FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky's chief highway engineer and one of his aides have resigned under pressure after an internal auditor discovered a possible conflict of interest on a road construction project.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Joe Prather announced the resignations on Friday evening of engineer Gilbert Newman and aide Bill Gulick, an executive adviser to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet's Office of Project Development.
Prather said he is trying to "create a culture of integrity" in the Transportation Cabinet, which has been the subject of an FBI probe into alleged bid-rigging. Transportation Cabinet spokeswoman Chuck Wolfe said the incident is unrelated to the FBI probe.
"We must ask everyone to live up to a higher standard of expectations and conduct," Prather said. "Even the mere perception of a potential conflict must, if possible, be avoided."
Newman and Gulick resigned effective next Friday after questions were raised this week by an internal auditor about a project to widen U.S. 421 in Franklin County. As state highway engineer, Newman and Gulick had oversight over the project.
Newman, who made $125,000 yearly, participated in discussions and decisions regarding the widening project even though he owns property along the road. A Transportation Cabinet press release said Newman also approved a change order for the project and took part in discussions with the road's designer, WMB Inc. Gulick was formerly employed by WMB.