Governor's Office of Minority Empowerment
Governor Fletcher Receives Report From Blue Ribbon Panel

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 09, 2007  
Contact Information:  Jodi Whitaker

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Governor Ernie Fletcher today received the final report from the Blue Ribbon Panel he appointed to study the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights.  The report was delivered to him from the chairman of the panel, Rev. Russell Awkard, and three other panel members, vice-chair Larry Smith, Sharon Fields and William Cofield.

Governor Fletcher thanked Rev. Awkard and the members of the panel for their hard work on this important task. The Governor also thanked Deputy General Counsel Mike Alexander for bringing the issue to his attention.

“In 2005, I established the Blue Ribbon Panel to study the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights,” said Governor Fletcher. “A preliminary draft of the report revealed that the commission’s staffing level was inadequate to address the number of discrimination cases it receives. It is for this reason that, earlier this week, I asked the General Assembly to appropriate to the Commission an additional $200,000 in fiscal year ‘07, and an additional $300,000 in fiscal year ‘08, to meet its mission of encouraging fair treatment and discouraging discrimination against all persons in Kentucky,” said Governor Fletcher.

Rev. Awkard thanked Governor Fletcher for assembling the task force.

“We appreciate Governor Fletcher’s leadership and the confidence he placed in us when he tasked us with reviewing this important issue,” said Rev. Awkard.

“The members of the Blue Ribbon Panel have worked diligently since its inception to assess the immediate and long-term needs of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights by performing a comprehensive analysis of the organization, with recommendations that will align the operations of the commission to meet the continuing demands and needs of an efficient and effective 21st Century Civil Rights enforcement state agency,” Rev. Awkard said.  “We believe we have met your expectations of producing a blueprint which can be used as a guide for the development and implementation of a more effective system of operation so as to maximize the Commission’s efforts to serve the people of this great state.”

The Panel members thanked the Governor for giving them the opportunity to work on this important project. 

A copy of the panel’s recommendations can be obtained through the office of the Governor’s General Counsel.