Letters to the Editor

Aging, SRS plan

March 18, 2012


To the editor:

Members of the Kansas Legislature are considering an important and far-reaching vote. They will approve or reject Gov. Brownback’s Executive Order No. 1, which proposes to combine the Kansas Department of Aging with the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services. Currently, the Department on Aging directly oversees programs specifically for older Kansans. SRS oversees programs for all adults over the age of 18 with disabilities. The needs of these very distinct populations are not the same and cannot be administrated in the same manner with success.

Currently, Kansas has fallen short in meeting the needs of both of these groups, with a three-year waiting list for over 3,200 older Kansans and a five-year waiting list for over 4,800 adults with disabilities. What will happen when the two departments combine and the methods for addressing the unique needs are no longer specific to the department? As proposed, rapid changes will occur without discussions on how the changes will affect those now receiving services or the effect on future programs.

The Douglas County Coalition on Aging recommends the rejection of this proposal. The importance of having a separate Department of Aging cannot be emphasized too strongly. It is important to directly engage the people who use the services, their families and those who work professionally with them in solving their long-term needs. Combining departments will unnecessarily disrupt services and extend wait time for those most in need.

Laura Bennetts and Pattie


DCCOA co-chairs,



Richard Heckler 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the heads up on this matter.

Where is the hard evidence that this consolidation is a good idea? There is no hard evidence that such makes dollars and sense. At best this is more mismanagement of state government and YOUR TAX DOLLARS.

What is going on here is a personal agenda that if left to the desires of Sam Brownback and his financial backers is total deregulation and privatization of state government. This concept definitely puts your tax dollars at extreme risk. This concept does not reduce the cost of government and never will. Private industry is about increasing their profits and pleasing share holders.

Deregulation and reckless management of your money is what brought the economy to its' knees in 1929, Reagan/Bush years and most recently under Bush/Cheney. Your tax dollars demand regulations and rigid enforcement not laissez faire republican participation.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 1 month ago

The letter speaks not one word about privatization. It's about combining two state agencies into one state agency.
If you agree with that or not, that's the topic at hand. You're free to go off on whatever tangent you would like, but once you begin to include the 1929 stock market crash and Reagan/Bush, Bush/Cheney, etc., you may as well include chicken little and the sky falling.
Tell us why the consolidation of these two agencies would be detrimental to those being served. Refute the assertions that there would be cost savings to taxpayers. Say something meaningful. Otherwise, your comment comes off as the ranting of a child. BTW - I'm also skeptical of this move. But the '29 stock market crash? Really?

Kendall Simmons 6 years, 1 month ago

Hold your horses!!

There are a number of mental health organizations and agencies here in Lawrence and across Kansas who will WELCOME a move from SRS to Aging!!

We are sick and tired of SRS mismanagement. We are sick and tired of the incompetency of SRS leadership. We are sick and tired of the ignorance and ho-hum attitude of far too many SRS staffers towards people living with mental illness.

The Secretary of Aging, Shawn Sullivan, has already shown more awareness of and actual concern about mental health issues than SRS has in years.

I can understand the concern of the Douglas County Coalition on Aging. They're afraid they're going to lose something. But there are many of us who know that what we would be losing is the incompetency and cavalier attitude of SRS.

BigDog 6 years, 1 month ago

I don't know where these two have gotten ..... "with a three-year waiting list for over 3,200 older Kansans"

There is no waiting list for seniors .... thanks to the management philosophy of those working with seniors ... unlike many of the other disability services ... aging works to continue having family provide for some of the needs of the senior (ie. shopping) instead of paying someone. And also only providing what a person needs not what a person or family wants.

Just to clarify ... only a portion of SRS will be moved to aging. SRS will be renamed as will aging.

BigDog 6 years, 1 month ago

Merrill many states across the country have had aging and disability services together for years .... including liberal states like Washington and Oregon. Both have been very successful in serving these populations.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 6 years, 1 month ago

I am against merging the two departments. I turned 65 this past summer, and will be needing the Department on Aging either soon, or in the next few years. It makes no sense to merge two departments with different purpose, and both with a long waiting list.

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