FRANKFORT — John R. Steffen, head of the Kentucky Executive Branch Ethics Commission, is leaving the post in mid-May to become head of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance.
Steffen, of Georgetown, will replace Sarah M. Jackson, who retired last fall. The registry administers Kentucky's campaign finance laws and ensures public access to campaign financial data and reports.
The ethics commission, which is scheduled to meet May 4, will determine who will replace Steffen at the independent agency, which oversees ethical standards that govern the conduct of all executive branch employees.
Steffen's annual salary at the ethics commission is $97,488. Jackson's salary when she left the registry was $121,182.
During his seven years as executive director of the ethics commission, Steffen has been involved in several widely publicized cases, including investigations of former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer, the state Fish and Wildlife Department, and nepotism involving property-valuation administrators.
"I'm very excited about this new opportunity, but I will miss the people I've been working with," Steffen said.
Steffen, 48, was general counsel of the ethics commission from 2004 to 2008 before being named director.
He is also a major in the Army Judge Advocate General Corps, where he has been a reservist since 2000. He is a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, on active duty from 2003 to 2004 and 2008 to 2009.
Before working at the ethics commission, Steffen was assistant general counsel for the state Finance and Administration Cabinet and was staff attorney for the Public Service Commission and the Labor Cabinet.
"John is uniquely qualified for the position of executive director at the registry," registry chairman Craig Dilger, a Louisville attorney, said.
Steffen has a law degree from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Centre College.