robchestnut (Rob Chestnut)


Comment history

Editorial: Revenue insult

This is not a matter of who won an election. Honestly, I think that the point has no relevance. The issue is a higher responsibility of administering the business of the State of Kansas with transparency that is essential to the public trust. It is not an option.

Revenue estimates are the basis upon which the state budget is put together. Comparisons to the previous year are completely irrelevant. If revenue estimates fall short, it triggers the need to reduce spending below budgeted levels. This is a scorecard that the legislature, the public and all the stakeholders (school administrators in particular) need to know.

I do not see this move as an insult to my intelligence. It is a fundamental violation of the obligation that the Governor has to his constituents.

October 6, 2016 at 7:36 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawrence Public Library leaders say pay lags that of other libraries

I appreciate Mr. Allen advocating for his employees. Several other employee groups within the City of Lawrence have looked at peer communities to ensure compensation is competitive. Both the Lawrence Police Department and the Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical Department have representation to provide data to the City Commission each year in order to consider budget requests.

The fact is that all of the analysis of wages misses a large portion of costs provided to employees including the medical plan, vacation plan and the longevity bonus funded almost every year by the City Commission.

If the City Commission really wants to study compensation, it should be done comprehensively across all departments including all benefits provided for city employees. This will take time and investment, but it would definitely give more insight into the competitive position of each department. It would also provide a level playing field for all employees to have equal consideration by the City Commission each budget year.

August 28, 2016 at 3:10 p.m. ( | suggest removal )

City manager: Positions on chopping block are 'nontraditional'

I was on the commission in 2008 when the City Auditor was hired. This initiative was suggested by the prior commission. The existing commission moved forward with the creation of the department.

From 2007-2011, the mill levy remained flat and generated a surplus in the general fund each year. The preceding year the general fund had a $3.5M deficit spend. The City Auditor department was created and funded in 2008.

I think it is unfair to characterize any particular position as the genesis of the current deficit situation. Obviously, there are other cost drivers that contribute to the situation faced now by the City. I appreciate the City Manager's attempt to balance the budget. Ultimately, the City Commission must decide the priorities.

Oversight is important. Regardless of the decision, I hope that there will be provision made for a process to review internal operations within the City of Lawrence. This is a necessary accountability that is healthy for any large organization whether public or private.

July 12, 2016 at 3:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Analysis: Brownback's view of Kansas economy as a 'three-legged stool' no longer accurate

Randolf, I do like to take people at their word. However, I agree that intent must be evaluated in the face of the evidence. When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

June 28, 2016 at 11:50 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Analysis: Brownback's view of Kansas economy as a 'three-legged stool' no longer accurate

It is clear that the current administration in Topeka has little understanding of what drives the economy in the State of Kansas. The most disappointing aspect of our Governor’s policy is a willingness to risk basic services on the theory that growth will fill all the gaps left by a poor tax policy.

The delusion that tax-exempt status for the self-employed will create jobs is digging us into a hole partially filled by sales tax that is inherently regressive and unsustainable.

Tax reductions can be one of many factors in attracting and retaining a company in any industry. Work force availability, education and infrastructure will ultimately be the criteria that must be in place for any growth to happen. We are losing ground on all fronts.

June 28, 2016 at 10:26 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: System failure

The privatization of any public agency needs to be called into question. The concept that great efficiency is gained by this action has not proven out in this case nor any I can recall in Kansas or any other state. If cuts are necessary, I would much rather present the challenge of lower spending to an agency that is already in place versus a new vendor. The private sector is great for some things, but they are not always the answer.

March 31, 2016 at 10:19 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

City manager refuses to make decision on $1 million police over-hire, sends it to City Commission

This is a good decision by Mr. Markus that should place the responsibility for spending priorities with the elected officials.

March 29, 2016 at 7:31 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Editorial: School denial

This is not a liberal or conservative issue. A fundamental responsibility of the legislature is funding of public schools. The tug-of-war between the legislature and the court leaves school administrators unable to predict their budget funding for the next school year. Good teachers leave the profession, and Kansans will see the adverse effects for decades.

February 17, 2016 at 6:52 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Lawsuit filed against city over denial of south Iowa Street shopping center

There are a lot of comments across the board about the merits of development and who pays for infrastructure. However, at this point it is not relevant. The commission provided a vague interpretation of the zoning requirement for this piece of property. The property owner has the right to ask the court to decide whether or not their interpretation was reasonable. The commission does not have an exclusive right to approve or deny a request without good cause.

Mr. Heckler is correct that those who buy real estate take a risk for an expectation of return However, they also have the expectation that a predictable process will be in place to move forward. The current property owner who owns a property annexed into the City and paying property taxes (with special assessments for infrastructure) should have a reasonable expectation that they can obtain a return for their investment.

I am concerned that some of the discussion by the commission was directed at a desire to steer development to other pieces of property. It is bad precedent to select winners and losers when the focus should be on creating a level playing field for everyone.

In the end, all parties are pursuing their rights. The City has a right to defend its decision. The developers have a right to contest the ruling to judge its reasonableness.

This proposal demonstrates the challenge we have as a community to provide clarity regarding our development policy.

February 6, 2016 at 11:29 a.m. ( | suggest removal )

Kansas senator blocks testimony from female witnesses with 'low-cut necklines and miniskirts'

He can't see the forest for the trees.

January 22, 2016 at 11:12 a.m. ( | suggest removal )