The Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services has
reached agreements with four separate local units of government to keep SRS
Service Centers open in their communities.
Under the arrangements, the local governments—cities,
counties and sometimes both—agree to pay the state’s costs to keep the offices
running. Expenses include rent, utilities, copy machine rentals and other
The four offices that will remain open are: Lawrence, Fort
Scott, McPherson and Pratt. The other five offices, Coffeyville, Garnett,
Lyndon, Marysville and Wellington, will close by September 30.
The agency is also in the process
of merging six administrative regions into four. This plan
balances population, caseloads and staffing across the regions while
streamlining management at the same time. Maps detailing the newly formed
regions are attached.
The agency announced in early July that nine offices were
slated for closure in response to a mandate set by the Kansas Legislature to cut
$42 million in expenses, including $1 million in administrative costs. In
addition to office reorganization, the agency has also cut other expenses across
the board, such as cell phone costs and state-funded water coolers.
“Unlike previous administrations, we were more
than willing to meet with local governments to work out deals to keep SRS
offices open. They keep their local office and SRS meets its budget cutting
criteria. Everyone wins,” said SRS Secretary Rob Siedlecki.
From 2003-2010, 64 local SRS offices were shut down without
giving local communities the option keep their service centers open.
All of the agreements to keep the offices open are valid for
two years. The agreements are void if the local governments do not provide the
money, or if the legislature decides to appropriate funding for those offices at
any point during that two-year time frame.
Funding agreements between state government and local
government are not unusual. Until the late 1970s, when there was an SRS office
in every county, local governments paid the costs of keeping the facilities in
operation. The new agreements are similar also to the arrangement the state
judicial system has with local governments for county courthouses.