Excellent Letter, Wynn!!!!!!
Posted: 26 January 2014 05:43 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Great Letter to the Editor in today’s Mercury.  You point out the absurdity of handing over $1 million to a firm for the purpose of promoting Manhattan, then see that firm take 200 people and thousands of dollars OUT of Manhattan to Kansas City.  There are a couple of items that do need exclamation points.  One, being the attendance at this event of your supposedly co-conservative commissioner.  I see no justification for Matta attending this event other than than simply having the “important” people stroke his ego.
The second issue is the fact the numbers you quote at travel expense are extremely low.  In addition to the taxpayer being on the hook for travel expenses for four commissioiners and seven city employees, the event was attended by county commissioners, county employees, school board members, school district employees, and KSU employees.  Someone needs to do an in-depth evaluation/accounting of just what this event did cost the taxpayer…. besides the slap in the face to the citizens of Manahttan.  Manhattan is just does not rate high enough on the “Wow!” scale to have our own Chamber hold their annual event here. 
Again, super letter!!!!!

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Posted: 27 January 2014 07:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I suppose that several years ago the argument could be made that there were insufficient facilities in Manhattan to host such a conference. That’s not true, but it might have been tight fitting all those people into the existing hotel conference rooms at the time. Of course that argument can no longer be made, or if it can, the the southside is a failure in terms of development.
I suspect the real reason is that they prefer to conduct this affair outside Manhattan so they can operate and perhaps party a little without scrutiny. Just a guess.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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When I began to question this practice many years ago, the reasoning was getting folks away from their daily responsibilities so they could concentrate on the propaganda being tossed out by the Chamber.  They felt meeting held in Manhattan would allow folks to come and go, taking care of things far more important than a fraternity of the privileged.  Moving it out of town, also became a traditional “all expense paid jet-setting getaway” for Chamber staff and local government employees.  “Networking” could consist of getting hammered in Overland Park bars, without ever worrying about the “commoners” in Manhattan seeing the politically positioned in drunken stupors.  It has become tradition… an entitlement.
Today, Manhattan has pristine accomodations for large meeting.  Cell phones keep people in touch with their business responsibilities.  There is simply no justification, other than the entitlement issue, that this annual trek to Kansas City continues… at taxpayer expense.
I’ve always felt someone should ask for clarification re KOMA.  We have all three of the County Commissioners in a private meeting with a lobbyist organization.  If those commissioners hold any discussions between themselves, isn’t this a violation of KOMA?  We have 4 of the 5 City Commissioners in a private meeting with a lobbyist organization.  If those four discuss anything that invovles City business, isn’t that a violation of KOMA?  In addition to the squandering of tax dollars, I can’t see the citizens of Manhattan… if they were aware… wanting legislative policy decided in a closed meeting in Kansas City.

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Posted: 27 January 2014 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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When I first arrived in Manhattan in the seventies, there was really only one place that was designed for a group that size that had all the “necessary” facilities, and that was the old Ramada Inn which hosted lots of conferences. At that time it was pretty nice. There was a plain restaurant with everyday food and great breakfasts…I don’t recall the name. Then there was Bockers II for evening dinners…which was probably the best in town…and, of course the University Club which was right across the street from my office.
Of course, lots of important people in Manhattan ate and drank there, so this group would have been highly visible.

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