AppalReD hires new executive director

The main provider of legal help for the poor in Eastern Kentucky has hired a new executive director.

Lance Daniels, a former assistant county prosecutor and public defender in Johnson and Floyd counties, will join the Appalachian Research and Defense Fund Inc. in mid-June, the legal-services agency announced Wednesday.

Daniels is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve currently on active duty, but he will finish that assignment in May, according to a news release.

AppalReD, as the agency is known, provides free legal help in non-criminal cases to disadvantaged people in a 37-county area of Eastern and Southern Kentucky.

"AppalReD is very fortunate to have found a highly respected Eastern Kentucky attorney who is familiar with the problems that AppalReD clients face on a daily basis," John Rosenberg, AppalReD director emeritus, said in the news release.

Daniels will take over from Jonathan Picklesimer, who took over as interim director after the board fired former director Cynthia Elliott in January 2011.

Elliott, who is black, sued AppalReD, claiming the board fired her in retaliation for firing white employees.

The board filed a countersuit saying Elliott engaged in financial improprieties, including using an agency credit card for charges not related to AppalReD's business.

Picklesimer said earlier that AppalReD overspent its budget by nearly $1 million while Elliott was executive director.

The news release issued Wednesday said Picklesimer had gotten the agency's finances in order.