Friday, July 08, 2011


Farmer Reappoints State Employees

{Kentucky}...Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has given political appointments to Danita Fentress-Laird and Kathryn Willis, two state employees at the center of a probe into alleged hiring favoritism in the agency he oversees. The appointments came amid a Personnel Board investigation into whether they had previously been placed into protected "merit system" positions to avoid the possibility of being replaced when a new commissioner takes office next year. Such transfers, known as "burrowing," are illegal in Kentucky. Department of Agriculture attorney Nicole Liberto says Fentress-Laird and Willis resigned from the protected positions voluntarily. The Personnel Board unanimously decided on Friday to continue investigating the department's decision to place the two women in merit jobs, which would protect them from dismissal after Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer leaves office at the end of the year.

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