TOPEKA -- Representatives of the Kansas Department of
Social and Rehabilitation Services (SRS) met Tuesday with officials from Douglas
County and the City of Lawrence to sign formal agreements that allow SRS to
avoid closure of its service center office in Lawrence. During the
meeting, SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki told the city and county representatives
that the department's final budget recommendation to the governor will include
funds for operating the five locally financed SRS offices across the state.
Under the terms of the accord, Douglas County and the City
of Lawrence have agreed to provide temporary financial assistance that makes it
possible for SRS to achieve budget cuts mandated in the FY 2012 state budget
without having to close the Lawrence office. Client services at
the Lawrence SRS office have continued uninterrupted.
Late last summer SRS reached agreements with four other
communities, Fort Scot, McPherson, Pratt and Marysville, that allowed those
offices to remain open as well.
"I am extremely pleased that we signed this agreement
today, and I informed Douglas County and the City of Lawrence that SRS' final
budget recommendation for FY 2012 will include a request that the Legislature
provide funds to operate the five self-financed 5 offices across the state,"
Secretary Rob Siedlecki said.
"Mayor Aron Cromwell and I had a very productive meeting
today with Secretary Siedlecki. He assured us that his final budget request will
include funding for the Lawrence SRS office space beginning July 1, 2012. We
intend to actively support this budget request in order to eliminate any
financial obligation of the city or county after July 1, 2012," Douglas County
Commission Chairman Jim Flory said.
"I am happy that an effort to restore our SRS office
funding is under way. The funding help given by the city and county could only
be a temporary stop-gap, and the continuous operation of the SRS office here in
Lawrence is vital to the most vulnerable of our citizens," Mayor Aron Cromwell
"During the course of negotiations over this agreement, we
have developed a good working relationship with Douglas County and City of
Lawrence officials that should stand us in good stead going forward," Secretary