Kentucky Government Lags In Hiring Minorities

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Three of Gov. Ernie Fletcher's nine cabinets meet state goals for employing minorities, but the rest of state government is falling short, including Fletcher's office and those of every other constitutional officer.

Fletcher's personnel secretary, Brian Crall, said the overall percentage of minorities and women has increased slightly since Fletcher took office in December 2003. But Crall said the merit system law for civil service workers has hampered the ability to recruit a diverse work force because it says personnel decisions cannot be made on the basis of "ethnic origin or sex."

"If we really want to push the issue of female and minority hiring, we've got to not make it against the law to hire people because they're female and minority," Crall told The Courier-Journal.

Attorney General Greg Stumbo, who investigated the administration's actions regarding merit laws, said in a statement the administration is "making excuses" about its minority and female hiring data.

"It is unfair for the administration to blame the merit law for its shortcomings," said Stumbo, whose office did not meet the goals for minority hiring but did so for female hiring.

Stumbo's staff was 7.93 percent minority and 52.42 percent female as of the latest report, through June 30. Fletcher's office was 5.56 percent minority and 70.37 percent female.

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