Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

November 16, 2012

Just a suggestion

State merit employees can give to political campaigns

ASHLAND — Charles Geveden, the former deputy secretary of the state Department of Juvenile Justice, admits he asked employees of the agency to contribute to the successful re-election campaign of Gov. Steve  Beshear in 2010 but no one was pressured to give and there were no consequences for those employees who did not give.

Employees questioned by at least three agencies investigating allegations Geveden acted improperly and may have violated the law by asking them to donate to the governor’s re-election campaign seem to confirm what Geveden is saying.

The FBI, the state attorney general’s office and the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission  have interviewed current or former employees of the Department of Juvenile Justice about calls made in 2010 by Geveden. None of the workers questioned said they felt threatened, although one said he felt pressured to donate but never did. He continues to work for the department.

Geveden said he was unaware of the investigations. None of those interviewed apparently could point to any employees who may be been promoted, transferred or demoted because of a donation they did or did not make to Beshear’s re-election campaign. Then what’s the problem?

At one point, state merit employees were barred from participating in anyway with the campaigns of those seeking state offices, whether it be making a campaign contribution, placing a sign endorsing a candidate in their front yards, or even having a bumper sticker for a candidate on their car. However, it was state merit employees who complained that their freedom of speech was being unfairly restricted, and state merit employees now are free to actively participate in political campaigns.

As long as there is no evidence that employees were in any way reprimanded because they ignored Geveden’s suggestion that they donate to the Beshear campaign, we have no problem with what he did. It may have been adding a degree of partisan politics to jobs that are supposed to be free of such things, but scores of state employees in Frankfort got their merit jobs not just because of what they knew but who they knew. They more than most of us understand how politics works in the real world.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • PAUL CHITWOOD: Ruling on same-sex marriage defies state constitution

    News that U.S. District Judge John G. Heyburn once again usurped the will of Kentucky voters is tragic and disappointing. By declaring gay marriage legal in the commonwealth, Heyburn defied the essential, foundational governing document that ensures order and justice, the Constitution of Kentucky.

    July 8, 2014

  • More difficult

    In a state like Kentucky with the number of adults who have not graduated from high school is much higher than the national average, undereducated adults have been encouraged to earn high-school equivalency degrees by studying for, taking and passing the General Educational Development (GED) test.

    May 22, 2014

  • Primary election sends messages

    The voters — or at least the minority who took the time to go to the polls Tuesday — have spoken, with Boyd County voters sending mixed messages in the county-wide races that gathered the most attention.

    May 21, 2014

  • Click it or Ticket

    "Click it or Ticket” is a phrase used so often in recent years most of us hardly give it a thought.

    May 21, 2014

  • Top trooper

    Thumbs up to Trooper First Class Shane Goodall of Flatwoods for being named 2013 Trooper of the Year for Kentucky.

    May 20, 2014

  • 05/18/2014 — This Week in the Tri-State

    Local news

    May 18, 2014

  • Magolene S. Fraley 1929-2014

    Magolene Spears Fraley, 84, of Wurtland, died Saturday in Community Hospice Care Center in Ashland.

    May 17, 2014

  • Business grant

    Morehead State graduate student Kayla Keeton, who received her undergraduate degree from MSU last spring and is now studying for her MBA at the school, has received a $5,111 grant from the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development to help her start Belles of the Bluegrass, a high-tech wedding planning business.

    May 16, 2014

  • Recovery Fest celebrates kicking addiction

    The wet weather no doubt impacted the size of the crowd at Saturday’s Recovery Fest 2014 at Veterans Riverfront Park in Ashland, but there were plenty of reasons for addicts who are now drug free to celebrate and for speakers like State Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, and others to talk about the impact the prescription drug epidemic has had on this region and for others to distribute literature and offer words of encouragement that could convince some to seek help in their battle with their drug addictions.

    May 13, 2014

  • In Your View 5/13/14

    Letters to the editor:

    May 13, 2014