Shawnee County ethics hotline makes a difference

Reports to an ethics hotline Shawnee County maintains have brought attention to policies, procedures and other issues that needed to be addressed, and probably wouldn’t have been without it, county commissioners were told Thursday.

The county has updated some policies as a direct result of the reports it’s received, commissioners Kevin Cook, Shelly Buhler and Bob Archer heard from the county’s internal auditor, Andrea Forbes.

Reports to the hotline have also alerted the county to issues that supervisors have addressed through additional training or staff meetings, she said.

Shawnee County established the service effective Oct. 1, 2015. It has since received 18 reports from people who have either called the hotline or gone to its website, according to Forbes.

The county has investigated and resolved 17 of the reports, and continues to investigate one, she said.

Forbes said the hotline has received 11 reports about personnel and human resources matters, three about financial concerns, three about policies and procedures and one about a theft issue.

Archer stressed that Forbes, whose duties include overseeing the hotline, reports directly to commissioners, so concerns go “directly to the top” without filtering.

Cook said he considered it significant that callers may remain anonymous, so they need not fear retribution.

The commission voted in September 2015 to arrange a contract with Blue Bell, Pa.-based Lighthouse Services Inc. to maintain the hotline, which enables anyone — particularly county employees — to report fraudulent or unethical activities. The county is paying the company $1,130 for this year, Forbes said.

Concerns may be shared by calling (844) 510-0009; emailing; sending a fax to (215) 689-3885; or going online to

The commission also:

• Voted to provide $45,000 this year to the Keep America Beautiful organization, with the money coming from the county’s solid waste department budget. Archer noted that tje Topeka’s city council last year discontinued funding that organization.

• Voted to cancel its March 19 meeting.

• Voted to authorize the payment of $120,000 to American Presort for providing mail services to the county.

• Voted to accept Jeff Reamer’s resignation as Silver Lake Township clerk and accept applications to replace him from township residents until March 15, when commissioners will consider appointing a replacement. Anyone interested should email their qualifications information to, bring that information to the commission office or mail it to the commission at the Shawnee County Courthouse, Room B-11, 200 S.E. 7th, Topeka KS 66603-3933.

• Heard Kansas Expocentre general manager Kellen Seitz say the Expocentre netted $19,000 from Tuesday’s visit here by the Harlem Globetrotters, up from $7,000 it brought in when the Globetrotters appeared there last year.

• Heard Archer and Cook express satisfaction with the things the board of directors of the Joint Economic Development Organization — which includes the three county commissioners — accomplished at its meeting Wednesday evening.

Source Article