March 7, 2012

Workman’s company

Fair Board records reveal high administrative salaries and questionable hiring practices

In December 2008, Barbara Whitley retired as the Kentucky State Fair Board’s director of Human Resources. But her retirement was short-lived: The following summer, the Fair Board rehired her as executive director of HR.

The new position not only resulted in a large salary bump — she makes $99,750 a year, almost $25,000 more than she earned as director — but she is simultaneously drawing her retirement pension, a practice commonly known as “double-dipping.”

A similar situation unfolded the following year, when Jennifer Bray was promoted from director of the Venue Services Division to a Fair Board administrator, where her salary has increased almost $12,000 to $81,900 per year. Bray is a double-dipper, too, retiring in 2008 before returning five months later.

It’s also worth noting that in her new position, Bray oversees three family members — her husband, son and brother — who work in her department.

Such examples of exorbitant raises for administrators, double-dipping and well-connected hirings are common at the Fair Board, according to documents LEO Weekly obtained via open records requests.

These revelations raise serious questions about the internal operations of the Fair Board, just as the state agency is coming off the failed attempt by Gov. Steve Beshear to oust its longtime president and CEO, Harold Workman.

In late 2008, the Kentucky State Fair Board reorganized and added 48 new positions, with most going to the new Arena Division to operate what would become the KFC Yum! Center. However, the reorganization also created a handful of new administrative positions — like the ones filled by Whitley and Bray — adding to the already hefty lot of high-paying Fair Board jobs.

After her department lost six employees in the reorganization, Corrine Fetter’s title was changed from Exposition Division director to administrator, and she received a $19,000 pay increase, bringing her annual salary to $81,900. Two of Harold Workman’s nieces now work under Fetter in the Expositions Division.

In the Administrative and IT Services Division, Jerry Frantz was promoted from director to executive director in 2009, with his salary rising almost $23,000 to $99,750.

According to Fair Board income statements obtained by LEO, administrative labor and benefit expenses have risen more than $2 million over the last decade, including a $1 million increase since the 2008 reorganization.

Counting the recently fired general manager of the Yum! Center, Ted Nicholson — whose future is still in limbo — the Fair Board pays eight employees a salary exceeding $99,750, with president and CEO Harold Workman’s salary, benefits and expense reimbursements totaling $313,208 this fiscal year.

As vice president of the Fair Board since 2007, Drew Martin oversees the Kentucky International Convention Center. In 2005, Martin left his position as executive staff advisor at the Fair Board, where he made $41,033 per year. Upon returning as vice president two years later, his salary leaped to $95,000, and is currently in the six-figures.

Martin is the son of Andrew “Skipper” Martin, a prominent Frankfort lobbyist and longtime power player in Kentucky politics. Martin is a former executive director of the Kentucky Democratic Party and was Gov. Paul Patton’s chief of staff.

During the Patton administration, Skipper Martin was the governor’s representative on the Fair Board, and he has maintained a relationship with Workman ever since.

Multiple sources close to the Fair Board tell LEO that Drew Martin was a vocal advocate for Workman amid his attempted ouster two weeks ago.

Though Workman has the latitude to appoint anyone he chooses to “non-merit” roles, like directors and vice presidents, there are legal guidelines that must be followed in filling “merit” positions to ensure the most qualified applicants are considered.

Information obtained by LEO raises questions as to whether such merit system guidelines — which often involve gray areas — have been strictly followed at the Fair Board in recent years.

For example, at the end of 2008, Anderson Howard and Joseph Clark were hired as event coordinators at the convention center and in the Operations Division, the first time such positions had been filled in at least a decade, according to the Personnel Cabinet. Through an open records request, LEO Weekly obtained the two employees’ “approval for hiring” forms, which detail the interview process and why they were hired.

Though Clark’s form suggests multiple applicants were considered, one of Clark’s interviewers listed on the form disputes the accuracy of the document.

When shown the “approval for hiring” form, administrative branch manager Mike Mateja tells LEO that Clark was the only person he and Operations Division director Tom Crawley interviewed for the position, and he believes management was set on putting both Clark and Howard in these merit positions from the start.

“Not only are we required by KRS 18A.150 to interview military candidates, the merit system is set up to select the best person to fill the job,” Mateja says. “And by interviewing only one person, I don’t think you’re exactly selecting the best person.”

Early in the application process, Mateja says Fair Board personnel director Barbara Whitley told both he and Clark Bertloff — an administrative branch manager in Operations who would interview Howard — that they needed “to hurry up and fill those positions, because we know who’s going to end up in them,” referring to Howard and Clark.

Clark is the nephew of Cynthia Hoye, executive director of the Indiana Fairgrounds. Both Clark and Howard have since been promoted to higher-paying positions in different departments at the Fair Board; their positions as event coordinators have not been filled since they were promoted.

Mateja recalls two other times in recent years in which management hired a connected person whom they were set on for a merit position, passing over more qualified applicants in the process.

Crawley, who recently retired, could not be reached for this story, while Bertloff and Whitley declined to answer any questions.

Most Fair Board employees contacted for this story either declined to comment or referred us to Amanda Storment, a Fair Board vice president and spokeswoman. Though she did not answer all questions as of press time, she did say, “Harold Workman has not directed an employee of the Fair Board to hire someone as a merit employee.”

Though the Fair Board was self-sufficient for many years, the state agency fell $6.47 million into the red during the last fiscal year. This week, state lawmakers will decide whether to OK the $8.5 million bailout Beshear granted the agency in his recent budget proposal.

While Beshear’s budget proposal would give $5.5 million immediately to the Fair Board, along with $1.5 million in each of the next two fiscal years, the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Monday recommended only keeping in the $5.5 million request.

Committee Chairman Rick Rand says that in order for the Fair Board to receive funds in upcoming years, they will have to provide business plans to prove their finances are in order. The full House is expected to vote on the proposed budget on Thursday.

Meanwhile, there are high hopes for increased future revenue at the Fair Board: The board recently approved a lease that paves the way for the owners of Holiday World to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, and there are plans to lure a luxury $100 million hotel to the fairgrounds in an effort to attract more conventions. 


By Papitzu
Someone needs to look into the new gate system? How much did that cost the tax payers? How long until it actually works? Are those people being honest and transparent with those records?

Thanks to

By markwillson22
Thanks to , I was able to submit a research paper on time. I thought it can not be done in 7 days but then I received my order in just 6 days. It is indeed true that Australian writers are one of the best writers in the world. I'm proud to be an Australian.

If pain is a problem then

By mikedeem
If pain is a problem then physiotherapy dubai is the solution. Study and experiences prove that physiotherapy has been a very effective tool against pains and injuries ranging from minor to major. Hence the prescription of physiotherapy can never be a wrong one in case of curing pain or injury.

Android tips

By ductape45
android games tricks Few would have predicted the meteoric rise of the Android platform. If you cast your mind back to 2008 Google looked to be suffering from the economic crash just as badly as the next company. The first Android smartphone, the HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1), was fairly well received, but widely written off as “no iPhone killer”. Many people were denigrating Chrome because it took four months to secure 1% of the browser market. Google’s share price took a hit and didn’t start picking up again until the beginning of 2009. Fast forward five years and according to the latest research from IDC Android claimed an 84.7% global market share in the second quarter of 2014. Chrome has around a 45% share, in case you’re wondering. Google looks stronger and richer than ever, but the future for Android isn’t entirely bright. android games tricks

Numerous schools have these

By aikenalan
Numerous schools have these scholarships, as well as other nearby scholarships, recorded on their site. A lot scholarship search website permit you to search many scholarship chances and restricted your search by school, gpa, field of study, extracurricular exercises, ethnicity, and religion.

Wow, superb blog layout

By MigdaliaLathrop
I however have got a problem with your jumps in logic and one might do nicely to help fill in all those breaks. In the event you actually can accomplish that, I will undoubtedly end up being fascinated responsive design

This design is steller

By TerrenceDaigle
You could certainly see your skills within the work you write. The sector hopes for even more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times follow your heart more bonuses clicking here seo optimization.

Android news

By ductape45
android news No OEM has benefited more from the rise of Android than Samsung, but there are signs that its dominance is under threat. Looking at the Q2 2014 earnings report we can see that the mobile division’s profit is declining. It’s hardly panic stations, Samsung still made more than $6 billion profit and the bulk of it came from the sale of smartphones, but the mobile division profit is falling faster and it’s a big drop of almost 30% compared to the same quarter last year. android news

Thank you for taking the

By davidalan1122
Thank you for taking the time to publish this information very useful! bearpaw emma tall