November 25, 2014

Public records again forefront of district discussion

Debbie Hickman
Special to The Gardner News
Public records were again the subject of a lengthy discussion at the Jan. 13 Gardner board of education meeting. Although an exact number of requests made but not paid for under the Kansas Open Records Act was not provided, Monday night’s debate was at least the third such discussion in the last few months.
The new public record policy was on the agenda but did not appear online until immediately prior to the meeting. The last policy changes were made in Spring 2013 with no prior discussion or public input.
Mark Grannell, board president, suggested Joseph Hatley, attorney, be directed to again rewrite the district’s public records policy indicating whether the district require prepayment, whether patrons could be denied information if they failed to pay, and who should be charged.
Gilhaus told the board that 95 percent of the district’s requests came from three entities and that all the others the district would try to accommodate.
During discussion Gilhaus said he would determine who was charged under KORA and who was not.
“It’s called discretion,” Gilhaus said. “Someone who makes repetitive requests, you charge. All the others you accommodate.”
The Kansas Open Records Act provides that all taxpayer-owned records are open, with a few exceptions. The district, as custodian of the records is required to have a public information officer to handle KORA requests and allows that a reasonable fee be charged.
After discussion, revisions were made to Hatley’s revisions and he was instructed to have them at the next board meeting.
There was no discussion of public input or a public hearing on the policy change.
A call to the district’s administrative office asking the exact number of requests, and the number of requests that have gone unpaid, was not answered by press time.

Comments

  1. Judith Rogers says:

    If citizens allow Gilhaus and his School Board to manage in this manner, they evidently have all lost their brains somewhere in the process. Gilhaus pretty much says if you bother me with questions that I do not want to answer, then I will stonewall you. And the city of Gardner operates in the same manner and it has all been going on for years. They both work closely together and lots and lots of slimy politics are involved. And both of these entities have the highest taxes in the state and county. And to put the cherry on top of the cake you are paying Gilhaus almost a quarter of a million dollars a year to treat you in this manner along with other bureaucrats like Cheryl Harrison-Lee who is the city manager for Gardner. And you pay higher than hell costs for pensions, health care, vacations, holidays, sick leave and on and on for government workers – citizens are already $10 BILLION in the hole for the Kansas pension plan. How does this happen? Because you have elected people into office who have allowed this to happen and who enable and support all of this. Citizens are not doing their jobs and they are paying higher and higher taxes because of it along with getting some slimy government with oodles of adverse affects. And people like Gilhaus and Harrison-Lee and many others know they can get by with it because they have for years because the people sit there sucking their thumbs and not much else. The citizens are just as morally corrupt as these lowlifes evidently – things just continue to get worse rather than better. History does repeat itself and citizens might want to inform themselves on the causes of the fall of Rome.

    These jaybirds will spend thousands and thousands of TAXPAYER dollars to find a way to not answer citizen inquiries and in many instances citizens are paying top dollars for attorneys who are supposed to protect the best interests of the citizens and yet they are telling these bureaucrats how to get around the Open Meeting and Open Records Acts. The corruption and slime cuts a wide swath in our communities and in most instances, the citizens themselves have allowed it to happen by going along to get along.

  2. Walter H. says:

    During discussion Gilhaus said he would determine who was charged under KORA and who was not. “It’s called discretion,” Gilhaus said. “Someone who makes repetitive requests, you charge. All the others you accommodate.”

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

    WHY are people not calling for the resignation of this guy?

    This is just one more feather in the hat of corrupt government. He is in charge of $100 million dollars of tax payer money and ensures that any attempt of accountability by the public is shut down.

    In my opinion he has lost the support of his employees, his peers and the community in which he “serves.” Unfortunately I believe the last school board rubber stamped his contract and now it will cost the tax payers a pretty penny to send him down the road.

  3. Walter H. says:

    The Superintendent did that determination with a request that I had made and, in my opinion, way over charged me for a document that I didn’t ask for.

    Their layer was used for this matter at around $250.00 an hour. It is impossible to figure out how many hours the USD was billed for the back and forth, but I’m sure it cost them more than it was worth…all so our Superintendent could apply his “discretion.” His “discretion” costs money that the USD doesn’t have to spend. Perhaps he should use his “dissection” and replace the math and reading specialists that were cut or retain some of the talented teachers that are fleeing every year for greener pastures.

  4. Judith Rogers says:

    In response to the previous post I say: Then pay the pretty penny and get him out of that job NOW – buy him out and get those Board members who enabled him voted out of office – I believe the dollars would be well spent and by doing so, I would hope a strong message would be sent to oodles of politicians and bureaucrats who operate in a similar, hateful, arrogant manner.

    The days of having humble public servants working for the well being of the community, whether it be a politician or a bureaucrat, are long gone. Most of those jaybirds are there for their own well being and the interests of the thieves – they don’t give a rat’s a– about the citizens. The role of the citizen is that of an ATM machine with no limit.

    I remember well when I found that error on Kimberly-Clark’s tax billing where they were getting a 75% tax incentive instead of the 50% tax incentive (I fought that 50% tax incentive with all of my being and for good reason) that was approved. That is not the only billing error I have found and not just with Kimberly-Clark involved and it is always me who has to pick up the phone to get things billed correctly. And do you think the city of Gardner or Gilhaus or the County or the Fire Dist., etc., etc. would ever pick up the phone or drop me note thanking me for taking the time to protect the citizens and the taxes these two entities receive for the needs of the community – hell no, they didn’t – they just treat me like white trash time and time again when I am requesting info and that is because I will be watching what they are doing and how they operate too and they also don’t want that oversight – they are so used to wheeling and dealing as they please and they want NO ONE to be looking over their shoulder. Johnson County is about the best government entity to deal with, however, they too have certain departments who operate just like Gilhaus. All of this stonewalling and ignoring citizen concerns such as those fraudulent “farm” appraisals need to stop and only the citizens will bring it about (I know from experience that only one person cannot bring about decent government) – if you haven’t noticed, your politicians and bureaucrats are doing very little for your best interests – they are just creating the very problems that are so terrible. And don’t think for a minute these jaybirds won’t treat you in a similar manner – they have done it to me time and time again and they will do it to ANYONE who is holding them accountable.

  5. Judith Rogers says:

    The bureaucrats and politicians really come up with some good ones when they are backpedaling. Today I heard Gov. Christie state: “we will fully cooperate with any appropriate inquiries”…….the key word here is “appropriate”……the good ole boys and girls in government/politics are always the ones to determine whether something is “appropriate” and the same theory applies to Gilhaus, the city of Gardner and many other government entities when THEY decide whether they will be “cooperating” and the extent of their cooperation with citizens and whose very government is involved. The day is long past when these jokers should be Charles in Charge and the citizens better get back into the mode of being Charles in Charge or their destiny and their pocketbooks are doomed even worse than they are today.

    I saw Mr. Gates, the former Defense Secretary, on 60 Minutes last Sunday and have heard several excerpts from his book on several other shows. I have always admired Mr. Gates for his integrity and the job he has done so well for the citizens. He made it very clear that he has very little respect for Congress and D.C. due to his experiences with the politicians and bureaucrats. I could certainly relate to how he felt. I find it almost impossible to laud any politician or bureaucrat due to my experiences with many of them and if I ever find Mr. Gates is not the person I hold in high esteem, it would be another hurtful experience but would not be surprising to me.

    I always encourage citizens to be well informed but that is not to say it will be pleasant.

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