KC Star editorial on Hodge & open meetings at JCCC in The Kansas Publisher, monthly publication for Kansas newspaper industry – Nov 2009

Link: http://kspress.com/sites/default/files/kspub1104.pdf

PDF – November 2009 – Kansas Publisher

Continue reading


Open meetings laws and JCCC: a review of the last two weeks – Hodge at Red County

Source: http://www.redcounty.com/johnson/2009/03/open-meetings-laws-and-jccc-a/

Open meetings laws and JCCC: a review of the last two weeks
Posted by: Benjamin Hodge | 03/12/2009 4:00 AM

To review, after being asked for JCCC budget-related information by Kansas City Star reporter Jim Sullinger, I decided to provide the most recent information I had. It had been handed to me in a closed session dedicated mainly to personnel issues, but Sullinger and I agreed that the budget information was entirely non-sensitive (meaning it contained no employee names, etc). Four to five sheets of paper listed about 50 ways to balance the budget at JCCC. They were ideas — not formal proposals — merely considerations of possible cuts. They were not prioritized in any order of importance. At any rate, most people at the college already knew that most ideas were “on the table.” Shortly after I provided it to Sullinger, he reported a summary of the information on The Star’s Prime Buzz blog. Continue reading

Tracy Thomas – JCCC up to its old tricks: SECRET MEETINGS!

Source: http://allthingsjoco.blogspot.com/2009/03/jccc-up-to-its-old-tricks-secret.html

JCCC up to its old tricks: SECRET MEETINGS!

Here is my response to Ben Hodge’s email which is at the end of this post.

I hope the KC Star “budgets up” like the days of yore, and legally challenges the JCCC for a violation of KOMA. Because “awkward” or “let’s dodge some political pressure and keep people in the dark till it’s too late” are NOT any of the 19 reasons a tax-supported governmental body can go into executive session. Continue reading

KC Star – Johnson County Community College to consider tuition increase, budget reduction

Source: http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/1073334.html

Johnson County Community College to consider tuition increase, budget reduction
The Kansas City Star

The Johnson County Community College board will be asked next month to raise tuition an additional $4 per credit hour and reduce next year’s budget by more than $5.5 million. Continue reading

South Dakota blogger – JCCC’s Benjamin Hodge Believes in Open Government–And Facebook!

Source: http://kswatch.blogspot.com/2009/03/jccc-benjamin-hodge-believes-in-open.html

JCCC’s Benjamin Hodge Believes in Open Government–And Facebook!

Thanks to Facebook status updates, Kansas Watch learned that there are public officials who believe in open and transparent government. People like Johnson County Community College Trustee Benjamin Hodge. Continue reading

Gardner News covers JCCC open meetings issue

Source: http://www.gardnernews.com/print_this_story.asp?smenu=1&sdetail=4070

Gardner News covers JCCC open meetings issue

Danedri Thompson

A Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees meeting Feb. 19 raised the ire of Kansas City Star editors after an executive session in which a list of potential budget cuts was presented. Board of trustees chairperson Shirley Brown VanArsdale said the board followed the open meetings statutes, and the list, which was presented as part of college president Terry Calaway’s evaluation, was not discussed during the closed segment of the meeting. Continue reading

JoCo Sun – Blog brouhaha, budget discussed at JCCC town hall meeting

Source: http://sunpublications.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1507:blog-brouhaha-budget-discussed-at-jccc-town-hall-meeting&catid=1:news&Itemid=26

Blog brouhaha, budget discussed at JCCC town hall meeting
Written by Kristin Babcock
Friday, 06 March 2009 16:54

More than 150 people attended a town hall meeting Friday following a week of blogosphere-based uproar at Johnson County Community College, College Boulevard and Quivira Road. Continue reading

Blog Kaw and Border – JCCC Intimidating Whistleblower Trustee

Source: http://www.kawandborder.com/2009/04/jccc-intimidating-whistleblower-trustee.html

JCCC Intimidating Whistleblower Trustee

Over the past few weeks here at Kaw & Border, we’ve discussed many of the issues surrounding local elections — from turnout to the control liberals have over most local elections, particularly here in Johnson County. From turnout to simple apathy on the part of the electorate at large, particularly conservatives, Johnson County is operated by what is essentially the “Johnson County Oligarchy” — a small band of elite people from one part of the political spectrum — basically, the Johnson County “moderate” wine and cheese crowd. Continue reading

Hodge’s letter to the editor, KC Star – JCCC leaders need to learn – and then follow – the open meetings law.

Source: http://www.redcounty.com/two-letters-id-highlight

At February’s Johnson County Community College board meeting, leaders inappropriately justified the distribution and brief verbal discussion of typed budget items during a non-public portion because the budget barely related to the president’s private evaluation (ratings include “fiscal management”). Continue reading

Letter to the editor in KC Star from former JCCC employee – Johnson County Community College trustee Benjamin Hodge deserves support.

Source: http://www.redcounty.com/two-letters-id-highlight

Johnson County Community College trustee Benjamin Hodge deserves support.

Perhaps like me, you haven’t followed JCCC’s Board of Trustee elections closely, and maybe you haven’t previously cast your vote with much care. This time you should. It’s more important now than ever in the 40-year history of the college for it to manage our tax dollar investment wisely. Take a look at your property tax bill to see the tax amount paid to JCCC. Now look at its financials in the latest board minutes. Like the rest of us, the college’s realized year-to- date investment and other income sources fell way short of what was budgeted, yet the expenditures year to date remain consistent. Continue reading

Who Watches the Watchmen? – Christopher D. Berger

Source: http://www.redcounty.com/bergers-got-your-back-christopher-berger-tea-parties-and-jccc

Who Watches the Watchmen?

Christopher D. Berger

Wednesday’s tax day tea parties had a cause mirroring those of the original Boston tea party, to whit, a government so invasive and unwieldy that it can perpetrate generational theft on the order of tens of trillions of dollars, with no one to stop them. They were there to demonstrate against the ability of government to tax our grandchildren into oblivion, and more importantly, the fact that government is effectively doing it with mind-numbingly large spending packages. They were there to protest taxation with representation that doesn’t listen to them, representation that doesn’t represent their interests, taxation that they don’t want, don’t need, and will be forced to pay anyway. Continue reading

Kansas Liberty: Despite AG’s findings, Howe pledges to keep doors closed to some public meetings

Kansas Liberty: 28 October 2009

Six says “open meetings” should be just that. JoCo DA says there are exceptions.

Despite AG’s findings, Howe pledges to keep doors closed to some public meetings

Link: http://www.kansasliberty.com/liberty-update-archive/2009/02nov/johnson-county-da-says-he-will-not-change-his-koma-opinion-despite-ags-recent-findings

Attorney General Steve Six, responding to an inquiry from state lawmakers about the scope of the Kansas Open Meeting Act, determined that taxes and budget issues cannot be discussed during meetings that are closed to the public, except in cases in which it is “burdensome and impractical, if not impossible” to do so. Continue reading

Kaw and Border blog — What Goes Around Comes Around: Hodge Wins KOMA Argument


What Goes Around Comes Around: Hodge Wins KOMA Argument

Link: http://www.kawandborder.net/2009/11/what-goes-around-comes-around-hodge.html

Hats off to Ben Hodge. In a clear case of principle winning over politics, Ben’s months-long battle regarding violations of the Kansas Open Meetings Act at Johnson County Community College has now been proven correct. Continue reading

KMBC editorial, text: Nov. 2, 2009 — JCCC, Open Meetings Act

Link: http://www.kmbc.com/community/21495655/detail.html

Nov. 2, 2009 — JCCC, Open Meetings Act

Wayne Godsey, KMBC President And General Manager

POSTED: 8:53 am CST November 2, 2009
UPDATED: 8:57 am CST November 2, 2009

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas media organizations are asking Johnson County, Kan., District Attorney Steve Howe to revisit a complaint that the county’s community college trustees violated the state Open Meetings Act.

Former trustee Benjamin Hodge asked for the review after trustees went into closed session for the stated purpose of evaluating the performance of community college president Terry Calaway, something that is permitted under the law. During the closed session, Calaway produced a list of 64 possible budget cuts, then asked trustees not to share the list.

Incredibly, Howe ruled that this did not violate Kansas law. Like other tax-supported institutions, the Johnson County Community College has an obligation to provide as much information as possible to the taxpayers who pay its bills. It is the law, and the way it earns public trust and support.

Calaway and the trustees should be ashamed of their blatant and clumsy attempt to circumvent state law.