Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): Guess who will be collecting unemployment

Friday, September 21, 2012

Guess who will be collecting unemployment

If you guessed former Kansas Secretary of Labor Karin Brownlee, grab yourself a cookie.

Oh, how I would've loved to be a fly on the wall when Gov. Sam Brownback's attorney, Caleb Stegall, sent the former senator packing.

I had an inkling something was amiss between the Governor and Sec. Brownlee in June when a fly on the wall -- read staffer -- who attends the Governor's cabinet meetings told me that Brownlee was the least popular member of the cabinet.

(As an aside, I do not understand the continual weight given to "popularity" within the inner circle. I mean, these are all grown-ups. Who cares who wears the best shoes or dates the cutest boys or whatever passes for popular these days? Am I right? That's rhetorical. Of course, I am.)

I was a little surprised shortly after Brownback's election when I heard Karin was going to get a cozy cabinet role. She's not exactly warm. She's never struck me as tight in the inner circle, and she kind of broke with the conservatives, of which Brownback pretends to be one, when she publicly endorsed and campaigned with Jerry Moran over Todd Tiahrt.

Whatever political capital she once had, she absolutely wasted it. She couldn't even get her precinct people to appoint her chosen replacement. She endorsed Ron Ryckman, a then-city councilor from Olathe. The precinct folks of the former 23rd District, which included part of Olathe, went with Rob Olsen. (Don't get me started on that guy. OK. I'll give you one word on that guy: "literacy." Do with it what you will.)

For me, Karin's ouster raises her in my estimation. This means she broke with the Governor on some policy and stood her ground.

However, there's a warning here: Not going along to get along with the Governor is dangerous ground -- especially if you're a woman.

There is more to this story than we're getting. According to media reports, Brownlee and Brownback "disagreed" with how well her department was operating. I smell a lie or at least an untruth. If Brownback was cleaning house based on how well state departments were operating, Nick Jordan would've been fired months ago. His department oversees the DMV, and well, the changes he's made have been epic failures.

To my knowledge, this is the second cabinet fallout of the Brownback administration. The first, of course, was the displacement of Rob Siedlecki, former Secretary of SRS. (I liked him, but I heard he was incompetent.)

Hours before Brownlee's departure was announced, the Govenor's Office announced the appointment of Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland as Deputy Secretary of Labor. (Was there such an appointment before the announcement? I'm not sure.)

Stay tuned. Things just got interesting.

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