Kansas governor shakes up the department of labor

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September 21, 2012

Kansas

By Maresa Strano

TOPEKA, Kansas: On September 20th, Governor Sam Brownback named former Republican Topeka State Rep. Lana Gordon deputy secretary of the department of labor. That same day, he ousted Karin Brownlee from the position and named Gordon interim secretary.[1] Brownlee was appointed labor secretary by the governor in December, 2010 and she officially took office in February, 2012. Brownlee, who was Assistant Majority leader in the State Senate before her appointment as secretary, served the latter role until yesterday, when Brownback ordered her to step down for undisclosed reasons.[1]

Following her unceremoniously abrupt dismissal, Brownlee commented that, while she had been confident in the department’s upward trajectory under her continued leadership, she is still satisfied with the work the department, whose mission statement is "to advance the economic well being of all Kansans through responsive workforce services," was able to accomplish during her brief stint in office.[2] “I respect the role of the governor,” she maintained diplomatically.[1]

The Kansas secretary of labor earns a salary exceeding $100,000 annually, and is selected by appointment rather than elected by the people;[3]labor secretaries serve at the pleasure of the sitting governor and are not subject to reappointment or term limits.

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