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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Promise of “hiring freeze” broken: Eighty (80) new administrators at Johnson County Community College

In the real world, Americans are suffering. At the largest Kansas college, it’s a liberal utopia. JCCC leaders sell out taxpayers to win favor with the KNEA teachers union, adding 80 new first-time administrative positions with no legitimate purpose.


Imagine a business in one of the wealthiest counties in the world.

Imagine that you were forced to give to the business hundreds and hundreds of you hard-earned dollars, every year. Imagine that the company’s performance didn’t matter. Imagine that the business had once bought off the county’s main “Sun” newspaper by proclaiming the paper’s owner as the “Greatest Person in the County,” and that from that point forward, no matter how incompetent the business leaders were, the newspaper would shower the business owners with endless, undeserved praise.

Imagine that this business had a CEO who was such a disaster that literally nobody else in America would ever hire him. Imagine that your money also paid for a local television channel, and every week on that channel, the company’s leaders would look you in the eye and tell you how great they are, even though they knew it wasn’t true, and even though they knew that you knew it wasn’t true. Imagine that these business leaders used your money to give undeserved, expensive contracts to their political friends.

Imagine that the leaders ignored your laws. And imagine that when you would criticize them in public, they would threaten you with a malicious lawsuit — a lawsuit that your money would pay for.

Imagine that during one of the worst economic crises in American history, and while many of your family members and friends were out of a job, that this business added dozens of new jobs that had no legitimate purpose, and when these jobs were added only to appease the main employees’ union at that business.

Unfortunately, this isn’t merely a bad dream. It’s not just a hypothetical situation. It describes Johnson County Community College.

Sources inside the community college have informed me that JCCC President Terry Calaway (right) recently added — for no legitimate reason — one new administrative position for each of the 80-plus departments at JCCC. The faculty union had lobbied hard for this, because the new “department chairs” will be people supported by the faculty union. And what’s better for a public employees’ union, than to have yourself as your own boss?

I’ve been told that these 80 new administrative positions will cost taxpayers an extra half-million dollars a year.

In 2009, Calaway had promised to enact a hiring freeze. But then Calaway decided to embody the living definition of the phrase “The Cover-up is Worse than the Crime.” With the ethics of Richard Nixon and the competence of Jimmy Carter, Calaway picked a fight with the largest paper in town, and over the issue of open government. He publicly scolded a Kansas City Star reporter and lied on the phone to The Star’s managing news editor. He spent thousands of tax dollars attempting to cover up a relatively minor legal violation of the state’s open meetings law. He threatened to sue me, when I was both his boss and your representative. The result: he received one of the loudest rebukes in Kansas City history, as The Kansas City Star’s editorial board, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, and KMBC Channel 9 all declared Calaway a law-breaker.

Today, Calaway barely hangs on to his high-paying job. No college in America wants him. He has bought himself a small amount of time, but at a great cost to you, the taxpayer:

  • To earn the favor of the faculty union, he violated the JCCC Board code of conduct and secretly approved domestic partnership benefits, making the college the only part of Kansas government to provide health benefits to unmarried couples.
  • He continues to give a lucrative, no-bid legal contract to the ethically-challenged law partner of Kansas Democratic Party Chairman Larry Gates. “Your” college’s lawyer, Mark Ferguson, continues to maliciously threaten me with baseless claims of “defamation.” In public, at the direction of President Calaway, Ferguson falsely told taxpayers that he had performed a “complete” review of JCCC’s open meetings violation.
  • Calaway continues to give a half-million dollars a year in tax dollars and benefits to the non-profit corporation called the JCCC Foundation. The foundation board is a “Who’s Who” of Kansas City liberals. The foundation then “raises” a half million dollars a year in scholarship money, receives glowing headlines, and annually proclaims an area political ally as the “Johnson Countian of the Year” award. Most of the past award-winners were chosen by former President Charles Carlsen and former politician Dick Bond, and their award-winners included Johnson County Sun-inheritor Steve Rose, Charlsen Carlsen, and Dick Bond. It is beyond me, why anyone would still want to be given this award.
  • Of course, the main building at JCCC is still named “The Carlsen Center,” even though one of Carlsen’s final actions as college president was the attempted intimidation of the Hispanic student newspaper editor who later reported that four women accused Carlsen of sexual harassment.

Every day, you are told that government-run schools are “suffering” and are facing “cuts” in their budgets, even though evidence clearly demonstrates the following: student numbers are remaining constant, the number of teachers are up significantly, and the number of administrators have risen by absurd levels. In Topeka, Democrats and liberal Republicans — including Leawood Senator John Vratil, who is a lawyer for government-run schools — are trying to pass tax increases so that schools are “held harmless.”

If you do not speak up, this nonsense will continue, your taxes will rise, and educational quality will continue to suffer.

I encourage you to contact:

  • JCCC at 913-469-8500 (press “0” and ask for President Calaway’s office)
  • JCCC Board Chair Jon Stewart, whose lenses are clouded because his banking career was made possible through Lynn Mitchelson (below), at 913-544-1208 or [email protected]
  • JCCC Treasurer, ex-banker Lynn Mitchelson, at 913-432-5757 or [email protected]

As always, thank you for your time and support.


Benjamin Hodge

Kansas Representative, 2006-’08
Trustee, Johnson County Community College, 2005-’09
[email protected]


Connect with Benjamin Hodge at FacebookTwitterLinkedInThe Kansas Progress, and LibertyLinked. Hodge is President of the State and Local Reform Group of Kansas.  He served as one of seven at-large trustees at Johnson County Community College from 2005-’09, a member of the Kansas House from 2007-’08, a delegate to the Kansas Republican Party from 2009-’10, and was founder of the Overland Park Republican Party in 2011.  His public policy record is recognized by Americans for Prosperity, the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Kansas Press Association, the Kansas Sunshine Coalition for Open Government, the NRAKansans for Life, and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE).