Bias charges have state ethics panel studying changes

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A state ethics panel is looking to change how its members are appointed, a move aimed at limiting allegations of political bias.

Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission chairman John Webb says the five-person panel is looking to eliminate claims of the panel's bias.

Currently, the governor appoints its members. Under the proposal, the governor would choose from a pool of candidates compiled by either the governor, attorney general or auditor.

Earlier this month the commission ended its investigation into Governor Ernie Fletcher. The panel had been looking at whether Fletcher and members of his administration violated the state ethics code after allegations that protected state jobs were going to political supporters.

The panel did not bring charges against the governor, who had appointed four of its members at the time of the decision. The General Assembly considered the proposal earlier this year. It cleared the House, before stalling in the Senate.

Webb says the panel wants a renewed push. Webb says the commission is planning to settle on an exact plan by October.

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

AP-NY-08-25-07 0842EDT

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