WKU Public Radio News Staff
Wed October 23, 2013
James Comer 'Proud of the Before and After Picture' of Kentucky's Agriculture Department
Although he’s made no decisions about a run for governor in 2015, Kentucky’s Agriculture Commissioner is sounding like a candidate as he travels the state.
Since taking the reins in 2012 from embattled former commissioner Richie Farmer, James Comer told a group of Rotarians in Bowling Green Wednesday that the Kentucky Department of Agriculture now lives by three words…transparency, efficiency, and accountability.
Comer touted his office’s new website that allows the public to see all expenditures.
“If you want to know how much I spent on travel last month, you can click on there and see. If you want to know how many paper clips I bought last month, you can click on there and see," commented Comer.
Comer said the Agriculture Department has achieved greater efficiency by privatizing certain services, including a fuel testing lab, a move he said has saved $600,000 a year.
“This year we inspected more fuel pumps in a 12 week period than the previous administration checked during a 12 month period , and we did it with two less employees," Comer explained.
Comer added that he has terminated several merit employees in the department, not for political reasons, but for accountability. He also placed GPS tracking devices on department vehicles, which he called a good taxpayer investment.
Perhaps hinting at a possible gubernatorial bid, Comer said many of the changes he brought to the Ag department could be implemented statewide.