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Lovely not confirmed for seat on state board

FRANKFORT — Bernard Lovely, the former chairman of the board of the embattled Blue Grass Airport, lost a gig in Frankfort this week after the General Assembly failed to confirm his appointment to the board of a state-run think tank.

Gov. Steve Beshear re-appointed Lovely on Jan. 9 to the Long-Term Policy Research Board, a group focused on long-term policy analysis for the state.

The term would have expired in 2012. Beshear first appointed Lovely to the board in September to fill the unexpired term of a board member who resigned.

Neither the House nor the Senate voted to confirm Lovely for the full term.

Jay Blanton, a spokesman for Beshear, said that, under state law, Beshear cannot re-appoint Lovely to the position for at least two years.

Lovely did not return calls seeking comment.

Michael Childress, director of the board, said he could not remember another instance where the General Assembly failed to confirm an appointed member.

Senate President David Williams, R-Burkesville, in a written statement, declined to say why the Senate chose not to vote on Lovely's appointment.

"The résumés were thoroughly reviewed in complete consultation with the Senate Democrats," Williams said. "The confirmations speak for themselves."

Lovely's appointment was voted out of a House committee, but the full House never voted on the confirmation, killing the appointment.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, was not available for comment Friday on why the House let Lovely's confirmation die.

Lovely was chairman of the Blue Grass Airport board for three years. He was replaced as board chairman in January by J. Robert Owens, but remains on the board.

As airport board chairman, Lovely was responsible for the oversight of Michael A. Gobb, who stepped down as the airport's executive director in January amid questions about his spending of airport money.

A state audit later showed that Gobb and others at the airport racked up more than $500,000 in questionable expenses between January 2006 and December 2008. There is an ongoing criminal investigation of the airport.