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LRC Elthics Commission chooses new director

The Legislative Ethics Commission will meet on Tuesday, July 21 at 10 a.m. in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex in Frankfort.

The July meeting will be the final meeting with Judge Anthony Wilhoit as the Commission's Executive Director. At the conclusion of the meeting, in Room 125 of the Annex, there will be a public reception to honor Judge Wilhoit's 60 years of public service, and the long-time service of Connie Evans, who is retiring after nearly 18 years as the Commission's staff assistant.

Commission employs new executive director

The Kentucky Legislative Ethics Commission has chosen John Schaaf as the Commission's new Executive Director, effective August 1 when Judge Anthony Wilhoit retires.

In searching for its next Executive Director, the citizen-run, bi-partisan Commission advertised locally and nationally, and worked with the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws (COGEL) to recruit applicants.

"We received 38 applications from all over the U.S., and interviewed four very capable people before making our decision," said Commission Chairman George Troutman of Louisville.

Judge Wilhoit has led the Commission staff since 1997, shortly after he retired as Chief Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, on which he served for 21 years. Prior to that, he was the state's first Public Defender, and served as Woodford County Attorney and Police Judge.

In 2012, Judge Wilhoit received the COGEL Award, the highest honor given by the international organization of public and private organizations working in the fields of ethics, campaign finance, elections, and open records.

In 1992, Schaaf worked with the Task Force on Governmental Ethics to draft the legislation the General Assembly enacted as the Code of Legislative Ethics, which created the Legislative Ethics Commission. The Commission is the only citizen-run (no current legislators) legislative ethics commission in the nation.

Schaaf has worked as the Commission's legal counsel since 2004. For 16 years prior to that, he was General Counsel for the bipartisan Legislative Research Commission.

In addition to Chairman Troutman, other members of the Ethics Commission are: Vice-Chair Pat Freibert of Lexington; former Sen. Charlie Borders of Grayson; Deborah Jo Durr of Richwood; Bob Fulkerson of Louisville; attorney Elmer George of Lebanon; retired Judge Paul Gudgel of Lexington; Henry L. Stephens, Jr. of Union; and former Sen. Ken Winters of Murray.

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