Commentary: Business as usual in Ky. Homeland Security office

This editorial appeared in The Lexington Herald-Leader.

When Gov. Steve Beshear reorganized state government, he forgot the Office of Homeboys, er, Homeland Security.

This relatively small operation serves as a funnel for millions of dollars from the federal government to local first-responders and emergency managers.

Created after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the office is populated mainly by people in non-merit jobs and has become a safe house for the politically connected.

The latest example, as reported by staff writer John Cheves, is the hiring of Ralph Coldiron, a long-time Democratic activist and Beshear campaign contributor. Coldiron also gave to the governor's chief of staff Adam Edelen's campaign for Lexington council; he worked for former Gov. Wallace Wilkinson and former Lexington Mayor Scotty Baesler and most recently in the restaurant business.

Coldiron will earn $100,000 a year as executive-director of a board that collects fees from wireless phone carriers to pay to improve local 911 call centers.

The job was advertised as paying $60,000 to $80,000, and Coldiron's predecessor was making $80,538 after four years. Beshear raised the position's pay without informing the fund's board which now must adjust its budget, although plenty of qualified Kentuckians would have leaped at a $60,000 job offer.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Lexington Herald-Leader.