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.