Regional
11:38 am
Tue August 2, 2005

State Hiring Probe Widens

Frankfort, KY – The commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection has appeared before a special grand jury investigating personnel practices in the Fletcher administration.
Monday, Lloyd Cress declined to answer questions on the advice of his attorney Barbara Edelman of Lexington.
Edelman says prosecutors have told her Cress is not a target of the investigation. But Edelman says she didn't want Cress answering questions until she gets a better idea of where prosecutors are taking the probe.
Cress appeared for only a few minutes before appearing before a Franklin County Circuit Court judge.
The eight people who have been indicted for violating state personnel lawsd have been associated with the Transportation Cabinet or Governor Fletcher's office.
All of the personnel charges are misdemeanors and all of them have pleaded not guilty.
Meanwhile, Governor Fletcher has opened his fundraising for his 2007 re-election campaign just days before the annual Fancy Farm political picnic and while his admninistration is embroiled in the middle of the personnel investigation.
In a letter to the Registry of Election Finance, campaign treasurer Ronald Switzer says Fletcher would be running with Lieutenant Governor Steve Pence.
Fletcher is only the second Governor in the last two centuries who is eligible for re-election to a second four year term. Democrat Paul Patton took advantage of a change in the Kentucky constitution to allow succession.
The name of the committee will be "Friends of Governor Fletcher".
No Democrat has yet stepped forward to express a public interest in opposing Fletcher.