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February 01, 2007



Beginning to look like it's going to be a carbon copy of the Kansas PERB Board demise. What was it the judge said? "Son, I don't care about your PERB Board results. I don't recognize your PERB. Their decisions are meaningless. Now sit down and don't make me tell you again."

I find this to be a common sense decision that may help move the impasse. The fired workers are allowed grievance hearings with the county, and Kline does not have to participate. As noted, his absence in the grievance process may benefit the plaintiffs. The affadavits are allowed to be used.


This blurb about the court's decision fails to note what it really is saying. The judge, first of all, agreed that the plaintiffs were exemplary employees (implying they did not deserve to be fired). It then strongly suggests that the county provide the due process that it promises all employees, even those of elected officials. It assumes that Kline has responded to the grievance forms required by the county procedure and tells plaintiff's counsel to tell the court by tomorrow if Kline has not done so. If Kline has not done so, she may order him to respond and participate. She actually says that the state judge ordered Kline to transmit the paperwork to allow the grievances to go forward but withheld acting on that order until further court review. She then says that the "further court review" is now done, by her, a federal judge. This removes any excuse from the county withholding the hearing panels that are provided for under county policities. And now, the county commissioners who would not cut Kline's salary because they did not want to engage in politics, cannot very well deprive these exemplary county employees from obtaining their basic due process rights because of those same political reasons that caused Kline to terminate these employees. This is not a victory for Kline. Quite the contrary.


You better lay off that crack pipe if you think that's what it's saying.


Lookagain is correct, Nick. You (and the Star's headline writers) need to read the Order more closely.


I could care less about the star headline writer. All you have to do is go read it again and apply the definitions to the words, and not what you'd like to hear.
When this is done, unfortunately, Johnson County's grievance procedure is going to be as meaningless as the State PERB is now.


Just bounces it back to county, where it was originally. Oh gosh who called that?

Gentle Ben

The only thing I saw in the order that I understood was a comment about them not getting their jobs. Where's Doofus, I'd be interested in seeing his take on this. Sorry, alleged attorney, but you'll need to add more than just cryptic comments to be helpful.


Nick -- I could agree with you. But do know that people here (Buzz blog) don't like educated guesses. I found that out first hand with "Bill Haley" bloggers. ...five o'clock rockers done, six o'clocker rockers coming in. They'll always be on time. Count on that.

Oh course, I'm not the law. I just have past experience elsewhere with public employee issues.

Gentle Ben

And, does Stinson Morrison Hecker have a dog in this fight?


Yes, I know, but I have a long history dealing with people who live in idealistic worlds where reality is exactly what they dream it to be.

Like Jettz said, she simply denied the requested restraining order and eliminated the district judges order that Kline attend and abide by the grievance boards decision.
All that "strong suggestion" and subliminal message stuff is nothing but wishing.
The whole thing is back to square one. Oh yeah, they get to keep their letters saying they are really good guys.


The poison is in the footnotes.

The Star misses the point. Another such victory and the DA will be undone.

In 280BC, King Pyrrhus of Eprius, a military genius equal to MacArthur in our time, after his grandest victory, the Battle of Asculum, was approached by a host of well wishers congratulating him on his momentous (but cripplingly costly) accomplishment. They blabbed to no end about his wonderful victory. In response he said, "Many more such ‘victories,' and I shall be undone!" Ever since, the term "Pyrrhic victory" has referred to a situation where the battle is won, but the war is lost. As I have tried to illustrate, during the American Civil War, the battles of Chancellorsville and Cold Harbor were classic Pyrrhic victories.

Gentle Ben

Thanks for boiling it down so nicely, Nick. Do those letters mean squat in those arbitration hearings? If they have a property interest in the jobs, I would assume they did. If they're their at will, I suspect not.


No problem Ben. Not usually, unless there is either a very impressive name on one of them, or there is some sort of conflicting opinion of the individuals character.
I did see them come in useful once. It had to do with two state officers, a fight, and which one was not really a Mason, believe it or not.
These are lawyers in good standing. It's probably just a chance for them to do some name dropping.

Gentle Ben

Thanks for the info. once again the blog delivers the rest of the story, as it were.


Who knows what is "normal" in Johnson county. But if you simplify those affadavits -- they are references, not in-house job evaluations. Unless the people in those affadavits were designated under county policy as in-house evaluators.

As a former educator that would be like others teachers saying don't fire Jeetz we like his work. But those teachers didn't hire me, so they wouldn't get a say under standard collective bargaining procedures. The person designated an evaluator in school policy gets that decision.

Who ever is the designated evaluator should provide evaluations, not references. But Kansas is anything but standard, so I'm not surprised.

As an educator familar with this procedure, I can respond. Grievance hearings (often districts have a designated employee to hear these cases) simply deal with whether or not the termination was fair and strictly followed the district procedures.

Of course, prior to firing, the employees would have been made aware of shortcomings, and allowed an opportunity to improve their performance according to a set timeline. At the time of the grievance hearing, the terminated employee can provide their defense to the termination.



Dear Educator,

I won't give you a review of what I've stated on this topic, because you can read what I've said. I doubt very much that you will, but if so my moniker is a name that matches a time slot. So you will be able to collectively read my posts.

But I will summarize it. My experience is elsewhere. End of summary.

Kansas is different from the rest of the country. That is an accurate statement and can be substantiated by looking at bargaining policies throughout the Midwest. They are fairly uniform in other states, from the top down. Not so in Kansas. You can go to school districts across Kansas and you will find many, many different bargaining policies. Why? Because there is not a uniform state policy. The fact that so much has happened just to get a hearing, suggests that there is a lack of uniformity regarding just what is policy.

But the laws by which bargaining procedures must comply are basically the same everywhere. I'm not questioning the due process rights of the people involved. I'm saying be careful on how you arrive at a conclusion because you may be creating a precedent that you don't want in the future.

Mr. Jeetz-
Guess you are the final expert on ALL topics. Awesome responsibility.

I was just giving information based on actual experience on this topic from the field.



Rather than trash me Educator, why don't you join the discussion and offer a more detailed opinion.

No need to worry. I may challenge your opinion, but I won't trash it.



Both sides are likely very pleased. Altough,I doubt the county commissioners are happy. Kline's position that he can opt out as a state official was confirmed and he doesn't have to participate in a grievance heering. The attorneys were (correctly in my opinion) found to be outstanding attorneys with great performance reviews and are entitled to a hearing. Pretty good for both, frankly.

It does beg the question of why Kline publicly stated these attorneys were fired for low conviction rates and performance. I knew first hand that this wan't accurate and that ultimately it would be proven false (as an aside, any final "ultimately" would be a fully vetted trial in fairness to Kline, but there is an abundance of support for the attorneys qualifications). So why did he say it? It appeared mean spirited and, possibly, malicious - if he didn't at least believe it himself. There is a slight possiblity (in my mind) that he relied to his own detriment on one or two sources in transition and was misled. Side issue, I know. Point is, I remain baffled by management decisions, but it is his rodeo for the time being.

All in all, Judge Vratil's decision makes sense to me. We will see where this leads. Certainly shaping up to a couple of cage matches now: Attorneys vs. County (grievance/ legal) and County vs. Kline (budget, public forums, meetings).

It might get ugly (if it weren't considered so already) when and if the county decides to flex the power of the purse. I hope everyone has the sense to ensure the DA's office is not run into the ground. There are essential services involved in that office.

So, another side issue:

GB, you were pretty hot to trot about Judge Vratil last week. Even thought that the case might have been steered to her outside of appropriate case assignment methods. Pretty strong accusation without any tangible support. How do you like her now?

I am going to suppose she is like a referee in your favorite team's game. Fine and upstanding when the call goes the way of ole' State U. Corrupt and underhanded if the call goes against State U. I gues we might see your thoughts if she is required to make another call.

Good Guy

Question: Did everyone including the judge forget that county policy has only a ten day time period in which to hold the hearing? The plaintiff's lawyer botched that.
The 10 days were up long ago. Guess they shouldn't have filed the lawsuit before they forced a hearing. Maybe the plaintiff's lawyer forgot. Must have also forgotten to tell the judge Kline opted out of the policy--that makes any hearing now a moot point.


"GB, you were pretty hot to trot about Judge Vratil last week. Even thought that the case might have been steered to her outside of appropriate case assignment methods. Pretty strong accusation without any tangible support. How do you like her now?"

I believe Gentle Ben sees that eventually Appointee Kline will be taken to task for this entire fiasco. Ben's improper criticism of Judge Vratil was purely a preemptive strike. Then, when all is said and done, Ben would post "see, I told you she was corrupt all along." Right Ben?


Good Guy you're wrong. Judge Moriarty ruled that the hearing should NOT be held until another court reviewed the case. Nice try, next time please have your facts straight before you waste our time.


Good Guy,

You didn't waste anyones time. You asked a legitmate question. The ten days can be renewed like a library book and probably will be. Seems like Feb. 5th is the renewal date and could be why Judge Vratil said she'd come up with a decision by the 5th.

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