State Audit: Estill Misused Homeland Security Grant

FRANKFORT, KY -- Estill County misused about $10,000 in homeland security grant money to help a local official buy retirement time for himself, State Auditor Crit Luallen told the Lexington Herald-Leader, reported in its Saturday edition.

Luallen is referring her office's audit report to state and federal agencies, including the Kentucky Department of Military Affairs, which supplied the grant money from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Herald Leader reports.

"My concern about this is, we're in very difficult financial times where every dollar counts," Luallen said. "So whenever our audits find something like this that clearly falls outside the guidelines of proper expenditures, we ought to make every effort possible to try and recover the money."

Gen. John Heltzel, at the state Department of Military Affairs, said he has imposed new rules so future grants can't be spent this way in Kentucky unless the federal government approves in advance and in writing, reports the Herald-Leader.

"I don't want you to get the idea that we think this is OK and we're going to let it happen again," said Heltzel, director of Kentucky Emergency Management.

But the official for whom retirement time was purchased, Estill County Emergency Management Director Fred Rogers, said he did nothing wrong.

Rogers, 52, said he agreed to take his current job more than a decade ago if the county would help him buy credit-time in the County Employees Retirement System, so he can draw a pension in the future, the newspaper reports.

Rogers said part of his salary properly is paid by homeland security grants from the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program, a federal program that gives money to Kentucky counties surrounding the Bluegrass Army Depot near Richmond, where hazardous weapons are stored.

CSEPP funds are to be used for community safety, which is his job, Rogers told the newspaper.

Estill County clearly stated in its budget that $9,952 in CSEPP funds would be used as reimbursement for money spent buying his retirement time, Rogers said. Nobody at the state Department of Military Affairs or the Federal Emergency Management Agency who saw the county's budget warned that it would violate any rules, he said.

FEMA spokesman Kurt Pickering at the agency's regional office in Atlanta said he was unaware of the situation and had no immediate comment, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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  • by Matt Location: Lexington on Dec 16, 2008 at 08:40 AM
    Misusing money is Misusing money... regardless of who gets caught and who doesn't. If you do something wrong you should pay for it. and KAY, I'll tell you exactly what was wrong... He used funds for something else for his own benefit. No matter how good of a job he has done, he still was in the wrong. By the way, I am a republican as well.
  • by kay Location: estill on Dec 16, 2008 at 07:24 AM
    @ A Location L::: Some of us were born here and our whole family is here. Why would we want to move? It's a quiet little town and I love it here...
  • by Brent Location: Mt. Sterling on Dec 16, 2008 at 06:45 AM
    Crit Luallen LOVES to pick on Republican officials and Republican counties. Look at her record as auditor and that will be abundantly, abundantly clear. She doesn't have to look beyond Frankfort to find officials misusing money.
  • by WHAT Location: IRVINE on Dec 14, 2008 at 08:08 AM
  • by A Location: L on Dec 14, 2008 at 05:50 AM
    @kay Location: estill county Depots been there more than 50years. If you live there its by choice. We all know estill counties 3 deputies arent going to be of any help if any thing ever did actually happen. They shouldnt have gotten anything more then a couple pc's and maybe a couple new guns or cops but instead...
  • by Anonymous on Dec 14, 2008 at 05:20 AM
    Here's a thought no one wants to hear.......state gov't need to start hiring contractors and do away with pension system. Pension system is a finanicial burden that taxpayers get stuck with. Not right tax payers have to pay a retiree to sit at home. Times are changing people......I guess we can always tax more and more to raise funds for growing numbers of retirees, or cut school funding.
  • by steve on Dec 13, 2008 at 08:02 PM
    well i guess Frankfort is mad because they did not get to it first man that figures.
  • by Chris Mitchell Location: Irvine on Dec 13, 2008 at 02:28 PM
    Well lets see here tax payers paying money to someone to retire early. HMMMMMMMMM Tax money supposed to be used for training and materials so that first responders can go provide the services nescessary for the protection of life and property and yet this man is gonna use it for early retirement. I don't care if it was 10 years ago. Get the loan your own self if you want to retire early don't make it payable to the tax payers. I hope judge wallace taylor takes swift action and fires his rear end.
  • by Zatoichi Location: Richmond on Dec 13, 2008 at 12:02 PM
    Looks like Mr Rogers may be retiring real soon.
  • by kay Location: estill county on Dec 13, 2008 at 09:27 AM
    I don't see that anything wrong was done here. Other County employees get retirement benefits, so why not Mr. Rogers? He does his job well and we actually feel a little more secure being so close to that darned Depot! ...and why is something that was decided 10 years ago just now picked up by the State? Sounds like they have been too busy in hiring scandals and other matters
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