Former state Tourism Commissioner Mike Cooper saved his bosses some trouble yesterday by resigning.
His multiple missteps involving unauthorized travel, improper use of a state credit card and the acceptance of freebies from a state contractor in violation of ethics laws justified serious disciplinary actions, if not termination.
But if those offenses couldn't move Cooper's superiors in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet to escort him to the door, "Roadkill Bingo" should have.
For the past couple of months, a Web site maintained by a British firm hired to promote Kentucky Tourism in the United Kingdom has suggested tourists play this "popular game" on road trips in the Bluegrass State.
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You "will never see so much roadkill in your life, and so varied," the Web site said. "Sadly, roadkill is a fact of life in Kentucky. The locals are used to it, and as they say, when in Rome ..."
The same Web site urged our friends across the pond to visit "Hazzard County — yep, inspirational home of Boss Hogg and the Duke boys" while in Kentucky, despite the small facts that there is no Hazzard County in this state and the fictional location of the CBS TV series The Dukes of Hazzard was in Georgia.
Add a reference to the "Louis and Clark" expedition (as opposed to the trek through the American West that Lewis and Clark undertook) and a geographical error concerning the Harland Sanders Museum and Café, and it becomes clear the folks running this Web site didn't do the requisite fact-checking.
Why worry about facts when stereotypes, even inaccurate stereotypes, are so much more fun?
Understandably, cabinet officials on Tuesday asked Gosh P.R., the British marketing firm, to take down the site. Understandably, too, the cabinet on Wednesday canceled Gosh's contract.
What is not understandable at all is why the problems with the Web site went unnoticed for at least a couple of months and possibly as long as two or three years.
Someone in the cabinet should have monitored the site on a regular basis. And the responsibility for assuring such monitoring occurred fell squarely on Cooper.
As tourism commissioner, he was a member of the three-person committee that awarded a contract to Gosh. As tourism commissioner, he told Gosh officials in 2010 he would try to get the company more money. As tourism commissioner, he accepted improper freebies from Gosh during an unauthorized 2011 visit to London.
The least Kentucky taxpayers — and his superiors — could expect was that he made sure the state was getting its money's worth from the $179,900 a year it paid Gosh.
He didn't. The state wasn't. It's good he's gone.