Politics & Government

Brownback won’t be present when budget cuts announced

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback will not be present when his office unveils $50 million in proposed budget cuts on Friday.

Brownback’s spokeswoman, Eileen Hawley, confirmed that the governor will be out of the office that day. She would not say whether he would be on vacation or whether he would be in Kansas.

Hawley said the office does not disclose the governor’s whereabouts for security reasons. She also said that the governor is always working, regardless of whether he is in the Statehouse.

The job of announcing and explaining the cuts will be left to Brownback’s budget director, Shawn Sullivan. Hawley said that the office had always indicated Sullivan would make the announcement, since he has spearheaded the effort to identify cost savings.

Hawley said Brownback will decide what to cut based on Sullivan’s recommendations. She called Brownback’s absence when the cuts are unveiled a nonstory.

Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, said Brownback should be present to answer questions about the budget cuts.

“He’s the person ultimately responsible for what happened ... and now when the bleeding begins, he ought to be there to explain what he cut and why,” Carmichael said. “Instead he is trying to avoid – if not abdicate – his responsibility and pawn it off on poor Mr. Sullivan.”

Reach Bryan Lowry at 785-296-3006 or blowry@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BryanLowry3.