Editorials

Farmer's latest waste of tax money stunning

Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, Richie Farmer, gave his concession speech on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa in Lexington, Ky.  Photo by David Perry | Staff
Republican candidate for Lt. Governor, Richie Farmer, gave his concession speech on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 at Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa in Lexington, Ky. Photo by David Perry | Staff

Lame-duck Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer's decision to give his girlfriend a state job makes you wonder whether the onetime Mr. Basketball has some kind of reputational death wish.

Farmer's image took some knocks as his run for lieutenant governor focused attention on his spendthrift ways with the taxpayer's dollar. Then there was his wife's testimony when she filed for divorce about how she and their three sons were living on her pay as a teacher's aide.

Still, many Kentuckians would have forgiven Farmer, preferring to think of him coming off the bench as one of the University of Kentucky's "Unforgettables" or even his commercials promoting the state's agricultural products.

Then this.

Two months before leaving office, eight days before the election, Farmer hired Stephanie L. Sandmann, his girlfriend, as a "special assistant" in the Agriculture Department at $5,000 a month.

No one's even tried to make a case that she's qualified or that any political appointments should be made with just two months left in an incumbent's term. We have to assume she'll be gone as soon as Rep. James Comer takes over as agriculture commissioner Jan. 2.

So, to put $10,000 into his girlfriend's purse, Farmer has thumbed his nose at taxpayers yet again and removed any doubts about his contempt for the public trust.

Unforgettable? Unforgiveable. We can only hope he'll slink away never to be heard from again.

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