State Refuses To Pay Last Bill To Education Commissioner Search Firm

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - The state has declined to pay bills from a consulting firm that led a failed search for a new education commissioner, and the disagreement has led to a court battle.

Officials have criticized the firm, Ray and Associates of CedarRapids, Iowa, for an "unsuccessful and discredited search."

In May, the state school board hired Illinois educator Barbara Erwin, but she resigned shortly after amid controversy over errors on her resume and criticism of her leadership in past jobs.

Interim Education Commissioner Kevin Noland told Ray and Associates in a letter that the state would not pay its final invoice of $33,734.77.

Ray and Associates has filed a lawsuit over the money in Franklin Circuit Court, saying it fulfilled its duty to identify three qualified finalists. The board has countersued, asking for a refund of $15,000 it has already paid.

"We feel that because they didn't deliver a qualified successful candidate that they did not fulfill their end of the contract," Noland said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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