It is remarkable that, since the problems with the Lexington-Fayette police and fire pensions were examined by the Herald-Leader six years ago, there's been almost no action to define and solve the causes of those problems.
It is even more remarkable, as reported by John Cheves and Josh Kegley Sunday, that one of the few actions taken has been to pass a state law to hide information related to these problems that had been publicly available.
Finally, it's astounding that every state legislator representing Fayette County in the 2006 legislative session voted to withhold information from the taxpaying public.
As a result, the salaries these employees earn while working are public information, as are those of everyone from a public school cafeteria server to coach John Calipari to the president of the University of Kentucky. Yet, we can't know how much individual former police and fire employees get in tax dollars.
We did know before legislation — sponsored in the Senate by Tom Buford, R-Nicholasville, Alice Forgy Kerr, R-Lexington, Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort and Ernesto Scorsone, D-Lexington, now Fayette County circuit judge -— passed unanimously in the Senate providing that the retirement accounts be "administered in a confidential manner" and that data about individual recipients could only be released for publication with their authorization.
The House vote was 96-0, with then-Rep. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, and Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington, among four who did not vote
Unanimous action is common for "local bills," that affect only one place, as long as everyone within the local delegation agrees on the measure. Usually, though, they involve what most people in the area would perceive as beneficial.
In this case, it's hard to imagine that much of anyone other than the police and fire departments and their retirees could have seen the upside of withholding this information.
As political animals, delegation members no doubt knew police and fire employees and their unions can be generous, active and vocal players at election time.
So, regardless of political philosophy they voted for a less open government.
That's a shame.