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2015 Chambers Leader Retreat - In Overland Park Again
Posted: 19 February 2014 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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The Chamber Board voted on Tuesday to have the next Leaders Retreat in Overland Park.

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Posted: 19 February 2014 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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So let’s see now a special interest group scheduled a brain washing 100 + miles away from our fair city. Now they will swindle the tax payer’s elected officials to not only condone their activities but be a part of it so they too can be brain washed into believing that their view is the only one that counts. In fact not all of their members are tax payers of this city. So other than the standard blow hard answer we get from our leaders that have been elected how about some leading and refuse to be a part of it unless it is held here where ALL TAXPAYERS may be a part of it? I do not want to hear about FOCUS, ATTENTION, No Interruptions and all the other lame excuses. If the information is relative and important people will listen and react. We do NOT need to continue to over pay for information that can be obtained from another source. The majority of the commissions both city and county along with whomever else gets tax money should be ashamed and if they partake then they should be voted out and replaced by people with a back bone. I am tired of being held hostage or robbed of my hard earned tax money. All of this and the special interest groups charge is suppose to be to promote what we have here. Then to do what they are paying to do there, using the meeting facilities “Good Management”, yeah right.
The Commission should vote for “NO Attendance” right away and enforce it. This is a continual slap in THEIR face and the arrogance of that group is allowed to continue because the Commission has not shown any resemblance of unity and back bone to STOP IT.
Leader’s Retreat, No this is a Closed Door PRIVATE meeting with elected city officials and staff.
Just a taxpayer’s point of view

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Posted: 19 February 2014 05:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Many years the entire City Commission… this past year 4 of the 5 City Commissioners… attend a meeting in Kansas City.  The meeting is put on by a group that lobbies for… and receives… over $1 million/year in tax money from the City.  The meeting is put on by a group that campaigns for and does PowerPoint presentations in favor of a ballot referendum that raises sales tax.  Just where does KOMA come in?  Has anyone ever asked the Attorney General to consider whether this is even a lawful gathering?  Three elected bodies, all from the same community, attend this two-day political lobbying session.  City Commission, County Commission, and School Board all attend.  You will also find Pott County elected officials and Geary County elected officials.  All spend tax dollars to attend a “marketing” session to make sure these elected bodies know who weidls the power in our region.  This entire “summit” in Kansas City smells.  When you see elected officials and pubic employees caravan from Manhattan to Kansas City… at taxpayer expense… with they noses glued to the buttocks of a private entity the taxpayers should call them to task. 

The City Commissoin just voted for the means of handling long term financing of the new conference center.  The taxpayers of Manhattan will shoulder significant costs in order to see the conference center paid for.  The City Commission and the Chamber will spend tax dollars in Kansas City rather than utilize and support the local conference center. 

No surprise, here.  As long as our elected officials allow themselves to be puppets for this “shadow governement” organization, it will continue. 

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Posted: 19 February 2014 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Most of them probably just want to party without spouses.
What bothers me is that we’re probably paying for it, indirectly at least
When we give them more than a million a year in funny money, it surely frees up some funds elsewhere for the foie gras

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Posted: 19 February 2014 10:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I have always been concerned about travel expenses, and as a result have not gone on any trips at taxpayer expense.  I did go to the conference in 2013, with spouse and paid my own way.  I wanted to visit the WWI museum in KC anyway, so made it a weekend. That museum is worth a trip to KC.  The 2013 conference was OK, but confirmed to me that the idea of sending masses of staff was just not worth it.  The City manager only sent half as many people in 2014 as 2013 (so I optimistically see that as progress).  I will not use tax dollars to attend the 2015 conference and may not go at all.  The City Manager makes a case that some folks from the city should attend so as not to get blindsided by events and to play a role in squelching miss information.  It will require three Commissioners to agree to put the topic on the agenda for a vote. If that happens the commission could vote not to allocate any travel funds to that particular conference.  It will still take place, and anyone from the city could go – at personal expense.  It will be interesting to see if three Commissioners would/will actually vote to restrict travel funds for this event.

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Posted: 20 February 2014 12:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I really don’t care about this, but for someone to say that he must be there to “squelch misinformation” and “avoid blindsiding” makes no sense. Is business being done at these things or not?
Because I think there are State laws about such things, aren’t there?

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Posted: 20 February 2014 08:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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The conference is legal. It does not violate the open meeting act. Discussion does center on local issues and that is why the staff feels like they should be in the loop.  The Conference would not take place if any thing illegal was in evidence.  The Chamber has the right to schedule the conference where they desire and as long as the provisions of the Kansas Open Meeting act are followed nothing is illegal when local officials attend.  Local government does not however have to concur and can voice non concurrence by not funding participation.

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Posted: 20 February 2014 08:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Those are some mighty proclamations, Wynn.  Such absolutes!  Issues are “discussed” but no decisions are made? If it was illegal, it wouldn’t be happening?  That’s got to be the best one I’ve heard since Sammie Brownback’s Republican “dinners” at the Governor’s mansion.
What, exactly, occurs there that we must fund your staff’s participation?  It’s either “schmoozing” or it’s business.  Neither of which rate our tax dollars, do they?

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Posted: 20 February 2014 09:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Randall:  I posted the best information that I have available.  I do not agree with the logic and reasoning for why the staff wants to participate.  Understand it is not my staff, but the City Managers Staff. He has full authority to send them to any conference he likes.  The only way to prevent that, as I mentioned earlier is to withhold the funds.  It should be clear that I do not support having the conference in Overland Park and second I do not think we should spend any tax dollars to support the event.  Others do not agree.  But the fact remains that no evidence exists of any illegal activity.  Disagreement and illegal are two very different concepts.

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Posted: 20 February 2014 10:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Let me get this right now, the participation happens because the manager hired by the commission has full dictator ship to send staff and go to a special interest retreat that is put on by a special interest group that is also hired by the commission. All to discuss the future and course the city should take in the future coming months. Well who is the commission then? Sure doesn’t appear to be our elected officials. Mandate comes to mind, but then like I said no backbone from the majority of the elected commission. These discussions are by and for the clicks in the group and not the normal taxpayer flipping the tab.These meetings being held outside our own facilities confirms to me that the chamber is NOT doing what they are soaking us a million dollars for. What’s it take then a petition and outcry from taxpayers to force proper actions from the people that SHOULD be calling the shots? The commission is nothing more than a puppet. Sad, truly sad and all that condone this to continue, well I have nothing good to say about their actions.

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Posted: 20 February 2014 11:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Sorry Wynn.  I’m just a little slow on the uptake.  What, exactly, happens at this thing?  Is it just schmoozing?  Or are projects and priorities promoted at this thing?

Is there a Schedule of Conferences with Topics that you receive with your invitation?  May that would be helpful.

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Posted: 21 February 2014 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S FAQ RE KOMA….

“Does a meeting have to be “prearranged” for the KOMA to apply?
No.  All that is required is that the three elements of a meeting occur; (a) An interactive discussion (NOTE: discussion alone triggers the KOMA, it is not necessary that action or votes be taken); (b) by and between at least a majority of the body; (c) on matters relating to the functions of that body. All three elements must be present to trigger the KOMA.”

“Can a majority of members of a public body informally discuss public matters outside of an open meeting?
No.  Informal discussions before, after, or during recesses of a public meeting are subject to the KOMA. “

“Is it OK to privately discuss public matters as long as no action is taken?
Binding action or voting is not necessary; discussion is what triggers KOMA.”

City and County Commissons have a MAJORITY of the body present at these lobby sessions.  Are we to assume the three County Commissioners or four City Commissioners never visit with each other re topics such as the Fieldhouse fiasco, etc.???  As indcated above, no action needs taken.  Mere discussion of topics by a majority of a body violates KOMA.

“Can members attend a general interest meeting of another group?
Yes, as long as they refrain from any private discussions on the affairs of their body, they may attend conferences where general topics are being presented.”

This comment from the AG may be what the elected officials use as an excuse.  They call it a “conference where general topics are being disucssed”.  These are NOT “general topics”.  This conference is put on by an entity that receives over $1 million/year in tax dollars.  This entity openly campaigns for tax dollars going for future projects that the elected bodies will be voting on. 
Even if one would get an opinion from the AG that this meeting skirts the boundries of KOMA, it still is the “appearance of impropriety”... something that is covered in the City’s Ethics Policy.  Sad…..

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Posted: 22 February 2014 09:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Dave:  The system is set up so that all of the staff work for the Manager.  The City Manager is the only employee of the Commission.  As City Manager he is empowered to make a number of decisions and can spend sums of money without commission approval to include travel.  The Commission can always exercise constraint as the City Manager does respond to direction given by the group.  But he does not respond to individual Commissioners, it always takes at least three.  Will work on putting this to a vote so we have an official record of the stance of all five commissioners.  The result may or may not valid some of the comments posted.  Public comment on the topic at Commission meetings has not been in evidence.
Larry:  Good summation of the KOMA and the justification.  Legal is one thing, appearance quite another.

Randall:  It is more schmooze at the conference as everyone is aware of the legal requirements that Larry outlined.  The Chamber publishes an agenda and that included topics to be presented along with break out/discussion sessions.  The Conference that I attended was all about Regionalism that theme was continued this year.  The goal was to push concepts of regionalism.  Does it have an impact?  You could say yes, we have an MPO, a Flinthills Regional Council and soon a Flinthills Transient Authority.  The region push will include a region welcome center and tax support from the City and County.  So the schmooze on certain topics does appear to turn into votes at later meetings.

This years topics are posted to the website - http://www.manhattan.org/index.aspx?NID=58

Regional Leaders’ Retreat

On January 17 & 18, 2014, join other regional leaders as we plan for our future economic development opportunities.

The Junction City, Manhattan and Wamego Chambers of Commerce will join together again for the annual 2014 Regional Leaders’ Retreat - Regionalism: The Symphony of the Flint Hills.

Courtney Dunbar, ECCD, EDFP, Economic Development Leader, Olsson Associates, will facilitate this year’s event.  Courtney is a leader in economic development and has written several community plans focused on developing vital, innovative communities that entice economic growth and redevelopment.  Her innovative concepts will lead us in a collaborative effort, enabling us to work together as a region on workforce development, attracting target industries, land-use planning, building trust in the region, regional transportation access, and building a regional brand/logo.

2014 Agenda

Speakers presentations
2013 Leaders’ Retreat Initiative Update, Lyle Butler, Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce
aTa Bus, Anne Smith, Flint Hills Area Transportation Agency
Fly MHK, Peter Van Kuren, Manhattan Regional Airport
Fort Riley & Regionalism, COL(P) Frank M. Muth, Fort Riley
Land Analytics, Jeff Adams, Flint Hills Regional Council
Metropolitan Planning Organization, Stephanie Watts, Flint Hills Regional Council
Regional Branding, Kristin Brighton & Lisa Sisley, New Boston Creative
Why Regionalism, Bill Clark, Flint Hills Regional Council
Workforce Alignment, Jeff Adams, Flint Hills Regional Council  

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Posted: 22 February 2014 10:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thank you, Wynn.  I was under the impression that it was solely the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce hosting this event, and that it was only Manhattan City office dwellers, Riley County officials , and good ol boys (but I repeat myself) attending.

It makes sense that they would hold it someplace other than Manhattan, most of the time anyway.

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Posted: 23 February 2014 06:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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No matter the discussion, the Chamber will continue to hold their annual lobbying session in Kansas City.  For years, this was a Manhattan Chamber event.  Recently, JC and Wamego have been included.  Manhattan and JC both have excellent conference facilities.  Why not alternate years?  Nope!  That wouldn’t give the Chamber and the elected officials they need to lobby a chance to travel to Overland Park and spend the weekend in upscale hotel facilities on the taxpayer’s dime.  Look at the program for 2015 that you posted!!  How many agenda items have facilitators from the ‘Flint Hills Regional Council’?  Yep!  Certainly does a great job advertising for and marketing the Flint Hills by openly stating there is no conference facility good enough to host the people of importance from the area.  Let’s spend the $1 million/year jetting across the Country trying to convince the “low life”... those who have not yet attained the same social status as the “Leaders of the Flint Hills”... to hold conferences and conventions in our area.  If you relocte to Manhattan and become accepted into the social circles of the privileged, you will get invited to spend the weekend in a “real” city… Overland Park.
Bend it any way you want, Wynn, it still stinks.  And… the puppet strings are pull taut between the Chamber and the local elected bodies.  At least 4 sitting City Commissioners and the entire County Commission will drool over the opportunity to spend tax dolllars so they can have their egos stroked in OP next year.  There will be NO success in curtailing travel of City staff, County staff, or School District staff.  To do so would bring certain social and political consequences.

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Posted: 23 February 2014 06:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Oh come on, Larry.  What are they going to do if city flappers don’t attend?  Refuse the cool million we give them every year?

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