Shawnee County Commissioners questions elections office 2018 budget request

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT)– If you pay taxes in Shawnee County, it is the job of Shawnee County Commissioners to spend, or not spend your money.

The 2018 budget submission from the County Election’s office has raised a red flag with county commissioners.

Chairman Bob Archer said he thought the budget request had disturbing comparisons and compensation plans.

Commissioner Kevin Cook said the elections office delivered it s proposed budget just minutes before the budget hearing started.

“Additionally, your 2018 budget isn’t a compromise, it isn’t a discussion, it’s a demand. And when met with a demand, that’s not a good discussion,” Commissioner Kevin Cook said.

Election commissioner Andrew Howell responded to these concerns Monday morning.

“When people make claims you are basically forced to respond, and again I don’t like the tone, I don’t like the accusations, I think it’s unfortunate, but when people make claims that aren’t accurate; you have to respond to it. And frankly, that’s what I had to do today,” Howell said.

Archer wrote a letter for the Secretary of State’s office with concerns of the election’s office budget request. The letter said Howell has misleading information in his department’s 2018 budget. That includes pay raises for people in his department.

And, almost half that money would go toward a 51% pay raise for Howell.

“It’s important if you’re going to make a claim, that a 51% pay increase was requested, lets be clear that came from the county commissioners,” Howell said.

Howell said he is transparent and will talk with any commissioner about any concerns they have.

“To talk about anything that you want to talk about, and I think that is the appropriate pathology, that we should be using to deal with any disagreements or complaints that any of us have quite frankly,” Howell said.

County commissioners voted to send their letter of concern to Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

You can view the full letter by clicking here on page 63.

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