Regional
11:06 am
Wed August 31, 2005

Dems To Push For Merit System Laws

Frankfort, KY – Democratic lawmakers who are upset over Governor Fletcher's pardons of indicted officials say they'll take their objections to the legislature to push for stronger merit system laws.
House Speaker Jody Richards and other democrats say they plan to file and support bills to counter the types of patronage activity the Fletcher administration has been accused of employing.
Governor Fletcher says he wants to put the attorney general's investigation behind him. But a prosecutor says the probe by the grand jury he refused to testify before will continue.
Tuesday, Fletcher was the first witness called before the Franklin County special grand jury. His appearance came the morning after the Governor pardoned everyone but himself who could be charged in the investigation. Fletcher's appearance with the grand jury lasted less than three minutes.
Prosecutor Scott Crawford-Sutherland says the grand jury will continue its work, undaunted by the pardons. Crawford-Sutherland says that could lead to more indictments and, ultimately, a final grand jury report on its findings.
And the attorney general's office says the Governor has his facts wrong when he compared some of the crimes he pardoned to noodling.
That's a term for grabbing fish by the hand instead of with a hook and pole.
Crawford-Sutherland says he was taken aback by Fletcher's attempt to denigrate the seriousness of the offenses that have been charged.
Comparing 22 felony counts of tampering with physical evidence and tampering with a witness to noodling is "offensive" he said.