View entire Vratil 2012 Complaint document filed here.
Robert J. Vancrum, Esq (aka Vancrum Law Firm LLC) contracted with USD #229 “to advocate for legislative positions of Blue Valley” for the contracted period from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. (Contract dated August 10, 2010 attached, please note signed by Board Attorney John Vratil, Esq for Lathrop & Gage). Correspondence with USD #229 confirms this ‘lobbyist’ contract with Robert J. Vancrum was not renewed in 2011 leaving that long held position vacant. BobVancrumContractAugust2010
On June 30, 2011 the final day of Robert J. Vancrum’s Contract, the USD #229 voted on and approved a one year (July1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) Contract with John Vratil. It is not unusual for USD #229 Board to have June 30 Fiscal Year End Meetings. It is however extremely unusual that John Vratil’s Contract was hidden in the ‘Consent Agenda’, not discussed and was not part of the Fiscal purpose of this 4 minute Meeting. BOEMeetingMinutes6.30.11 PersonnelReport6.30.11
The signed one year (July1, 2011 through June 30, 2012) Contract with John Vratil. JohnVratilcontract
Throughout this Contract Senator John Vratil is referred to as an “employee” of USD #229. In addition to the $90,000 annual salary and paid professional fees, John Vratil employee receives the same full benefits as any USD #229 employee during the 12 month Contract.
A pre-arranged unpaid ‘leave of absence’ is scheduled “from January 1 through March 31, 2012, for his service in the Kansas Legislature”. However the Contract goes on to say that during this three month period Senator John Vratil is on call and will be compensated at $115.38 per hour as needed. Admittedly by Contract, he remains a ‘Salaried Non-Exempt Employee’ of USD #229 and will be paid additional salary for services during this period, just the same as other ‘Salaried Non-Exempt Employees’ of USD #229 whose salary is paid over nine months.
* Most USD #229 employees work nine months within any twelve month period and may choose to be paid their annual salary over nine months or twelve months while maintaining employment continuity and benefits, there is no separability of employment responsibilities. Financially this is identical.
* Whether paid in nine months or twelve months, the established USD #229 code of ethical conduct and moral standards must be maintained over the entire twelve months.
* Senator John Vratil has legislative responsibilities before January 1 and after March 31 of the Contract period.
* Senator John Vratil is “on call” between January 1 and March 31 of the Contract period. John Vratil is a Salaried Non-Exempt employee by Contract with versatile hours the same as an English Teacher on Contract.
* John Vratil employee USD #229 meets this definition: “Appointed lobbyists. Any person formally appointed as the primary representative of an organization or of another person to lobby on state- owned or leased property shall register as a lobbyist regardless of whether the person receives compensation for lobbying. Formal appointment as a primary representative may be indicated by election to a specific office or designation, including a specific post where the members of the organization or appointing person recognize such election or designation to include the right or duty to lobby as its primary representative on state-owned or leased property. ” http://ethics.ks.gov/statsandregs/19-62-1.html
* Kansas Ethics Commission definition of ‘Lobbying’ “Kansas law recognizes that the right of organized as well as unorganized interests to influence governmental policy is an integral part of the American and Kansas political process. Such efforts are based in large part on the constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and association and the right to participate in one’s government. The thrust of existing legislation is not to hinder such activity but rather to ensure that it is carried out in view of the public.” http://www.kansas.gov/ethics/Lobbying/
Conclusion and basis of complaint: Senator Vratil as an individual is employed by USD #229 as a Salaried Non-Exempt Employee before, during and following the 2012 Legislative Session. Also of note, the ‘sine die’ adjournment extends well beyond March 31. As such he is required to register as a “Lobbyist” when influencing government policy while on State owned or leased properties.
“Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens It”
Read Full Post »