Daily Archives: Nov. 16, 2009

Kansas to share settlement in $3 million Vonage phone consumer-protection case



Kansas will receive about $45,000 of a $3 million, multi-state settlement with Vonage, a company that provides voice-over-Internet phone service, Attorney General Steve Six announced Monday.

Attorneys general from 32 states had alleged that Vonage, one of the nation’s largest providers of Internet phone service, violated consumer-protection laws.

Vonage denied any violations.

The states had alleged that customers received unexpected and nonrefundable charges after signing up for “free trial” offers with Vonage.

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County to consider dropping performance criteria for raises

In July, while considering next year’s budget, Sedgwick County commissioners froze salaries for those making $75,000 — including themselves — and suspended performance-based merit raises to give employees a 2 percent raise.

The county’s current policy states that employees have to at least meet the minimum performance criteria to be eligible for performance-based pay increases. A rating of “does not meet expectations” would make an employee ineligible for a pay increase.

The county is considering suspending the performance criteria for the 2 percent raises for employees who make less than $75,000.

Commissioner Gwen Welshimer said she initially thought that employees still would have to meet criteria to qualify for 2 percent across-the-board raises. But she said commissioners Kelly Parks and Karl Peterjohn were not under that impression. All three commissioners asked for a resolution to remove the performance qualification, which the board will consider Wednesday.

County manager William Buchanan estimated that the move would cost the county $54,000. He said 77 employees out of 1,746 failed their performance evaluation at the end of 2008.

Sharon Fearey files for Sedgwick County commission

Sharon Fearey

Former Wichita City Council member Sharon Fearey has filed for Kelly Parks’ seat on the Sedgwick County commission. The Eagle earlier had reported that Fearey, a Democrat, was weighing a run for the District 4 seat. “The time that I have spent meeting and visiting with people during this period has been very helpful,” Fearey said in a news release. “As I continued to hear from people in the district, my commitment to them and my desire to tackle the issues they are concerned about became even stronger.”

Fearey was twice elected to the city council.

Lucy Burtnett, a Republican whom Parks defeated in 2006, also has filed for Parks’ seat.

Parks, a Republican, has not yet announced if he is running again.

In other commission races, Democrat Betty Arnold has filed for Dave Unruh’s District 1 seat. Unruh, a Republican, has filed to retain his seat.

Derby Mayor Dion Avello, a Republican, has filed for Gwen Welshimer’s District 5 seat. Welshimer, a Democrat, has filed to retain her spot on the board.

City Council member Jim Skelton also has told The Eagle he is considering running for Welshimer’s seat.

Derby City Council member Chuck Warren also has said he plans to run for that district.