paulyouk (Paul Youk)


Comment history

Kansas inks efficiency study for $2.6M, rejecting lowest bid

Who wants to make predictions of what the report will find? We can compare notes on it later, but I bet that one item will be to recommend to shut down a # of DMV sites...

Here is a quick idea to save $2.6 million for the state. Cancel that contract and reverse the tax cuts created our budget problems in the first place.

October 6, 2015 at 7:06 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas inks efficiency study for $2.6M, rejecting lowest bid

What a joke. This firm has a history of being hand-picked by Republicans to conduct studies that conclude that solutions involve more spending cuts, layoffs of state employees and teachers, and more forms of privatization that the Republicans already want.

October 6, 2015 at 3:57 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Report: Kansas economy growing far slower than US economy

It takes a special breed of financial adviser to cheer-lead busted budgets, massive revenue shortfalls, and an economy in the crapper.

October 2, 2015 at 5:44 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Gov. Brownback reshuffles hundreds of state workers

I think it is sinister for state government to knowingly perpetuate an obvious economic failure and then screw with the jobs of thousands and the services of tens of thousands to try to compensate for that failure.

Even if it started out as just base incompetence, it is some sinister governing by this point.

October 2, 2015 at 3:16 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas tax collections $31M short of expectations last month

I would say the obvious step is to re-instate the old taxes you cut (you morons)...but lets face it, this is exactly the kind of on-going 'crisis' that will enable them to perpetually erode the public sector, something Brownback and Co. are perfectly fine with.

October 2, 2015 at 3:02 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Just Food raises $60,000 to pay tax debt, continue operating

I think the dollar values of the volunteer hours is probably inflated best they should match the lowest level value you actually pay your employees (i.e. if your volunteers are worth $18 an hour, shouldn't your actual staff be?). A few of those hours might be professionally oriented and therefore carry a higher market value, but with an estimated 17,000 hours, this is probably mostly people physically moving/stocking/distributing food.

On the $/hr for other staff, you should double check your math. There are *2* other employees, or 4160 hours....which figures to $12.57 per hour.

To me, that $12.57 figure would be a fairer estimate of volunteer hour worth, since that is what they actually pay their regular staff. However, I don't know what industry standards exist to estimate this stuff....would anyone in the community that does this for a local non-profit care to explain?

September 26, 2015 at 10:46 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Nonprofit board members to receive financial training amid Just Food scandal

Harder stuff that are also good ideas:

1) Have a way that staff and volunteers can anonymously report concerns and/or at least make sure that staff has an avenue to report problems without the director/CEO being able to directly retaliate against them. You can't expect people to report problems openly if they fear being fired or having their jobs made miserable.

2) Design the board to have its power structure rotate as possible. Beware of long-standing alliances between the CEO/director and a few key players on the board that always mutually re-inforces each other in any conflicts, decisions, etc. Sometimes that can happen naturally between the people who are most dedicated to organization over years (if everyone is competent and acting in the best interest of the org). However, other times it can be a sign that a few members of the board are protecting an incompetent CEO (for personal reasons or otherwise), while frustrated board members who can't hold people accountable simply walk away.

And thats all off the top of my head! We can't know if we are being lied too? I respectfully disagree!

September 21, 2015 at 10:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Nonprofit board members to receive financial training amid Just Food scandal

“Nobody is ever going to be able to detect things that have been altered or when deception has occurred,”

I find it disconcerting that the program and communications officer at DCCF would take this stance. If this were true, then you are saying that non-profits are perpetual targets for exploitation by con-artists and incompetent liars, and there is really nothing we can do about it. Is that really a stance DCCF finds acceptable?

The easy stuff:

1) Verify what Directors/CEOs/CFOs tell you by fact checking against objective sources, like bank statements. Farmer cooked the internal books, but did he cook the banks books too? Not likely. Boring, but super easy.

2) I'm 90% re-stating #1, but follow the money! Don't just trust what could be a doctored report, actually follow the whole chain of money, from donation to spending, using objective sources to verify as much as possible. Yes, this can be a logistical pain, especially during the heavy donation season, but try to do this as much as plausible, and don't just trust the director.

3) Don't let all information flow through the director/CEO. Have the board directly communicate with any book-keeper, outside accounting services, staff, volunteers etc., as is plausible. If your director is honest and competent, they should welcome this. If they are a lying charlatan who conceals their ineptitude and bad management, controlling the flow of information and exploiting asymmetries of information will be a cornerstone of how they can keep con going. When possible, try to double check what the director is telling you from other sources...without prior warning. See if the director's stories check out.

4) If you do have problems with people who report possible financial or workplace indiscretions, actually investigate them. Don't just trust the director/CEO.

5) If there is a great deal of turnover, especially firings, that should be a warning flag that you should investigate.

September 21, 2015 at 10:14 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Just Food board alleges Farmer overpaid himself by more than $52,000; criminal charges being pursued

This isn't about liberal/conservative, it is about right and wrong. People from across the whole political spectrum know it is wrong to steal, no less from a charity designed to feed hungry people. People of any creed or political persuasion can be fooled by a likable con-artist if they have their guard down and want to believe what they are being sold.

That said, Nancy is actually wrong. I met with Farmer a few times in a professional capacity in a prior job I had, and to me he seemed stunningly full of it. The stench was obvious if your nose was attuned to smell such things. The fact that the Just Food board could meet with him for several years and *no one* could tell he was full of it is a notion I'm pretty skeptical of.

My guess is that the people who had questions or suspicions were marginalized, rebuffed, ignored or otherwise incentivized to leave the board during Farmer's tenure.

September 17, 2015 at 12:36 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence engineers recommending lane reduction for stretch of Kasold Drive

They are safer and better. The arguments against them almost always boil down to, "but I'm not used to them and don't like them!"

September 1, 2015 at 10:21 a.m. ( | suggest removal )