logo for the League of Women Voters of Topeka and Shawnee County

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization, promotes political responsibility through informed and active participation of citizens in government, and takes action on selected governmental issues. The League does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.

Public Policy Positions

Child Care (1968, 1987, 1991, 1995, reviewed 2009)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County supports available, affordable and quality childcare. The League recognizes that in order to accomplish these goals, the following provisions are essential:

To provide availability, we support:

  • Child care and parent education programs which allow teenage parents to remain in school and which also teaches them parenting skills
  • Social and Rehabilitation Services Department (SRS) reimbursement for child care a t the level of actual cost and available to all children;
  • Public policy which encourages public-private partnerships and increases the role of business in the productivity and human resources issue; and
  • Business and community involvement to make child care arrangements more adaptable to the needs of the parents.

To provide for afford ability we support the implementation of childcare scholarships, financial supports and subsidies for low-income families.

To ensure quality, we support:

  • Public policy which increases public and consumer education efforts, such as development of a brochure and educational meetings in the community to assist parents in evaluating child care options and in understanding quality standards.
  • Stronger support for and financial assistance to the enforcement agencies which are responsible for child care registration, licensing and regulations to ensure timely and thorough inspections;
  • Innovative child care, early intervention and prevention programs which assist children who are at risk of being abused and neglected;
  • Enhancement of training activities for the daycare providers and child care staffs;
  • Quality recognition programs for excellence in day care, and
  • Parent education programs.

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Economic Development (2002, reviewed 2009)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County (LWV) supports well planned, comprehensive economic development for the city and county in order to grow and prosper as the capital of Kansas. The LWV supports both city and county involvement in adequately funding economic development. For example, “Go Topeka”, the group formed to create economic development, should continue to be financially and otherwise supported by the city council and county commission. If necessary, the ¼ cent sales tax beginning in 2003 should be continued when that tax expires.

The LWV recommends development and implementation of a strategic plan providing for:

  • property acquisition and utility installation in areas desirable to existing as well as new businesses, industries and non-profits, consistent with good zoning concepts;
  • education in the form of training or re-training for employment;
  • the goal of well-paying jobs, with priority being given to applications for public funds, which propose payment of above average wages and benefits for those who will be employed as a result of economic development, and
  • assessment and public reports of results of economic development expenditures.

Annexation should be aggressively pursued by the city, with cooperation of the county commission. Topekans should urge the state legislature to revise present annexation statutes to make it easier for the city to annex contiguous developed or developing areas.

LWV supports the active participation of the state in helping its capital city develop economically, which development, in turn, will accrue to the best interests of the state. State revenues for economic development, currently including lottery revenues, should be more generously allocated to Topeka, the capital city.

The LWV reaffirms its position of support for a single metropolitan government in Shawnee County, which should encourage and support economic development.

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Topeka and County Government

BACKGROUND:  Position revised in 1995; added Consolidation and Annexation positions in 2005, reviewed 2009; Inter-governmental Cooperation Council position added 2010; reviewed 2014; revised 2016; reviewed and revised 2023; city governing body redistricting added 2023.

LEGAL CONTEXT:  State laws on annexation were amended in 2014 and 2021.  Kansas Constitutional amendment requiring the election of sheriffs and changing how sheriffs may be removed from office was adopted by the voters in November 2022.

Consolidation of city and county government functions was defeated by Shawnee County voters in Dec. 2005 public vote. 

2022-2023 STUDY COMMITTEE PROCESS:  The proposed revision is a result of a decision made to recommend the position for review by the LWVTSC board of directors in March 2022 and approved by membership at the April 2022 annual meeting.  The revision is planned for submission to the LWVTSC board no later than March 2023 for approval by membership at the annual meeting April 2023. 

The committee consisted of Vicki Arnett and Camille Nohe (co-chairs), Judy Moler, Susan Quinn, and Georgia Sandlin.  The committee decided to use a concurrence process to bring our current policy position in line with best practices in local government.  In addition to the local governance position, the committee also includes recommendations for government entities to strengthen the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council (ICC).  The committee was informed by League values as expressed on the LWVUS League management website; “The League of Women Voters believes in representative government.  The League of Women Voters believes that efficient and economical government requires competent personnel, clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different agencies and levels of government.”  

The committee reviewed the City of Topeka Organizational Chart, April, 2022, the Shawnee County Departments and Offices Document as posted in June 2022 on the Shawnee County website, the Kansas Association of County Managers website, City of Salina organizational chart, National Civic League website, League of Kansas Municipalities website, Intergovernmental Cooperation Council of Salina website, Kansas statutes related to annexation, Salina League of Women Voters policy position on local government, Johnson County League of Women Voters policy position on local government.  The committee interviewed Hannes Zacharias, Robert A. Kipp Professor of Practice at the University of Kansas School of Public Affairs and Administration, Shelley Buhler, former county commissioners and current county commissioners Aaron Mays and Bill Riphahn.  Susan Quinn interviewed current county Chief Financial Officer, Betty Greiner.  Susan Quinn and Vicki Arnett attended the May 2022 meeting of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Council.  Susan Quinn attended the Sept. and Oct. 2022 meeting of the ICC. Carole Jordan, LWVTSC President, attended the November 2022 meeting of the ICC. Camille Nohe and Judy Moler interviewed, in October 2022, Representative Vic Miller who has previously served on the Topeka City Council and Shawnee County Board of Commissioners. The committee recommended position reflects updating, modernizing, and focusing on growth and enhanced representation through the expansion and professionalization of governing functions.  The professionalization and consolidation of functions also recommends elimination of multiple elected positions.  Professionalization of functions requires oversight of appointees to avoid corruption and enhance budgetary and revenue expenditures to avoid waste and duplication of effort.  The committee position also reflects “effective consolidation” between city and county government functions, where possible, such as fire protection, water and sewer, law enforcement, etc.  The committee reviewed the annexation position and does not recommend any changes in recognition that the current position requires more public input and requirements of governing bodies than current statute. 

LWVTSC Fair Votes, Fair Maps committee began meeting in 2021 and concluded the current work in 2022.  The primary work of the committee was to educate the community about the process of redistricting at the congressional, state legislative, and local governing body levels.  These efforts have been in coordination and cooperation with the LWVUS and LWVK.  In 2022-2023, LWVK undertook a review of the state position on reapportionment. At the same time, LWVTSC monitored and observed the city of Topeka redistricting commission process and developed a position statement on Topeka City Redistricting.

Inter-governmental Cooperation Council (ICC)

BACKGROUND:  The ICC adopted the following statement to guide their mission:  Through the Heartland Visioning process, the Topeka and Shawnee County community has expressed its desire for local government to work cooperatively and collaboratively, resulting in quality services to citizens and responsible stewardship of public resources.  Therefore, the ICC as representatives of the taxing entities in Shawnee County will work together to achieve results on strategies with its authority and purview. 

STATEMENT OF POSITION:  LWVTSC supports the Inter-governmental Cooperation Council in order to achieve efficient, economical and coordinated government at all governmental levels.  An expanded and supported role for the ICC will provide a path to achieve more consolidated city/county departments and more efficient city/county government. 

  1. The purpose the ICC should be to provide communication, cooperation, and exchange of information between all units of government within Shawnee County.
  2. The ICC membership should consist of at least one member from all primary units of government within Shawnee County.
  3. Administrative support staff should be hired by the county or by the ICC. Professional support staff will assure broad and consistent attendance at meetings.  Support staff will also provide coordination of speakers/topics for discussion, meeting announcements, media releases, agenda publication, publication of minutes of the meetings and compliance with open meetings and open records requirements. 
  4. Attendance at meetings should be encouraged by all members of the ICC.

Shawnee County Board of Commissioners

STATEMENT OF POSITION:   LWVTSC supports a reorganization of the structure of Shawnee County Board of Commissioners, including various departments in order to achieve more diverse representation of residents, more efficient and economical government, competent personnel, clear assignment of responsibility, adequate financing and coordination among the different departments, both city and county. 

  1. The hiring of a County Administrator/Manager to oversee administrative and fiscal matters of the county. The hiring of a County Administrator/Manager will allow the BOC to devote more time to policy matters rather than administrative details.  A county department organizational chart should be written and published for the public. 
  2. Expansion of the BOC to five elected members, including a separately elected chair. Expansion to five BOC members will achieve broad and diverse representation across a rural/urban county.  The election of a chair by the population will create a path for the BOC to focus on the future of economic development, strategic planning and policy making in a non-partisan manner. The BOC should consist of four districts of equal proportion, including equal population of both county and city of Topeka residents.  The chair of the BOC should be a member elected at large and must be a resident of Shawnee county.
  3. Centralization of IT, purchasing, administrative and budgetary authority under the supervision of the County Administrator/Manager. Current purchasing, administrative and budgetary authority is the duty of department directors, Shawnee County finance director, Shawnee County planning director, Shawnee County counsel as supported by BOC approval.  LWVTSC supports consolidating the management, budget, and finance functions into a county comptroller responsible to the county manager and the BOC.
  4. Support of a budget system which combines elements of program and performance budgeting with an emphasis on planning and setting priorities for county services and expenditures as well as the efficient management of resources.
  5. Support of a capital improvement budget based on planning and prioritizing capital improvement projects in the county with public hearings before adoption.
  6. Support expanded opportunities for public input throughout the budget process. Meaningful public hearings for input should be held before the start of the process as well as at the end prior to adoption.  Materials should be available to the public in advance of public hearings.
  7. Support of increased communication between citizen boards, appointed advisory boards and commissions and agency departments should be encouraged by holding their own budget hearings before submitting their budgets to the BOC.
  8. Support of increased county revenue through increased operational efficiency and the non-duplication of services.
  9. Support of a balanced mix of taxes for revenue.
  10. Support, where possible, implementation of a merit system to enable appointment of qualified and diverse personnel.
  11. Elimination of elected positions where possible by statute. Elimination of elected positions will effectively consolidate the management of various departments with the County Administrator/Manager. LWVTSC has supported the appointment of a county wide law enforcement professional since 2014. Appointment of a county wide law enforcement professional assures honesty and oversight in order to avoid corruption, both politically and fiscally, concepts key to democracy. Assurance of uniform pay between city and county law enforcement, centralized, uniform training should result from effective consolidation of law enforcement functions between the city and county.
  12. Appointment of advisory groups and commissions which represent the diversity of Shawnee County including gender, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation, urban and rural residency. BOC should adopt a formalized procedure for the nomination, selection, appointment and training of citizen advisory groups and commissions.  It should stipulate selection procedures in written policy.
  13. Effective consolidation of city/county departments to the extent possible with the goal of increased efficiency and economical government.
  14. Support of the ICC in order for various units of government to plan and work together for a solid future for the city and county. Support the ICC with a paid administrator. 
  15. Review of Home Rule/Charter Government on a consistent basis.
  16. BOC should identify to the public the short- and long-term comprehensive planning process on a routine basis, such as for the court house annex, administrative services building.
  17. LWVTSC supports the BOC adopt, in writing, processes and procedures for reapportionment of county commission districts every 10 years based on the decennial census. The reapportionment process should be based on fair and equitable representation which divides the county into 4 districts.  LWVTSC supports the appointment of an independent non-partisan commission to reapportion the BOC districts.

Topeka City Council

STATEMENT OF POSITION:  LWVTSC supports a strong executive, city manager, in city government with clear responsibility for appointment and supervision of administrative personnel and department directors.  LWVTSC supports separation of the duties of the city manager as administrative and the duties of the city council as policy making. 

  1. District representation of elected council members. No less than three council members should be elected with overlapping terms. 
  2. A strong mayor/city manager/city council governance structure.
  3. Effective consolidation between city and county departments and agencies whenever possible and feasible in order to achieve efficient, representative government.
  4. Effective consolidation of Topeka Police Department and Shawnee County Sheriff Department such as shared human resources, dispatch 911, emergency management and facility management whenever possible and feasible to achieve efficient, representative government.
  5. Annexation of land in a timely manner, if such annexation is appropriate under the Land Use Growth and Management Plan and appropriate public hearings have been held.
  6. Support of the ICC in order for various units of government to plan and work together for a solid future for the city and county. Support the ICC with a paid administrator.
  7. LWVTSC supports unification of city, county, and township fire departments/emergency management in order to assure safety in the community. Unification should increase effective use of personnel and fiscal resources.
  8. LWVTSC supports a unified city/county metropolitan transit authority to assure increased availability of public transportation services.
  9. LWVTSC supports the development of a city/county sustainability plan, public health plan, emergency management, solid waste, transportation plan and noxious weed/environmental hazard plan.
  10. LWVTSC supports the adoption of an independent appointed city council redistricting process. [Ed. Note: See also “Topeka Governing Body Redistricting” section of this position below.]
  11. LWVTSC supports review of the city charting ordinances every 10 years beginning in 2025 to ensure citizen needs are met.

Topeka Governing Body Redistricting

BACKGROUND:  The primary reason for drawing new districts for election of the city governing body is to create districts that are a close as possible to equal in population.  That is why new districts are drawn every ten years after the decennial U.S. Census.  However, equal population is only one element of districts that will result in effective representation.  Involvement of city residents in all aspects of the development of election districts is important to fair representation.

STATEMENT OF POSITION:  LWVTSC supports the following non-partisan processes and criteria to ensure development of districts that ensure fair representation of all residents.

  1. City governing body members prepare for redistricting by reviewing governance structure five years after redistricting in preparation for the next cycle of redistricting. This review of structure should include a review of the number of districts needed to represent the city’s residents.
  2. Criteria for districts should be set out in city ordinance and specify the means of determining the ideal population of each district and the allowable deviation from the ideal population. The LWVTSC supports an allowable deviation +/-3% from the ideal district population.
    1. In addition to equal population and common interests, require that city governing body districts be:
      1. Formed so that they facilitate the exercise of residents’ voting rights, in particular the rights of racial and ethnic minorities in the city
      2. Composed of geographically contiguous parts to the extent possible given city annexation patterns
  • Easily identifiable and understandable by residents. To the extent possible given ward/precinct configuration, council district boundaries should follow major streets and easily identified natural and artificial barriers.
  1. Council district boundaries should not consider home addresses of incumbents on the governing body.
  1. Appointment of an independent, non-partisan redistricting commission composed of 10 members in addition to the chair. This redistricting commission should be appointed and chaired by a Topeka resident designated by the administrative judge of the Topeka municipal court. The commission should have a budget set by the administrative judge sufficient to secure the personnel and other resources necessary to support the work of the commission.  The work of the commission chair should begin 12 months prior to the deadline for adoption of new districts to ensure adequate time for community education and engagement. 
    1. Two substitute commissioners should be appointed to fill vacancies on the commission.
      1. Substitute commissioners should commit to attend all meetings and participate in the process but may not vote unless appointed to fill a vacancy on the commission.
    2. The redistricting commission should conduct all its activities and deliberations in the most transparent manner possible using as a minimum the requirements of the Kansas Open Meetings Act.
    3. The redistricting commission should implement a process for resident engagement well in advance of district drawing. Such community engagement and education could easily grow out of the effort to encourage residents to respond to the decennial Census. Early community engagement should focus on one precursor of redistricting, determining which neighborhoods and communities constitute a ‘natural’ district with shared interests in city policy. This pre-redistricting effort is referred to as identifying communities of interest.

Local redistricting best practices require the engagement and education of residents in the redistricting process through public hearings, workshops, and public outreach – especially efforts designed to reach non-English speaking communities. A community of interest is a neighborhood or community that would benefit from being whole within the same district because of shared interests or history.

Features that may define a community of interest include:

  • Areas that share public policy concerns such as traffic control, flooding, or infrastructure maintenance and improvement
  • School attendance areas
  • Neighborhood dividing lines such as roads, rivers, or highways
  • Areas around community centers, parks, or other landmarks


BACKGROUND:  adopted September 2005, reviewed 2009, reviewed 2023.

STATEMENT OF POSITION:  Annexation is an essential consideration in the development and implementation of and use, growth management, transportation and economic development plans for Topeka and Shawnee County.  K.S.A. 12-250 et seq, permits the City of Topeka to annex tracts of land through three types of annexation procedures: unilateral, island and county-approved.  LWVTSC endorses these procedures as stated in current statutes.  LWVTSC endorses the following in order to provide transparent representation with broad public input in the annexation process.  LWVTSC position on annexation should minimize the time, energy, litigation, and cost of annexation for all stakeholders and enable orderly, smart, and informed growth.

  1. All potential stakeholders should share with one another specific information about the proposed tracts of land to be annexed as soon as they are identified, so that the effects of annexation may be considered very early in the negotiation of an annexation agreement.  The stakeholders will write and sign and annexation agreement during a unilateral, island and county-approved annexation procedure, particularly during a unilateral procedure.
  2. The annexation stakeholders should obtain knowledge about and skills in principled negotiation to manage the negotiations among themselves and help reach consensus on the contents of each annexation agreement.
  3. The annexation stakeholders, if deemed unable to reach an agreement through principled negotiation, should use an outside person(s) who has knowledge, skills, and experience in certified mediation to manage the conflict.

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Financing Local Government (Update 1983, 1987, Revision 1995, reviewed 2009)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County supports exploration of additional ways of financing local government. These include but are not limited to: contracting for services, sales tax, franchise tax outside the city limits and raising user fees.

Real property within the city and county should be assessed on a continuing basis. State and federally funded properties in Topeka and Shawnee County should not be taxed locally, but there should be a user fee charged for police and fire protection. Tax exempt properties should be encouraged to pay fees in-lieu of taxes for police and fire protection.

Citizen input should be sought in planning the periodic review of priorities through well-publicized hearing prior to budget adoption.

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Housing (1964, 1975, 1987, 1991, Revision 1995, 1999, 2009, revised 2015)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County supports the following for the City of Topeka;

  • Programs and policies to provide a decent home and a suitable living environment for every family in our area;
  • Enforcement for the housing code and fair housing ordinance;
  • Strict enforcement of anti-discrimination laws which provide equal opportunities for purchase or rental of housing and for borrowing money for housing;
  • Adequate staff and funds for the Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development and the Division of the Environmental Code Compliance to administer and enforce the housing code. This code should contain enforceable standards to protect against neighborhood blight;
  • Periodic review of local housing codes, building codes and condemnation procedures for possible reform;
  • A combination of approaches to solve the problem of providing affordable housing for low and moderate-income persons. These include, but are not limited to, planning for low-income single adults; public-private partnerships; housing rehabilitation; support services for low-income persons, such as budgeting, child care and employment counseling;
  • Close cooperation between the city and the Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing to accomplish these goals and to make full use of federal housing programs.

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Local Land Use, Planning and Zoning (1983), Update 1987, Revision 1995, 1999, revised 2009

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County believes that land must be regarded as a resource of the community to be preserved and protected, as well as a commodity to be bought and sold. Therefore, the League believes that the goals of the Topeka and Shawnee County Metropolitan City and County Planning Commissions should be to promote a system of long-range planning and implementation which integrates ecological, economic, physical and social needs, instead of merely projecting present-into-future growth. The League agrees with the current multi-purpose use of the Kansas Expocentre complex.
The League believes that a stable core residential area is necessary to the health and growth of Downtown Topeka. Therefore, we support efforts to preserve, renovate, rebuild and add to core city residential areas.

The League of Women Voters supports the preservation of historic sites. Where expansion threatens historic sites, the League supports a careful review conducted by appropriate planning agencies with consideration given to the carious economic and historical factors.
The League sees the following as seriously affecting land use and development and deserving special consideration by local government and the planning agency agencies;

  • School closings;
  • Urban sprawl versus compact city development
  • Zoning or other ordinances regulating land use;
  • Scenic easements;
  • Open ordinances;
  • Tax increment financing; and
  • Transportation planning

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Shawnee County Schools (Update 1984, Revision 1987, 1995, reviewed 2009)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County supports adequate financing of Shawnee County Public Schools. The League favors and increase of state aid to the local communities to support education and changes in state aid so that urban areas are treated more equitably.
The Boards of Education should avail themselves of whatever federal aid to education should become available. The League favors an increase in teacher salaries and endorses the principle of equal pay for equal work.

The League favors a flexible lone-range educational plan for the community. We note the need to provide for equality of opportunity, for a wide diversity of individual needs and for using new education ideas. We endorse the principal of continuing planned improvement of physical facilities of the Shawnee County School Systems to meet the needs of the school population.

The League believes that equal education is dependent upon racial and socioeconomic integration. The League believes that the following elements are necessary in any plan:

  • Citizen involvement in formulation and implementation;
  • Inclusion of all schools in one county-wide school district;
  • Provision for the enhancement of educational activities and achievements of all students of Shawnee county; and
  • Reasonable stability and continuity.

The League believes that formal, continuing citizen participation is necessary to maintain a system of equal education that is responsive to the needs of the total community.

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Solid and Hazardous Waste Management (1986, Revision 1995, 1999, 2011)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County supports implementation of KS 65-3405 requiring Shawnee County to create, review and update a solid waste management plan. We believe that the county should invite and include citizens to participate in the planning process.

As the Shawnee County Health Agency is responsible for waste management regulatory functions, sufficient personnel and funds should be provided to that program.

The League believes that waste reductions are essential in the management of solid and hazardous wastes. A separation of recyclables at curbside is advocated for recycling and reuse. Such management options should be considered regularly, as markets and sales become viable. Activities dealing with waste reduction reuse and recycling should be an integral part of a Shawnee County Waste Management Plan as determined by the Shawnee County Commission.

Any processing or disposal facility should be evaluated for its public health, social, environmental and economic impact on the county by the responsible regulatory agency. Citizen input should be encouraged.

The League supports such funding sources as user charges, property taxes, volume-based rates and grants. The County Commissioners should regulate the rates for collection, transportation and processing and disposal services to ensure fairness and equity of costs and quality of services for all urban and rural residents and businesses.

The Commissioners should continue to support in a county wide education program including Keep America Beautiful and Shawnee County Recycling. The Recycling Department should have sufficient personnel and funds to carry out its responsibilities.

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Public Health Care in Shawnee County (1999, reviewed 2009)

The League of Women Voters of Topeka-Shawnee County promotes a health care system that provides access to comprehensive quality health care for all citizens and that controls health care costs.

The League believes that public health services play a principal role in assuring and maintaining a healthy community. Cooperation and coordination of the public and private health care sectors are essential. In our county, public health needs are met primarily through the Shawnee County Health Agency. The League supports efforts that enable the Health Agency to meet the needs of clients form the diverse population of the county.

Role of the Shawnee County Health Agency: The role of the county government should be the recognition of health problems and unmet needs and the assurance that health standards are kept high. The Shawnee County Health Agency should assume responsibility for coordinating programs with other public and private health care providers.

It is critical that the Health Agency identify and evaluate health service problems within the county by data collection, monitoring changes in health trends, and developing programs to meet identified needs. In the area of policy development the Health Agency should prioritize health needs, set achievable and measurable goals, and evaluate results. Long-term plans will require the involvement of private health care providers, community organizations and individuals along with the Health Agency.

Administration: Recognizing the responsibility of the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) to provide for health care for Shawnee County citizens, the League advocates that a member of the BCC serve on the Health Agency Board as a nonvoting member. The primary responsibility of the BCC should be approval of the budget which would indicate support of proposed programs.

The Health Agency Board would be advisory to both the Health Officer/Administrator and the BCC. While funding for the Federally Qualified Health Center is available, the Health Agency Board remains a governing board for the primary care services.

The Board should consist of an uneven number of members with three-year staggered terms. The board should be comprised of user/consumers of the health agency services, representatives of private health care providers, and persons from the community-at-large. No member should serve more than three (3) consecutive terms.

The Board should assist the Health Officer/Administrator in preparation of a budget for adoption by the BCC. Staffing and program initiation or termination should be reviewed by the Board. The Board should cooperate with the Health Officer/Administrator and staff in setting yearly and long-term goals and evaluating those goals.

The Health Officer /Administrator should be chief executive of the Shawnee County Health Agency and be the authority in setting policy and protocol. Minimum qualifications for this position should be an MD and MPH. The Health Officer/Administrator should have responsibility for maintaining the improving health of the county through health care services that address the present and future needs of clients, a staff of trained and experienced workers, and a budget that allows for improvement or expansion of programs, not merely continuation of the same programs.

Budget: The annual budget should include adequate funding to fulfill the primary responsibility for public health, and to meet community health needs. Salaries should be comparable to similar positions in the community. Public health services should be a priority for funding by the BCC.

Financing: The League endorses financing of the Agency through a combination of taxes, client fees, insurance payments, and grants. The League agrees that no person should be denied services because of an inability to pay; therefore, the BCC should not be over-reliant on client fees for financing. There should be a clearly identifiable fee schedule provided to clients. Every effort should be made to utilize computer programs and staff to achieve maximum collection of accounts receivable.

Primary Care: The Health Agency staff, the board and the BCC should make provisions for funding for primary care when funding for Federally Qualified Health Centers is no longer available.

Health care provided by the Health Agency should be located conveniently for those needing the services. Therefore, short-and long-term plans should incorporate opportunities for expanded services for children, adolescents and adults through rental, purchase or construction of additional space. Clinic hours should be extended to times that are convenient for a working clientele.

Health Education: Health education is a major thrust in public health and should be a major component of all Health Agency programs. The health educator should serve at a level equal to program managers within the Health Agency to provide expertise in planning for health promotion and protection, disease prevention, and access to service.

Home Health Services: The League believes it is imperative the Health Agency maintain home health services. Fees should not prohibit access to care so that clients’ independence is not impaired.

Environmental Health Services: Believing strongly in the protection and maintenance of our natural resources, the League endorses a county system of rules, regulations and standards to prevent and eliminate environmental conditions that impair or are hazardous to the health and safety to Shawnee County residents. The Health Agency should be responsible for testing, inspections and implementation of county environmental resolutions.

The League believes that the Health Agency should inspect licensed and registered day care facilities. Educational opportunities for restaurant and food retail inspectors and for food handlers should be provided.

Dental Care: Recognizing dental care as an important component of health care, the League encourages the Health Agency to develop a program coordinating dental services to meet the needs of clients.

Mental Health Services: The League believes that the emotional and mental health of clients is as important as their physical well-being. The Health Agency should continue to address the mental health needs of its clients and should facilitate referrals for those requiring more intensive mental health care.

Volunteer Program: A volunteer program of professionals and lay persons is beneficial to the Health Agency. The League supports its continuation and expansion.

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Mental Health Services in Topeka and Shawnee County (2008, reviewed 2009)

The Local Mental Health Committee affirms the statement of positions forwarded by the State Mental Health Committee adopted by the state LWV on April 28, 2007 and found in the state position under Social Policy.

As it relates to patient care and outcomes, it is felt that the system would benefit from a greater and continued oversight at the local and state level. This oversight could be by an independent group such as the LWV. If the oversight function is to be effective, they will need the ability to look at basic reports and records of the local mental health center(s). It seems that the system of care is broken. Providers do not appear to be working to establish a consumer driven, accountable system. It is difficult for patients to negotiate the system.

The Committee believes the mental health system should be consumer driven.

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See also: LWV Kansas Position Statements

See also: LWVUS Public Policy Positions

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