FRANKFORT, Ky. (3/19/13) – Agriculture Commissioner James Comer said today’s initiating orders by the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission are the result of more than a year’s worth of cooperation between the Ethics Commission and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
“This department has invited a level of scrutiny never before seen in state government,” Comer said. “We have become a model of transparency and accountability. Imagine what we might learn if every agency in state government was placed under the same magnifying glass.”
Comer praised the Ethics Commission for moving forward in an organized and expeditious manner. He said the Commission’s professionalism enabled the Department to continue moving forward while fully cooperating with the investigation of the previous administration.
Since the new administration took over in January 2012:
• Commissioner Comer requested a thorough, sweeping audit by the Kentucky Office of the Public Auditor and demanded that all employees cooperate with the audit.
• Commissioner Comer fired at least 16 political employees, and dozens who served under the previous administration are no longer employed by the Department.
• Commissioner Comer has taken numerous steps to improve transparency in the Department, including publishing his official schedule, launching a new KDA website that details all expenditures, and taking agriculture to all of Kentucky’s 120 counties in his first year in office.
• Commissioner Comer has ordered tighter controls on the department’s vehicle fleet including GPS monitoring of vehicles.
• Commissioner Comer cut spending on the department’s motor fuel and pesticide testing laboratory, which is on track to save taxpayers more than $400,000 this year alone.
Comer pledged that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture would continue to cooperate fully with investigations into the previous administration.
“We operate in the sunshine here,” Comer said. “We have made drastic improvements, and our work continues.”
Information provided by Ted Sloan
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