Thursday, January 17, 2008

Time for Little Jackie Conway to make a stand

With the decision by the Personnel Board not to investigate improper hiring decisions made by Jonathan Miller when he was state treasurer, the ball is now squarely in the court of the state's new attorney general, Little Jackie Conway.

Little Jackie has a decision to make. Does he want to be a strong, courageous AG like Ben Chandler and pursue wrongdoing by a prominent member of his own party, or does he want to be a partisan hack like Greg Stumbo and play politics with the AG's office?

The method chosen by Miller to legitimize an outrageous raise given to his female "friend" Brooke Parker is blatantly illegal. The new Beshear administration Personnel Cabinet advised Miller to backdate a couple of Awards for Continuing Excellence (ACE) for Parker. The only problem with that is that ACE awards are statutorily capped at 10 percent of an employee's salary and can only be given to one person once every two years. Parker's salary increases, for which the proper justification was not filed, amounted to 280 percent in eight years.

So now it's up to Conway. This may well be the defining moment in his tenure as attorney general. Will he do the right thing and investigate this improper personnel decision, along with another one made by Miller? Or will he defer to the Personnel Board's decision and play the partisan game?

We get the feeling that the Personnel Board is just passing the buck here and washing its hands of the matter. That's hardly a way to instill confidence that the board's decisions are being made in the spirit of the laws and regulations governing state personnel decisions.

Stumbo didn't wait for the Personnel Board before he went after Ernie Fletcher's administration for allegations of personnel law violations. A decision by Conway not to investigate a fellow Democrat even after the Personnel Board took a powder would be further conformation that Stumbo's acts were politically motivated.

So, Little Jackie, are you going to do the right thing? Or are you going to protect your cronies? The eyes of the state are upon you.


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