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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Brownback’s office redacts names of Court of Appeals candidates from his schedule

August 28, 2013, 1:13 p.m. Updated August 28, 2013, 5:03 p.m.

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— Responding to a request under the Kansas Open Records law, Gov. Sam Brownback on Wednesday refused to reveal the names of candidates for a position on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Last week, Brownback nominated his chief counsel, Caleb Stegall, to the second highest court in Kansas, saying that Stegall was the most qualified candidate.

But breaking with decades of practice, Brownback has refused to reveal the names of other applicants for the job.

The League of Women Voters of Kansas filed a request under the Open Records Act for the schedules of Brownback, Stegall, Chief of Staff Landon Fulmer, and the governor’s Appointments Director Kim Borchers from July 15 to Aug. 16 to try to find out who else was interviewed.

Brownback’s office released the schedules but redacted the names of those interviewed, citing an exemption in the Kansas Open Records Act.

That provision exempts from the law “personnel records, performance ratings or individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment, except that this exemption shall not apply to the names, positions, salaries or actual compensation employment contracts or employment-related contracts or agreements and lengths of service of officers and employees of public agencies once they are employed as such.”

Under a new law that was pushed for by Brownback and Stegall, the governor nominates Court of Appeals judges with Senate confirmation.

Under the former law, a nominating commission accepted applications, vetted applicants and conducted interviews before forwarding to the governor three names from which the governor selected.

The nominating commission had made public the names of those applying and those who made the final cut.

Brownback has said if he revealed the names of applicants, some potential applicants would shy away.

Dolores Furtado, the president of the Kansas chapter of the League of Women Voters, said she was disappointed that Brownback will not reveal the names of those who were interviewed.

“My goal is transparency,” Furtado said. “That is so important in the process that the government operates under. We are left with no comparisons, no way of knowing the quality of the applicants.”

She said that Brownback’s statement that Stegall was the most qualified “can’t be verified.”

She said Brownback’s administration “is among the most secretive in recent memory.”

Furtado said the League will try to inform people about the new process of selecting judges “so people can make informed decisions.”

The calendars provided in response to the League of Women Voters’ request showed interviews for judicial candidates took place, but no names are provided.

Stegall will face a Senate committee confirmation hearing on Tuesday, the start of a special session that was called to fix the state’s Hard 50 sentencing law for convicted murderers.

Comments

mikekt 7 months, 3 weeks ago

I would imagine that Brownie spent that time in his Capitol Hill Prayer Room, thinking up new and ingenious ways for himself and his crew, to "PREY" on the publics gullibility .

There will always be some people whom anyone.....even Brownie....can fool !!!

He has a bridge full of reasons and reasoners to sell to you,...... at a GREAT PRICE!!!!.............like your right to vote,..... or to be seen and heard in a court of law by a qualified judge, who has an open mind capable of unbiased judgement, who comes with a track record, as an experience judge .

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mikekt 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownie, Kobach & their Legislative supporters are just hoping that somebody sues them so they can hand out the excuse that it is a legal matter before a court of law so that they can't comment on it !......and force the press on to the next slimy act !

Hope that the ACLU or whom ever might sue them takes their time, as these daily nonsensical excuses and actions are entertaining....and inform the public about the level of slime in Topeka !

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yourworstnightmare 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Brownback is being needlessly secretive. I think his actions imply nefarious deeds when in actuality none likely exist. So he only interviewed his ideological comrades and/or picked a less-qualified candidate? So what? Take the heat.

It is troublesome that Brownback's first inclination is secrecy. This is a pattern he has established and is continuing with this redaction.

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Ronnie24 7 months, 3 weeks ago

What a jerk Brownback is! I did not vote for him, and I will NOT in the next election. The ONLY way things will change is for EVERYONE votes. I know Brownback CAN be defeated! Remember all this crap and the crap that will be coming, election time and make your vote count!!!

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wprop 7 months, 3 weeks ago

All the other candidates are graduates of Devenshire University.................

0

smileydog 7 months, 3 weeks ago

At least he's more transparent than the Obama Administration. Why isn't the League on Obama's butt?

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Tracy Rogers 7 months, 3 weeks ago

This guy is the worst governor our state has seen in a long long time. And to think he was promising more transparency while he was campaigning, and he has done the complete opposite since taking office. Where are all the people who voted for him? How can you possibly defend this weasel?

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oldexbeat 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Liar Sammy doesn't want you to know that other then talking to Phillll Kilne, a couple Koch Brothers and Rick Perry, he didn't interview anyone. At all.

His appointment got turned down twice -- Sammy changes the rules -- gets the guy that defended Phillll Kline. Oh Boy.

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smitty 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Time for Kansans to use the ballot and vote to retain or not when this judge's name comes up on the ballot..how long will that be I am not aware......at this poiint the league of women voters need to educate the public on the ballot and voter responsiblity .....same with any judge in Ks....it is important for news sources to name the judges when reporting so we can make an informed choice at the voting booth....

We are each of us responsible for the evil we may have prevented James Martineau-philosopher and Unitarian Minister

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question4u 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Don't hold your breath expecting transparency in Kansas. Transparency is not a trait of third-world governments. It leads to inconvenient things like justice.

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hillsandtrees 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It appears that Caleb Stegall was present at all the interviews?

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optimist 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Thanks to Scott for getting the facts about the law into this article. It would have been a more accurate headline if it read; Brownback’s office redacts names of Court of Appeals candidates pursuant to law.

0

optimist 7 months, 3 weeks ago

"...individually identifiable records pertaining to employees or applicants for employment, except that this exemption shall not apply to the names, positions, salaries or actual compensation employment contracts or employment-related contracts or agreements and lengths of service of officers and employees of public agencies once they are employed as such." Everyone here so far act as though he has a choice here. He is following the letter and the intent of the Open Records act to the letter. The law is very clearly stated. These records are not public, including the names of applicants, until such time as one is employed by the State. This isn't about transparency or politics. He is not President Obama who ignores laws he doesn't like or tries to create laws he hasn't the authority to create. The candidates that applied or were nominated for this position have the right to their privacy. How would you like your current boss to know that you are looking for a new job? Anyone trying to make this a political issue in the face of facts are hacks and can't be taken seriously, ever.

0

Lefty54 7 months, 3 weeks ago

The last thing Brownback and Kobach want is transparency. The less the voters know the better. The more people they can keep from voting the better.

It is all very shameful that Kansas puts up with these wannabe dictators.

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irvan moore 7 months, 3 weeks ago

he doesn't care what we think and why should he, the good people of Kansas will re-elect him based on his good Christian values while he ruins education, working peoples rights, and the government programs that help truly needy people

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fearthephog512 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Ironic he constantly criticizes the Feds for everything they do — and then he applies their system of appointing a judge! Oink oink

12

oldbaldguy 7 months, 3 weeks ago

He is going to be reelected. This is real chickens***. the public should know who the other applicants were.

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Thomas Bryce 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Great! So, Now it takes Litigation just to find out what our elected officials are doing on a daily basis? This is absurd. Does anyone still have questions about whether this whole process has been "On the Up and Up"? Keep digging Governor. The Hole is getting deeper by the day. Of course, the hole gets bigger quicker when you have SO much help.

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booklover2 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Either that schedule has been wiped clean or he really doesn't do anything. Probably both!

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tomatogrower 7 months, 3 weeks ago

He really doesn't want anyone to know that there were more qualified applicants. How is his government more transparent? Come on supporters of Brownback. How do you defend this?

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