[wiaattorneys] Non WIA story but very interesting for state attorneys

  • From: "Pomerantz, Jane C. \(GC-LI\)" <jpomerantz@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <wiaattorneys@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 25 Aug 2006 09:41:20 -0400

I just had to share this with my fellow state attorneys.  See the
sentence in bold. I bet the Personnel Board is going to be very busy.

JP

___________________________________________________________________
Kentucky Governor Signs Plea Deal 
Haraz N. Ghanbari/Associated Press 
Gov. Ernie Fletcher, who promised to remake the Personnel Board. All
charges against him are to be dropped, ending a 16-month inquiry. 

Under the deal with the attorney general, all charges will be dropped. 
"The governor acknowledges that the evidence strongly indicates
wrongdoing by his administration with regard to personnel actions within
the merit system," the seven-page accord said, adding that he takes
responsibility and that he "hereby states that these actions were
inappropriate."
"This sincere expression of ultimate responsibility, however, is not an
admission in any way of any criminal wrongdoing by the governor," the
agreement said about Mr. Fletcher, who had been accused of giving Civil
Service positions to political supporters. 
The agreement represents welcome news for a governor whose
administration has been bogged down for 16 months by the investigation.
"It's over," Mr. Fletcher said at a news conference in Louisville. "This
is a day we can move forward on the issues that face Kentucky." 
The first Republican governor in the state in more than three decades,
Mr. Fletcher has promised to seek re-election next year, despite
approval ratings that have fallen below 30 percent. 
After he and 15 members of his administration were indicted, Mr.
Fletcher issued a blanket pardon to any staff members affected by the
scandal, and he has consistently maintained that the indictments were
politically motivated.
Attorney General Gregory D. Stumbo, a Democrat, called the agreement a
victory for change in the state.
"This will help ensure that it is no longer who you know, but what you
know that determines hiring," Mr. Stumbo said. "And that will help us
achieve a better and more professional work force."
Critics called the accord a product of expediency. Ending the
investigation frees Mr. Stumbo, who is widely viewed as having ambitions
for the governor's office, to run without breaking his promise to finish
his investigation first.
"Politically, the tough part for Mr. Stumbo is that he is going to take
some heat from fellow Democrats
<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/d/dem
ocratic_party/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  for not holding Fletcher fully
accountable," Scott Lasley, a professor of political science at Western
Kentucky University, said. "He removed the barrier that prevented him
from running, but now he's faced with a political tightrope because he
has to answer critics within his own party."
Mr. Stumbo said he had decided to cut a deal because he believed that
the governor would pardon himself as he left office and because Judge
David E. Melcher recently ruled that the governor could not be
prosecuted while in office. 
It appeared to be inevitable that the governor would never be
prosecuted, Mr. Stumbo said
The agreement said that the grand jury would finish its work and produce
a final report, and that it would not request new information from his
administration.
The agreement stipulates that the governor will accept the resignations
of the four members of the merit board that he appointed and select
replacements from a list of 12 alternate candidates to be submitted by
Mr. Stumbo. 
The deal encouraged former or current state employees who think that
they might have been affected by improper hiring practices to seek
redress through the Personnel Board.
Mr. Fletcher's supporters saw the agreement as vindication. 
"The attorney general was sailing a battleship on a raindrop," said
William Stone, the former Republican chairman from Jefferson County.
"They knew they had nothing. It was reprehensible that it was allowed to
go on this long."
Ted Jackson, a Republican Party
<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/r/rep
ublican_party/index.html?inline=nyt-org>  strategist, took a different
view. 
"Ultimately, the realization that this dismissal resulted from a plea
agreement, and not as a dismissal on the merits of his defense, will
continue to haunt Fletcher," Mr. Jackson said. 
Citing a number of leading Republicans who have called on the governor
to drop his re-election plans, Mr. Jackson said he doubted that Mr.
Fletcher could win a second term.
When Mr. Fletcher took office, he campaigned on promises to clean up the
mess left by the last governor, Paul E. Patton, a Democrat who spent
most of his last year in office fending off accusations of campaign
irregularities and bad press about a lengthy extramarital affair.
"You can't forget that Mr. Fletcher campaigned on a pledge to deal with
the 'waste, fraud and abuse' in Frankfort," Mr. Jackson said. "And I
think the general perception in the state today is that he failed at
that."
Stacy L. Neitzel contributed reporting from Louisville for this article.

Jane C. Pomerantz
Deputy Chief Counsel
Department of Labor & Industry
Phone: 717-787-4186
Fax:     717-787-1303

Wisdom is knowing the right road to take.
Integrity is taking it.

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