By Ralph Hipp
I'm not sure if you were also one of the many listeners to the Raubin and Megan show on 580 Friday afternoon, but I found their discussion with Vic Miller about the Shawnee County Treasurer's Office very troubling. Miller did an excellent job explaining the license tag/ delinquent tax problem he's trying to figure out. He told me while Larry Wilson had turned in a list showing no Shawnee Countians withcurrent tags and non-paid property taxes, another cross-check of the list found 377 people who are late in their taxes, but current in their tags.
Miller says checking the list by names was not enough. There could be dozens of Kansans who have that same name as the late taxpayer, but unless you combine it with the addresses, you haven't finished the job. Terming it as a case of "incompetence from the top," combined with delays in bank reconciliations from August of 2008; Shawnee County is apparently not being served well by its treasurer's staff, even though surely they put in many hours to try to dig their way out of these two messes. And more.
From there, the radio conversation turned to a recall election of Larry Wilson. I was at both the Central Committee meetings, covering the story that night several years ago when Larry Wilson and his challenger were both chosen by their party reps. (Rita Cline had resigned, and the successors were put on the ballot by the county's party organizations.) But Wilson is at the start of his own elected term, and if you don't like the job he's doing, you'll just have to wait. State law is now making it much more difficult to recall an elected official simply because you don't like them.. with language in the statute that says they could be removed from office by "neglect or refusal to perform a duty they're directed to do by the county."
Miller explained the commission is getting closer to matching that legal definition required by the state, and action could be forwarded to District Attorney if there were a specific case of wrongdoing.
Let's offer this in Larry Wilson's defense. If this job were easy, tons of Topekans would be interested in it. It's not an easy job, Larry is not a CPA, and although he had done some work with the Topeka Housing Authority, he was retired when he took on this task. Vic Miller could not see any apparent training in his career that would qualify him to become an outstanding county treasurer. What do you think? Has Shawnee County let this situation go too far? Maybe it's a good thing that Wilson is not qualified to serve as treasurer, because his office is getting an extensive amount of oversight from Vic Miller and the Commission.. that may be a very good thing for taxpayers.
Would you support an ouster or a recall election? Haven't we had enough of those already? Offer us some cases in your dealings with the Treasurer's Office (you don't have to give us your name if you don't want to..) and we'll gauge your support for a change at the top of the office where the money goes in. Ralph