Two final cases in state hiring scandal settled

FRANKFORT — Two former officials in Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration have agreed to pay fines to settle ethics charges against them related to a 2005 investigation of state hiring practices.

The Executive Branch Ethics Commission approved settlements Friday with Basil Turbyfill, who was director of Fletcher's Office of Personnel and Efficiency, and Richard L. Murgatroyd, who was Fletcher's deputy transportation secretary and deputy chief of staff.

Under the settlement agreements, Turbyfill must pay $1,500 and Murgatroyd $2,000.

John Steffen, executive director of the ethics commission, said the settlements are the last two cases involving the hiring scandal in the Fletcher administration.

The commission brought charges against six Fletcher officials. All cases ended in settlements.

More than a dozen officials of the Fletcher administration were charged by a Franklin County grand jury for violating the state personnel laws. In August 2005, Fletcher issued a pardon for everyone involved except himself.

Fletcher was later indicted on three misdemeanor charges, but they were dismissed in a settlement agreement with then-Attorney General Greg Stumbo.

In June 2007, the ethics commission found probable cause to charge Turbyfill with four counts alleging he considered political influence in personnel actions of rank-and-file state workers protected by the state merit system.

Murgatroyd was charged in 2007 with nine counts of attempting to misuse his public office for his personal political benefit.

The commission also charged Murgatroyd with "facilitating the systematic preselection or approval of individuals based on private political interests rather than qualifications."

Turbyfill signed his settlement agreement last month and Murgatroyd signed his Jan. 11.