Consensus Consulting will hold citizen focus group discussions on the upcoming Johnson County budget. Focus groups will be organized by JOCO Commission district. Each district will have a date for the focus group to meet and answer questions on what’s important for the county budget.
The dates for focus groups are: Dist. 1- Wednesday, February 15; Dist. 2- Thursday, February 9; Dist. 3- Thursday, March 1; Dist. 4- Monday, February 13; Dist. 5- Monday, March 12; Dist. 6- Wednesday, February 8. Meetings will be from 6 – 8 pm at a central location in each district to be announced. Your county commission district is included on your voter registration card, or you can go to the county web site for information. http://www.jocogov.org/ or http://www.jocoelection.org/.
To register and reserve your seat, contact Jennifer Wilding by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 816-531-5078. Participants must be 18 years of age.
(And then there is this pesky email also sent out January 23 but only to Consensus KC members)
Focus groups gives Johnson County residents a voice on budget priorities
If you are a Johnson County resident, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners would like to invite you to dinner and a focus group of residents in your district. As a result of a challenging economy, commissioners are facing some hard choices related to balancing the budget and they want to know what residents think. They have hired Consensus to conduct focus groups to find out.
At the focus group, you would complete an online budget simulator and then work with other residents to discuss the results. Only a dozen people from each district can be included in each focus group, and we are seeking a mix of people who roughly reflect each district. To be eligible to participate, neither you nor a member of your immediate family can be employed by Johnson County government and you must be at least 18 years of age.
You do not need to be an expert in the Johnson County budget. We won’t be asking you technical questions. Instead, we’ll be interested in how you made your decisions and what mattered most to you when you considered different choices. We’re looking forward to a lively, honest discussion.
Not a Johnson County resident? Forward this invitation to a friend or colleague who is.
After spending some hours searching through Johnson County documents to determine the history of this action, I finally submitted a KORA (Kansas Open Records Act) request at 12:01 am Wednesday January 25 and received the requested information at 5:13 pm January 27. Here is what we found.
During an unrecorded and undocumented discussion occuring at a “Retreat” (exempt from Kansas Open Meeting Act) on November 10, 2011 Agenda11-10-2011 Commissioner Peterson (from the SPAR Committee) submitted two documents 2011GeneralGovernmentSPARAgenda & CitizenEngagementProposedProcess10-20-11. Following an undocumented 30 minute discussion, the County Manager was directed to solicit a Consensus KC agreement for the purpose to receive focus group input in drafting the 2013 County Budget.
Without a vote and in the absence of an official County meeting, the County Manager signed an agreement on December 16, 2011 with Consensus KC for $11,495 ConsensusKCAgreement2011.
Look at this agreement. The questions asked and the interpretation of the responses, is at the sole discretion of Consensus KC. Twelve focus groups will be evaluated, six (one for each District) above the voting age of 18 and six more conducted in schools for those under the voting age of 18.
For almost 20 years after its founding in 1984, Consensus functioned very much like a traditional nonprofit. Then, in 2003, Consensus chose a new path. We were influenced by new trends in nonprofit leadership that focused on entrepre¬neurialism and earned income, and by increased competition for a shrinking pool of operating funds.
Consensus took two actions that set it apart from most other nonprofits. It developed a business plan for earned income and it became a “virtual” organization, with an active working board, no office space and staff members who work on contract. Both decisions have increased the organization’s flexibility, cost-effectiveness and profile while maintaining its focus on the mission of putting the public in public policy.
Consensus continues to rely on philanthropic funding for civic projects such as KC Forums and policy studies, which we augment through earned income. From 2004-2007, Consensus received philanthropic funding from the following sources:
American Academy of Family Physicians
Bank of America
Center for the City at UMKC, with funding provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation
Guy I Bromley Charitable Trust
Hall Family Foundation
Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City
Johnson County Library- Since when is this legal?
Kansas City Public Library
KCPT Public Television
Mid-America Regional Council
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Shughart Thomson & Kilroy
William T. Kemper Foundation
Although the “Home Rule Charter Commission” recently confirmed that Johnson County politics shall remain “non-partisan”, our Commissioners have paid the County Democratic Party to draft the 2013 Budget.
On January 27 and with the delivery of KORA documents above, additional sources such as area Chambers advertised these ‘focus groups’ (four days after JoCoDems). Nice try boys.
In November 2011 our Commissioners paid another ‘focus group’ organization (Clarion) to develop a “vision” for The County costing $194,658.
Look up The Hegelian Principle.
Call and sign up.