Office of the Attorney General
Governor and Attorney General Announce Settlement In University Board Case
Governor Steve Beshear and Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway today announced a settlement agreement that will resolve litigation filed by former Attorney General Greg Stumbo against former Governor Ernie Fletcher.
“I am pleased the matter has been resolved without further litigation or detraction from the work of the universities,” said Gov. Beshear. “This settlement allows the universities to move forward in such a way that will not be disruptive, while bringing proper balance and perspective to the boards.”
Gov. Beshear and General Conway have agreed that former Gov. Fletcher illegally and improperly appointed a disproportionate number of members of one political party to the boards of the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville and five of the state’s six regional universities.
State law requires that appointments to university boards proportionately reflect the political registration of Democrats and Republicans within the Commonwealth. Gov. Fletcher appointed a disproportionate number of Republicans to the university boards, creating an imbalance in violation of state law.
The settlement agreement will not remove Gov. Fletcher’s appointees who have undertaken a duty to serve their respective university boards. However, the agreement establishes a compliance plan whereby Gov. Beshear is required to use his appointment powers in a manner that will bring the boards within the legal requirements at the earliest possible date.
The Franklin Circuit Court judge handling the case had previously suggested that all persons receiving the appointments at issue in the lawsuit would be required to come before the court for a hearing on the validity of their appointments. The settlement agreement avoids placing that burden on the appointees.
“This settlement allows trustees who are diligently serving on our university boards to continue their service through the end of their terms,” General Conway said. “The boards will be brought into compliance through attrition and executive appointments at the end of expired terms.”
Based on the current make up of the boards, only Morehead State University is currently in compliance. Murray State University will be in compliance after the governor’s appointments in 2009. All remaining boards will come into compliance after the Governor’s appointments in 2010.