A Kansas Senate committee has advanced the nomination of Sarah Shipman to head the Department of Administration. However, committee members had some pointed questions about a $20 million deal to build a new utility plant in Topeka for state office buildings.
Democratic Senator Laura Kelly says approving the deal without lawmaker consent has created a lack of trust between legislators and the agency. Shipman, who’s currently the acting secretary, says she’s working to restore that trust.
“I hope that by stopping the plant project and working with the Legislature and trying to figure out what the solution is going forward and involving the Legislature in that solution, I hope that begins the conversation,” says Shipman.
Republican Senator Michael O’Donnell also raised concerns that state agencies could be paying too much to rent facilities outside state office buildings. He says while they did forward Shipman’s nomination to the full Senate, there won’t be a final vote until they get answers to their questions.