Bipartisan bill to bring transparency to workforce dollars moves forward

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Reps. Susan Westrom and Jim DeCesare testify on House Bill 189

Legislation to bring more oversight and transparency to the state’s area development districts, entities using state and federal dollars on aging programs and employment services, passed the House State Government Committee unanimously on Thursday.

House Bill 189, co-sponsored by Republican Rep. Jim DeCesare of Bowling Green and Democratic Rep. Susan Westrom of Lexington, seeks to place more accountability on the spending and programming of the state’s 15 area development districts (ADDs) and require additional financial reporting. The bill also brings the ADDs under the same oversight rules that have long governed other state agencies and local governments.

The transparency legislation contains provisions to:

  • Ban bonuses or any other one-time payments to any ADD employee.
  • Protect “whistleblowers” in accordance with state law.
  • Require advertising of an open executive director position with adequate notice and sufficient time for interested candidates to apply.
  • Require the ADDs to follow federal and state procurement statutes and regulations.
  • Require review of all 15 ADDs within the next four years, to determine if their policies and internal controls are adequate.  Further examinations would follow if necessary.

In her remarks during the House State Government Committee meeting Thursday, Rep. Westrom thanked the work of the Kentucky Chamber and other groups on this issue.

House Bill 189 now heads to the full House for a vote on the floor.

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