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Colyer says he was disappointed by Department of Corrections email

Jeff Colyer on Tuesday criticized an internal email a Corrections Department official sent Friday that said the idea of a special session on prison guards’ pay should be downplayed for political reasons.
Jeff Colyer on Tuesday criticized an internal email a Corrections Department official sent Friday that said the idea of a special session on prison guards’ pay should be downplayed for political reasons. hwoodall@kcstar.com

Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said Tuesday that he was disappointed by an email sent by a Kansas Department of Corrections official advising how a possible special session on corrections workers’ pay could affect the governor’s office.

In the email Friday, Jimmy Caprio, then the legislative liaison for the Kansas Department of Corrections, wrote, “I think we need to downplay special session,” to a Corrections spokeswoman roughly 10 minutes after The Star had asked about a lawmaker’s call for a special session. The special session would address a pay raise for prison guards amid a system staffing shortage.

“That gets very hairy and puts the gov office in a tight spot. Especially if Coyler takes office. His first act as gov would be to reconvene the legislature, where a tax increase would almost certainly be proposed, which Coyler hates,” Caprio wrote in the email, which he then mistakenly sent to a Star reporter.

The email was first reported by The Star last Friday. Shortly after the story was published, the Brownback administration released a statement saying Caprio was no longer employed with the agency.

“I was very disappointed that somebody had written that,” Colyer said Tuesday when asked about Caprio’s email. “That does not reflect my view. There’s one governor at a time. We don’t do things for political reasons.”

The Star’s Bryan Lowry contributed to this report.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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