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Friday, March 26, 2010

Lexington Herald Leader Editorial Sees "KLC [Kentucky League Of Cities] Ignoring Its Reform Promises". I AGREE!

KLC ignoring its reform promises

Lawmakers, take note: Promises by the Kentucky League of Cities to clean up its act are ringing hollow.

As staff writer Linda Blackford reported, the League has renewed a lucrative contract without competitive bidding, which conflicts with the state auditor's recommendations.

Also, the $156,646 a month contract is going to a company with whom one of the League's top executives has conflicts of interest.

Does this sound like an organization that's turning over a new leaf?

Lawmakers should pay attention because legislation aimed at improving scrutiny of the League's operations may be at risk of running aground, on political egos.

The legislation, which also applies to the Kentucky Association of Counties, would subject both organizations to open meetings and records laws, give their boards a code of ethics, require them to adopt procurement polices in compliance with state law and authorize the state auditor to review their books.

We won't attempt to dissect the pride-of-authorship conflicts that are threatening these reforms, which are not controversial and have already been approved by both chambers.

Suffice it to say that most taxpayers don't care in which chamber a bill originates or who sponsors it, they just want the legislature to look out for their interests.

And it's definitely in taxpayers' interests to avoid a repeat of the outlandish spending and lax accountability uncovered by the Herald-Leader and state Auditor Crit Luallen.

But there was no competitive bidding before extending an insurance claims company's contract for well over $5,000. Why? The League has recently taken over the Kentucky School Boards Insurance Trust. Officials said it would be unwise to change claims carriers while taking on a large new line of business.

That's not unreasonable. But the decision would be much more credible had it been made after considering competing bids.

KACo was the subject of scathing audits in 1992 and 2009.

If the legislature fails to strengthen the laws governing these organizations, more scathing audits and taxpayer abuse will be inevitable.

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