Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Fires Top Official Amid Ethics Charges

Apr 4, 2013

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer has fired a top official in the department who was hired by his predecessor Richie Farmer. 

Deputy Commissioner Bruce Harper was already on unpaid leave at his request after being charged with three ethics violations. 

Although he declined to say why, Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says Harper was given the option to resign or be fired. Comer’s chief of staff Holly Harris VonLuehrte confirms to the Courier-Journal that Harper was dismissed. 

Harper was hired as Deputy Agriculture Commissioner under Richie Farmer who is facing a record 42 charges stemming from his eight years at the helm of the department. The Executive Branch Ethics Commission found Farmer used state funds and state employees for personal gain. 

The ethics charges were the result of an audit Commissioner Comer ordered when he took office in 2011.