Is media allowing Interim Secretary of Administration Duane Goossen to retire with limited fanfare to avoid exposing the damage done to Kansas’s budget under his tutelage?

Gov. Laura Kelly formally nominated DeAngela Burns-Wallace to replace Goossen as Secretary of the Administration. Kelly’s announcement overshadowed Goossen’s departure, though media willfully reported Kelly’s praise of the outgoing secretary of administration without refutation.

“Kelly praised Goossen for his efforts to install accountability and transparency in state government…” the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. The paper also noted that Goossen predicted “severe revenue problems” following the 2012 tax cuts.

The paper fails to mention perhaps the most egregious part of Goossen’s career in state government. He served as the state budget director for former Govs. Bill Graves, Kathleen Sebelius, and Mark Parkinson. The State of Kansas was indicted for securities fraud for actions that occurred during the Sebelius-Parkinson administration. Goossen also was named in the indictment by position, which is unusual according to former state budget director Steve Anderson. Anderson served as budget director from 2011-2013.

“There are only three states that have been indicted for financial fraud, New Jersey, Illinois, and Kansas. And only in Kansas was it so serious that the indictment listed an individual,” Anderson said. “Goossen was the only budget director ever named.”

According to state statute, the acting cabinet members are only allowed to serve in interim capacities for six months. He became acting secretary of administration on Jan. 14 when Kelly entered office. Sen. Julia Lynn, an Olathe Republican, says Goossen may have faced challenges getting Senate confirmation had Kelly formally nominated him for a cabinet position.

“I think he wanted to exit because he knew he had expended a lot of political capital and didn’t really have much left,” Lynn says.

Goossen left a fiscal mess for the Brownback administration to clean up.

“There was a negative $27.4 million in the last fiscal year Duane Goossen was in charge of,” says Steve Anderson. “That is actually a violation of the state constitution.”

Media giving preferential treatment to their friends in public office is an ongoing problem in Kansas. For example, Governor Brownback’s budget directors were routinely targeted by media, sometimes on topics also applicable to Goossen, for which he was never challenged.  Moody’s Investor Service said 2010 was “negative for a second year” on a GAAP-basis in their April 6, 2011, negative outlook for Kansas.  Moody’s cited a long list of transgressions in that report that local media chose to ignore, including:

  • “Weak pension funded status”
  • “Continued use of non-recurring measures to achieve operating budget balance”
  • “Repeated suspension of spending lid” (waiver of ending balance requirement.”
  • “Reported Fiscal 2010 General Fund balance was negative for a second year” on an accrual basis

As The Sentinel reported last week, mainstream media is suddenly negligent on informing the public about faltering personal income trends, population declines, and sluggish GDP growth in Kansas. The media giving Goossen a pass on his budgetary malfeasance is more of the same.

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