Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Another example of why the personnel investigation was flawed

Leave it to the Herald-Leader to play up UK employee discontent over the apparent selection by the Board of Trustees' nominating committee of prominent Kentucky Republican and Ernie Fletcher backer Steve Branscum to be the board's new chair. The newspaper makes it appear as if Branscum's ties to the governor are poisonous, when in reality it appears that some of the UK employee trustees think Branscum's one of those who thinks of UK as athletics entertainment for the masses and little more.

Of course, the paper's going to play up the anti-Fletcher angle in its ongoing attempt to ensure the defeat of the incumbent governor, but in its zeal to discredit Fletcher, the paper accidentally dredged up yet more evidence of why the merit system hiring probe was bogus.

In the very last paragraph, veteran reporter Art Jester mentions that during the investigation, an e-mail surfaced from Branscum to a member of the governor's staff, asking that a highway department superintendent be replaced. The story notes that Branscum testified before the grand jury "but no indictments were brought against him."

Of course not. Since when is asking for someone to be fired or demoted or transferred, or recommending someone for a job, a crime?

(Well, obviously it was to this tainted and crooked grand jury because it indicted Bowling Green attorney J. Marshall Hughes for making employment recommendations, so anything's possible.)

The mere fact, however, that the grand jury investigated a private citizen's employment recommendations and a request that someone be demoted is yet more evidence of just how illegitimate this whole deal was.

Branscum is an outstanding Kentuckian, a huge supporter of UK, a hard-working businessman and an all-around decent sort of fellow. We have no idea whether or not he will actually get to be UK board chairman, but we have no doubt that if eventually selected, that he'll do an oustanding job.

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