Holy crap-Joe Sonka, unlike yours truly and most bloggers, continues to actually get off the couch and report facts.
He’s found the latest in a long line of quasi-public kingdoms of boys gone wild using public tax dollars. Following in the long line of the Lexington Airport, Lexington Public Library, League of Cities, Kentucky Association of Counties, consider, the Kentucky State Fair Board. Consider Harold Workman’s company and how it treated Drew Martin:
As vice president of the Fair Board since 2007, Drew Martin oversees the Kentucky International Convention Center. In 2005, Martin left his position as executive staff advisor at the Fair Board, where he made $41,033 per year. Upon returning as vice president two years later, his salary leaped to $95,000, and is currently in the six-figures.
Martin is the son of Andrew “Skipper” Martin, a prominent Frankfort lobbyist and longtime power player in Kentucky politics. Martin is a former executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party and was Gov. Paul Patton’s chief of staff.
During the Patton administration, Skipper Martin was the governor’s representative on the Fair Board, and he has maintained a relationship with Workman ever since.
Multiple sources close to the Fair Board tell LEO that Drew Martin was a vocal advocate for Workman amid his attempted ouster two weeks ago.
Though Workman has the latitude to appoint anyone he chooses to “non-merit” roles, like directors and vice presidents, there are legal guidelines that must be followed in filling “merit” positions to ensure the most qualified applicants are considered.
Information obtained by LEO raises questions as to whether such merit system guidelines — which often involve gray areas — have been strictly followed at the Fair Board in recent years.
Or this oldie but goodie-a Kentucky staple, nepotism:
In December 2008, Barbara Whitley retired as the Kentucky State Fair Board’s director of Human Resources. But her retirement was short-lived: The following summer, the Fair Board rehired her as executive director of HR.
The new position not only resulted in a large salary bump — she makes $99,750 a year, almost $25,000 more than she earned as director — but she is simultaneously drawing her retirement pension, a practice commonly known as “double-dipping.”
A similar situation unfolded the following year, when Jennifer Bray was promoted from director of the Venue Services Division to a Fair Board administrator, where her salary has increased almost $12,000 to $81,900 per year. Bray is a double-dipper, too, retiring in 2008 before returning five months later.
It’s also worth noting that in her new position, Bray oversees three family members — her husband, son and brother — who work in her department.
And how sweet for Harold Workman’s nieces!
In late 2008, the Kentucky State Fair Board reorganized and added 48 new positions, with most going to the new Arena Division to operate what would become the KFC Yum! Center. However, the reorganization also created a handful of new administrative positions — like the ones filled by Whitley and Bray — adding to the already hefty lot of high-paying Fair Board jobs.
After her department lost six employees in the reorganization, Corrine Fetter’s title was changed from Exposition Division director to administrator, and she received a $19,000 pay increase, bringing her annual salary to $81,900. Two of Harold Workman’s nieces now work under Fetter in the Expositions Division.
This is the kind of crap that got Ernie Fletcher and his “disciples” rightfully indicted for violation of KRS 18A. Kentucky Auditor Adam Edelen needs to audit and if appropriate, make the proper referrals to law enforcement and any other supervisory agencies.