August 1, 2014

Newspaper alleges that board violated KOMA

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com
The Gardner News has requested that Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe investigate the USD 231 board of education for two alleged Kansas Open Meetings Act violations.
The complaint stems from a series of emails the newspaper received in which school board members discuss how to deal with open records requests from constituents.
The email chain, which The Gardner News alleges may constitute a serial meeting, discusses a request by Gardner resident Walter Hermreck for the district’s official enrollment numbers.
In an email, board member Rob Shippy asked superintendent Bill Gilhaus to supply Hermreck the information. In response, Gilhaus carbon-copied all members of the board, not using their published district email accounts.
“After discussion with the board of education, it was determined we would always attempt to meet any reasonable requests for information in a timely manner; however, not at the expense of losing focus of our student’s learning,” Gilhaus wrote to Shippy.
Shippy responded to Gilhaus’ email, suggesting that the board, at a future meeting discuss how to handle open record requests.
Board member James Repshire responded to Shippy, copying all board members, saying Shippy’s emails made him angry. He offered to meet with Shippy at a Baldwin City restaurant to discuss the topic in person.
Repshire’s email garnered a response from board member Tresa Boden. She copied all members. The thread wraps with an email from Mark Grannel suggesting that the board meet in executive session to discuss what information the district is obligated to provide to patrons.
The board met in executive, or private, session at its next meeting in early November.
The Gardner News sent the string of emails, which can be read in their entirety on the newspaper’s website, to Bryan Denton, an investigator for the district attorney’s office.
In an email, Denton said he is working with the district attorney to determine if the emails violate KOMA.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    I should send Brian Denton my string of e-mails to the city of Gardner that started on Nov. 15, 2013 where I was attempting to secure the city of Gardner’s present TOTAL debt………still don’t have it and again, just like the school district, in my opinion, it is due to the arrogant, hateful attitudes of certain city employees and the City Council doing absolutely nothing to bring about an attitude adjustment at City Hall that is so needed and that is because most of the Council also don’t actually work for the citizens. Sad pathetic messes at both levels of government and it is caused by the apathy of the citizens in my opinion. If the bureaucrats and politicians are not held accountable, then you will continue to have big problems.

    Here is another big problem and citizens better be paying attention. Choices made in the voting booth do have consequences. Brownback is using one of the most used risk management tools………..transfer my problem to another entity or entities……wonder if the city of Gardner or our school district is ready for this one and even more important, are the CITIZENS of those government entities ready for this…….

    KPERS shifts (balance sheet) shortfall to local governments; change could affect borrowing

    By Citycode Financial

    A change in national accounting standards will take much of an estimated $10 billion in projected pension debts from the state of Kansas and disperse them among the balance sheets of local governments next year.

    Alan Conroy, executive director of the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System, explained the Governmental Accounting Standards Board’s changes to a legislative committee Tuesday, spurring concerns from legislators about whether local governments are aware of them.

    KPERS currently serves not only state employees but also public workers from about 1,500 cities, counties, school districts and other forms of local government, such as water districts.

    Starting next year, those entities will need to carry the KPERS “unfunded actuarial liability” — or the amount the system has promised above what it is projected to produce — for their employees on their own balance sheets rather than the state carrying it all.

    “So our balance sheet will actually look better and the locals will look worse,” said Sen. Jeff Longbine, R-Emporia.

    Longbine said the change could make it more difficult for local governments to borrow money for building projects.

    “It could affect the bond ability or bond cost of some of our municipalities,” Longbine said.

    Conroy said his office was working on a breakdown for each entity based on number of public employees, their terms of service and other factors.

    “We’ll provide them information that will tell them their share of the unfunded pension liability,” Conroy said.

  2. Judith Rogers says:

    Here are the ads I have seen since July 2013 that the city of Gardner has placed and I presume these positions have been filled.

    7-31-13
    Fiscal Services Division Manager – Salary range up to $87,072
    Accountant – Salary up to $54,624
    City Administration Management Analyst – Salary up to $73,212

    8-10-13
    Water/Wastewater Mgr. – Salary up to $87,000

    8-17-13
    Wastewater Plant Mgr. – Salary up to $50,024
    Network Administrator – Salary up to $80,592

    8-24-18
    Maintenance Worker Street & Line Maintenance – Salary up to $42,910

    9-7-13
    Police Officer – Salary up to $54,621
    Records Clerk (Police) – Salary $35,360

    9-23-13
    Executive Asst. to Electric Director – Salary up to $50,024

    10-2-13
    Maintenance Worker Wastewater Treatment – Salary up to $42,890
    Planner – Salary up to $73,212

    10-30-13
    Wastewater Plant Operator – Salary up to $50,024

    ******************************************************************

    These are positions requested to be filled only for less than 6 months and I feel sure these are not the only positions for 2013. I hope citizens keep in mind they will not just be paying salaries for these positions but also BENEFITS for these employees and as you can see the great present that Brownback has given to local government entities, the pension shortages are truly going to be something that will cost big bucks. Your new city manager with the approval of your City Council has been most busy setting up huge costs for citizens to cover and these costs for a dinky little town of only 20,000 people – put that together with what Gilhaus and his School Board and the ignorant people who voted for that last school bond election brought to you and every citizen should be humped over some more from the heavy load they have to carry. Apathy and going along to get along does have adverse affects. No wonder the city of Gardner doesn’t want to tell me what their present TOTAL debt is and to say nothing about what is coming down the pike. Citizens get the lousy government and high costs they deserve by not doing their jobs and that is holding the jerks accountable or going along with all of the crap that goes on.

  3. Judith Rogers says:

    I also want to add that according to an article in the Star dated 9-12-13, the private industry employers spent an average of $29.11 an hour for employee compensation and that includes employee benefits. In state and local governments, the toal compensation cost per employee hour averaged $42.09.

    Citizens might want to be asking the city of Gardner and the school district what their average total compensation package is for their employees. And then, of course, citizens should look closely at what Cheryl Harrison-Lee and Gilhaus’s compensation packages are with a total breakdown of salary and benefits given. Both of these individual’s got very sweet deals in my opinion from their city council and school board and the people are electing those individuals into office. The big question is who is working for who – I certainly have a strong opinion on that one and I go into the hole more each year due to citizen apathy and citizen choices in the voting booth and those citizens/corporations/LLCs, LPs, etc. who go along to get along or get what they want from the politicians and bureaucrats.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    I know those jerks getting their fraudulent farm appraisals which almost totally eliminates their property tax responsibility are laughing on their way to the bank and you have city and county governments and legislators, like Sutton, who are doing absolutely NOTHING to stop that wrongdoing – again citizens need to be asking themselves who these bureaucrats and politicians work for – it sure as hell isn’t the average citizen in my opinion and that is just ONE example of how the little guy gets screwed on a daily basis. And citizens keep supporting and enabling these back stabbers………more ignorance, fear and regression with a high price tag……………..

  5. Judith these would all make great facebook posts.

  6. Walter H. says:

    Here is one more situation where the School District will use their $250.00 an hour attorney to figure out a way around the spirit of the law….all at the tax payers expense. In my opinion we are starting to see a pattern at the USD 231 head office…

    I feel that these actions bring embarrassment and discredit to our school district. When you have lost the support of your subordinates, your peers and the public I personally think it’s time for certain people to start considering employment elsewhere. These actions only hurt the reputation of our district.

    To quote BOE Rob Shippy, “The accolades, the awards, mean nothing if it is not done with character and integrity from the top down.”

    I could not agree with this more. I believe it’s time to start talking about cleaning house and finding people that will lead with character and integrity. How can these people talk about character traits to the students when every time you pick up a paper you read something like this?

  7. Judith Rogers says:

    Gilhaus has already looked for employment elsewhere – the jerk applied for his KPERs retirement, got it and then that School Board rehired him as a double-dipper. The people are going to have to put a stop to this conniving. I saw just the other day that Mike Meadors who was in charge of the Jo.Co. Parks and Rec department got his KPERs retirement and then was hired by the city of Olathe as their parks director. Mike Press has done it, I believe that financial guy with USD 231 has done it and I am sure there are many more throughout the state of Kansas. Greedy SOBs as far as I am concerned – if these so-called “public servants” want to retire, then so be it and citizens are probably better off for it but DON’T ALLOW them back into another or the same government entity – let them go to work for the private sector but I doubt if they could cut it unless it was for some other thief just like them.

    Do you think good ole Clown Sutton could help the people on this by submitting a bill in the next legislative session??? I highly doubt it – he counts on those types of jerks to get re-elected.

  8. darralvg78 says:

    Judith,

    Every government employee, not just the big wigs, can “double dip”. Teachers do it. Janitors do it. The clerks at the local DMV can do it. I agree that it maybe shouldn’t be that easy but to call them “greedy SOBs” is not fair and out of line. That is how the laws work right now. If you want to change that, then find some people in state legislature that agree with you.

  9. Judith Rogers says:

    Those Red Republicans in Topeka and across the state, a good example is Sutton, will not be doing the right thing for average citizens – they made those laws or enable and support them and they aren’t about to change them because lowlifes rub shoulders with other lowlifes and they take care of each other and why we have the problems we have. They sure as hell allow those fraudulent “farm” appraisals for the thieves and they won’t be righting that wrong either. Just be ready to pay up and take care of all of these takers – the price tag for slimy politics gets higher each year.

    And if citizens think Howe is going to do his job as it should be done, then you will be sorely disappointed, in my opinion, as he tells Gilhaus and the School Board to take training on the Open Meetings Act and the Open Records Act to hold them accountable. Just like the city of Gardner, those jaybirds know exactly what they are doing and how and when – no amount of training is going to change their stripes or how they operate in order to get what they want. Their conniving will just become a little more refined and their propaganda more slimy. And the citizens will continue to go along with the loss of moral values these yahoos exhibit and some of them never had a moral value to begin with.

  10. Judith Rogers says:

    Cronyism government is alive and well here in Kansas Red Republican Land and none of those jokers at the state capitol will be doing anything about it – they will just be adding to it and that is because the citizens keep voting those jerks into office and then re-electing them year after year. You get the lowlife government you deserve by what you enable and support.

  11. Let’s see:

    1) Complaining about a KORA request that doesn’t have anything to do with the article even though it has been explained to her that she isn’t entitled to anything she asks for, just records that were created and stored. Check!

    2) Complaining about City Employee Wages on a BOE article. Check!

    3) Farm appraisal comment that I am sure that she has in a word document somewhere so that she can just copy and paste it into EVERY article on GN even if it doesn’t apply. Check!

    4) Personal insults to public employees. Check!

    5) Insulting the State Representative on an non-related post. Check!

    6) Insulting the Governor on a non-related post. Check!

    Way to just work down your checklist. I haven’t seen you mention ‘nonamers’ yet though. But I’m sure you’ll do that on your next one addressing me because my handle is Nate L. and with that clever handle no one would ever figure out that I’m Nate Louderback (see what I did there?) who lives on 186th ST and Cherry CT. But I don’t take responsbilitity for my posts.

    Keep up the good work!

  12. Judith Rogers says:

    Nate Louderback, I know it hurts down to your bones to have your GOOD Republican mates discussed or held responsible and when I read the comments/lies/propaganda made on the Gardner/Edgerton Republican Facebook page or view Sutton’s website, I really don’t know how you could be trashing me with the example you Red Republicans present every day of the week………..hold your breath waiting on me to change my message, Nate – my message is pretty much the same time and time again and that is because I am NOT a slimy politician – just a fed up citizen like so many across the U.S.

  13. Judith Rogers says:

    Here is an example for citizens to see how Nate Louderback and his cronies waste their time…….they will be running for office in the future and you will be reminded again why our cities, counties and states have such huge problems and that is because citizens continue to enable and support candidates of this caliber……………you get the government you deserve, especially here in Kansas ……….

    *****************************************************************************************************

    Nate Louderback
    I have finally done it. Everyone knows that besides the brilliant reporting at GardnerNews the 2nd reason anyone reads that website is to bust a gut laughing at JRs comments. So I have created a Bingo card with some of her finer expressions. If anyone is willing to play, here are the rules: 1) Only one word per comment, but you can pick any word you need 2) When you get a bingo, you post on the GN thread ‘BINGO’ then send me your list. I’ll check it and then we can start again. Any takers?
    Share · 23 hours ago

  14. Bingo!

  15. Sad, sad.

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