|Ag Spends $26,000 for Hotel Rooms in Lexington
|July 15, 2008
|Below - Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington
Commissioner Richie Farmer
This video is worth watching....given climate of tough budgets and no money...
KY. Agriculture Dept. claims not enough money to inspect all gas pumps and rides, spends $26,000 sending employees to conference
06:54 PM EDT on Monday, July 14, 2008
(WHAS11) - The Kentucky Agriculture Department is complaining that it doesn’t have enough money to inspect all the gas pumps and amusement rides in Kentucky.
But they had enough money to send 53 employees to a conference in Lexington and pay for hotel rooms for several of them.
Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer is defending the taxpayer expense for a conference that he and his staff hosted last month.
One state lawmaker says the $26,000 dollars in expenses may be defensible, but doesn’t look real good in these tough budget times.
Richie Farmer is the president of the Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture, so Kentucky was obligated to host the annual Sasda conference last month at the Marriott in Lexington.
About 200 people from 15 southern states and two territories attended and you paid the registrations for a quarter of them. According to documents we obtained through Kentucky’s open records act, the state agricultural Department paid $295 dollars apiece, $15,600 dollars total for conference registrations of 53 employees. State Representative Jim Wayne says he can’t judge whether that was a good use of tax dollars.
Commissioner Farmer says the money for the Sasda Conference was already budgeted and his employees learned a lot and it made Kentucky look good.
The agenda for the week long conference shows there were three general sessions with speakers. On Wednesday, it was all fun with trips to a Lexington horse farm and Churchill Downs.
And during the Sasda Conference, nearly two dozen Kentucky Agriculture Department employees spent nights at the Marriott.
Taxpayers paid for the rooms, a total of more than $11,000 dollars even though several employees lived or worked in Frankfort, just 25 miles away from the Marriott conference site. Some got to stay because department officials say they were on call 24 hours a day during the conference. Farmer says, for others, the $129 dollar per night room was almost as cheap as paying for gas.
200 people attended the conference and 53, yes 53 of them were Farmer's employees?
Hotel rooms for people who live 20 miles away?
Complaining you don't have money for enough inspectors but spending like this?
And the 5 day conference, yes 5 days including just 3 work sessions of about 6 hours for the week-Wednesday's only activity was being bussed to Churchill for lunch and betting?
Ok, maybe he can play basketball but in charge of your tax dollars?
Here's the video link (copy it and paste it in your browser/address bar and watch it!
The convention website is http://www.sasda08.org/