Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kansas labor chief says governor fired her

September 20, 2012


— Kansas Labor Secretary Karin Brownlee said Thursday that she was removed from her job by Gov. Sam Brownback, suggesting they disagreed about how well her department has been operating.

Brownback's office announced Brownlee's abrupt departure in a short statement without giving a reason and said Rep. Lana Gordon of Topeka would serve as interim secretary. The statement did not thank Brownlee for her service or highlight accomplishments, something common when even controversial appointees leave voluntarily.

Brownlee told The Associated Press her departure wasn't voluntary and that she didn't sign a resignation letter. She said Caleb Stegall, the governor's chief counsel, told her she was expected to step down.

"I think the governor and I measure performance in different ways," Brownlee said. "It's hard to understand."

Brownback spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag declined to discuss the reasons for Brownlee's departure, adding, "It's a personnel matter."

The Department of Labor's most visible job is determining when out-of-work Kansans are eligible for unemployment benefits, distributing those benefits to them and ensuring that they are actively seeking new jobs. The agency also releases monthly reports on unemployment and the state's labor market.

Brownback and Brownlee are both conservative Republicans, and she served in his administration since he became governor in January 2011. In recent months, Brownlee and her supporters have touted her work in reducing the department's administrative expenses and said it was done without sacrificing services.

"I was very, very pleased with what we were able to accomplish," she said. "The governor would have to comment on why he felt it was best that I not continue."

Brownlee, 57, had served in the Senate for 14 years when Brownback, then the incoming governor, named her to be his labor secretary. First elected to the Senate in 1996, she was chairwoman of its Commerce Committee before her appointment to the Cabinet.

Gordon, 62, also a Republican, has served in the House since 2001. She decided against seeking re-election this year. After three federal judges redrew the state's political boundaries in June to ensure equal representation, Gordon was in a district with two other incumbent House members.


autie 5 years, 5 months ago

Hmmmm, all the main street people and now his own labor sec....jeez, he sure has a way of putting people out of work.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 5 months ago

Don't forget the KDOT people from a few weeks ago...

verity 5 years, 5 months ago

Now he's started eating his own.

Her refusal to resign sounds like there might be a lawsuit in the future.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

She served at the pleasure of the government. He could fire her without cause. No lawsuit, maybe some mud slinging.

tomatogrower 5 years, 5 months ago

He probably needs to give a job to some Koch flunky from Florida with a fake college degree. Or maybe his buddy from Idaho that got booted off the ticket, because he didn't want to move to Kansas. He could commute from Idaho.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

As opposed to anti-pro choice, anti-gay, anti health care, anti-safety net, anti adequate educational funding, anti-union, anti Obama at all costs, pro neo-con agenda, ad nauseum in perpetuity.

Got it.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownlee may be a fiscal conservative whereas Sam Brownbaclk is not. There is quite a difference.

Conservatives such as Brownback are big spenders while handing out tax breaks at the same time. Brownback is reckless conservative NOT a fiscal conservative.

Conservatives such as Brownback love big government in spite of the nonsense rhetoric coming from conservatives.

Neither true republicans nor democrats can afford the Brownback/Koch conservative in any capacity. These thinkers are a threat to job security,wages and residential property values. Easy to document.

Liberty275 5 years, 5 months ago

It sounds like she qualifies for unemployment benefits. I wish her luck in finding further employment.

Brock Masters 5 years, 5 months ago

Or collecting it from the labor department. That place is a cluster.

bad_dog 5 years, 5 months ago

"It sounds like she qualifies for unemployment benefits."

Not if you were fired.

paulveer 5 years, 5 months ago

Only if you were fired for cause that has been documented. That doesn't appear to apply here.

volunteer 5 years, 5 months ago

Then sebelius got appointed by Obama, and like so many of his appointees, felt the need to hastily write a check for income taxes not paid. And her husband, if memory serves, is a judge.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 5 months ago

Brownback must be insane. First he appoints an incompetent former legislator. Then he fires her for no apparent reason. God help us all. I hope Kansas survives the Brownback years.

headdoctor 5 years, 5 months ago

More like he expected her to wash his feet or worse, and she objected.

classclown 5 years, 5 months ago

The headline as well as the first sentence of this article is wrong.

Since she was fired, that means she has no job. Since she has no job, that means she has no title. Ergo, she is not the Kansas Labor Secretary or "labor chief" as the headline puts it. Right now she is nothing.

Try this for a headline. "Newly unemployed women says governor fired her"

Or you could always use the word "former". They probably didn't teach you that trick up on Mound Oread,.

jesse499 5 years, 5 months ago

Sounds normal fire whoever does not automatically say yes to everything Brownbutt says.Sounds like Washington oh forgot Brownbutt was in Washington wasn't he you should have known.

JackMcKee 5 years, 5 months ago

Nothing is working in Kansas right now. It hasn't been as publicized as some of the other mishaps, but the Kansas Department of Revenue is an absolute train wreck under Brownback.

1983Hawk 5 years, 5 months ago

I wonder if they security "walk her out" like they did the veteran KDOT employees (as if they were some kind of threat) and everyone else who gets 15 seconds of notice and is not allowed to return for their personal belongings without making an appointment.

EJ Mulligan 5 years, 5 months ago

Can't help but wonder if the governor is sending a message to prospective Kansas legislators with this, to put up or shut up. It seems that some pretty reasonable senators and representatives are bending their views and ways such that they won't get in the governor's crosshairs in future political situations and/or elections.

Kate Rogge 5 years, 5 months ago

She was doing her job too well. Brownback will replace her with someone ideologically correct who will deny claims payments.

pace 5 years, 5 months ago

She probably didn't send her tithe to Kochees.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.