 percent of families lived in middle-income neighborhoods in 2007, down from 65 percent in 1970

Kansass 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree, there needs to be some drug testing alright. But it needs to be done on these lawmakers that are out of touch with reality. They must be stoned! Let me get this straight, about 9% of our population has just decided to suck off the system, sit around and do drugs, and turn thier noses up at all these wonderful job oppertunities. I suppose all those people Beech in Wichita is laying off soon are really just wanting a free ride and really don't want to work. They're probably on drugs too, right? After all, it's only the people that are doing drugs and don't want to work that are unemployed, right? Give me a break! I can't think of anything harder than having to ask for assistance and swallow your pride, and now they're trying to criminalize them to boot. What a bunch of idiots we have at the helm of our state. They want to keep taking away from the people that are already down so they can try to bribe the "job creators" into pulling jobs out of thin air. We need to yank them out of thier ivory towers and test them for drugs!

xclusive85 6 years, 7 months ago

Good question. I didn't really know so I looked it up. It doesn't give every country, or even close to it, but this is from Forbes. You have to go through the slide show.

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

even funnier how the larger your corporation is, the further you can get away from paying the 35% you're supposed to.

our outta-whack tax structure that has become a total epic failure is freakin hilarious.

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 7 months ago

Uh, no.

The US has the 2nd highest STATUTORY marginal tax rate in the world at 35% However, it has an EFFECTIVE (i.e. what they actually pay) marginal tax rate of only 23.6%. Big difference.

thebigspoon 6 years, 7 months ago

Because you're a damned American, that's why! For what earthly reason would you, as an AMERICAN business person, make it less likely that workers in YOUR country be able to make a living than the workers in CHINA, INDIA or BANGLADESH for crying out loud. Good grief, is that to where we've sunk, that businesses are more concerned with "the bottom line" than with the effect their actions will have, especially long term, on the country in which their business arose? It seems there is the thought in American business that it's OK to grind out profit at the expense of those who you want to eventually buy your goods and services. Well, I say, tax them in any way legal: at least the tax dollars will stay in this country, and, maybe, be of assistance to the peole who actually make the business possible.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, that's the prevailing thought right now.

To be fair, publicly traded companies have a fiscal duty to their shareholders to maximize profit.

That's why we need regulation of companies - on their own, they won't act in the best interests of anybody but themselves.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't get me started on that one :-)

Kat Christian 6 years, 7 months ago

I am eligilble to collect social security, but what they offer at this time is not enough for me to live on so I'm trying to wait at least 3 more years. But the rate of the things I may be force to apply for it. I'd rather work, but I'm finding it difficult to get hired on. My resume is passed up or when I do get an interview - OMG the look I get tells me I'm not going to get this job no matter how experienced I am. So frustrating.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

If it can be proven, that sort of discrimination is illegal.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm sure it happens.

That's why I said "if it can be proven".

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

and only a complete tool and good ol' boy but sniffer wouldn't raise an eybrow when the head of the state's Social Rehabilitiation Services starts making comments that amount to "people on welfare are just lazy and need to get a job".

Social. Rehabilitation. Services.

Welcome to bizarro world.

verity 6 years, 7 months ago


Glad I'm not the only one who sees a problem with someone thinking that their clientele is lazy and shiftless. Doesn't make either for a good relationship or for good problem solving.

Too many politicians and political appointees have never "walked a mile" with their constituents and clientele.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 7 months ago

".......admit their social system has people taking advantage of it." === You are correct there, but all the systems are subject to abuse. Look at the bankers, farmers, etc. who have their own forms of government assistance. Drug testing has been tried as an experiment, but the rate of use was so low that it wasn't cost effective to pursue the agenda to the end. Most of the people on 'the dole' are pretty desperate and not abusers. It is more fun, I must admit to pick on the minority who do.

WELFAREQUEENLOL 6 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

did anyone notice how the story regarding the first forum on children in poverty in Kansas that had Brownback's cabinet member saying the solution is marriage....has suddenly disappeared from the LJWorld headlines list?

Alex Parker 6 years, 7 months ago

Do you mean this story, vocal?

When a new headline is added to the list, the oldest one is removed from the latest headlines. This article was posted on

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow, I looked on well commons, and even posted a search under "child poverty forum".... tried searching on "children poverty," looked under State and Regional, Government, Governor Brownback...the headline was not recalled. So, even though you were able to find it...the article was definitely NOT as long lived in the LJWorld sections that would be intuitive.

Kat Christian 6 years, 7 months ago

I swear I think these people are in La-La land. I see major problems in enormous porporations with this plan. First of all if you are over 55 it is difficult to get hired these days. Additionally the employers around here are so not sensitive to single mothers especially when they are needed by their child(ren) because of illness, school conferences, etc. They are fired on the spot - that is part of the problem of remaining employed. Next the young people of today (not all) have not been taught professionalism, self-discipline or proper language skills. That in itself is a barrier to obtaining or keeping a job. So how do they expect to remedy these issues? There may be a small number of recipients who depend on state assistance, but for the most part I think people want to work and feel independent. It is difficult to be that today even if you have a job with the cost of living on the constant rise. People are requried to double up their households just to afford rents. There should be a rent control initiated here in Lawrence - that could help. I'm done.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

So, why didn't any Republican representatives ask questions, or were their questions not reported? I would really like to see more balanced reporting.

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