LOUISVILLE — The leaders of the Kentucky Association of Counties on Wednesday authorized the hiring of two private consultants to make suggestions about the management and long-term direction of the organization.
The executive board, which is down to four members after past president David Jenkins resigned last month, gave current KACo president J. Michael Foster the authority to negotiate the final hourly rate with Robert "Bobby" Russell, a former Madison County Attorney and state Transportation Cabinet inspector general to conduct a management audit.
Foster also will negotiate final terms with Lexington-based Covenant Development to write a strategic plan for KACo, a cooperative organization for county governments that offers insurance, financing, lobbying and legal services.
The last time KACo developed a strategic plan was in 2000, said first vice president Chris Harris, a Pike County magistrate.
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KACo's larger board of directors already has approved some new procedures since the Herald-Leader reported this summer that the five top staff members spent $600,000 on travel, meals and entertainment in two years.
Harris said recommendations and direction provided by Russell and Covenant Development, combined with the ongoing review by state Auditor Crit Luallen and the work of KACo's new internal audit committee, will help the organization tighten its spending policies and bolster oversight, Harris said.
"It's not going to be a quick fix. It's not going to happen overnight," Harris said after the meeting. "It will be done the right way without knee-jerk reactions."
In addition, the executive board will move to replace Jenkins — who resigned from the board while officials looked into who made charges to strip clubs and an escort service on his KACo-issued credit card when he was president in 2008 — with the president from 2007, Shelby County Magistrate Tony Carriss.