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Council members appear before ethics board

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Herron, Keltner, and Johnson speak to council about their work for the city

By Moreland Jeff

 

The city of Campbellsville’s Board of Ethics met Monday afternoon to review items from the recent audit produced by Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts Mike Harmon’s office.

The audit revealed findings, including that three Campbellsville City Council members had done business with the council that was not properly conducted. Harmon’s report indicated that the city had entered into no-bid contracts with city officials, creating potential conflicts of interest. The city council members that owned or had interest in businesses in which the city procured goods and services from were confirmed by Harmon’s office to be Randall Herron, Terry Keltner, and Allen Johnson. 

The five-member board invited the three council members to Monday’s meeting.

Shortly after being called to order, the board voted to appoint Phil Allan Bertram as its chair. Bertram is the newest member, replacing Don Bishop, who passed away last year.

Bertram was approved by a 2-0 vote from members Mark Rodgers and Frank Cheatham. Lucy Cox and Carol Kirtley, the other two members, were not present at the time of the vote, but did arrive later.

The board then went into executive session to discuss personnel matters, and called each of the three council members individually to speak with them. Herron was in with the board for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, while Keltner and Johnson each spent approximately 10 minutes speaking with the board.

Afterwards, the board remained in executive session for nearly 45 minutes before returning to the main meeting room of the Campbellsville Civic Center.

Upon return, Cheatham, who said he had been volunteered to speak on behalf of the group, said the board wanted to thank those who attended, as well as the citizens who were on hand to listen to the proceedings.

“We are in the process of addressing the issues. We don’t technically have any official statement today on the issues but we are doing that, and that will be done pretty quickly,” Cheatham said.

In addition, Cheatham made a motion that the city include a revised section in its financial disclosure statement to conform with the ethics ordinance, pertaining to gifts valued at $100 or more. The motion also included that the city clerk would be the person in charge of handling such items.

He added that as a sidebar, every elected official, as well as any candidate for city office must yearly complete that form and have it on file with the city clerk, who will be the custodian of the forms. The motion was seconded by Cox and approved with all members voting in favor.

A second motion was also made by Cheatham, and that one stated that all city employees and elected officials take part in training related to a new procurement policy, which would also include training on the ethics ordinance. Cheatham said the board had recently discovered from Mayor Tony Young that a new procurement policy is in the works, and should be completed shortly.

“We would like to recommend, and this is not to penalize anyone, but we understand that if you don’t know what’s going on, sometimes it’s hard to follow the rules. So we’d like to recommend in a motion that the ethics training for this procurement policy is in place for city employees and elected officials,” he said.

All members voted in favor of the motion.

There is no scheduled meeting for the ethics board at this time.