Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet
Cabinet moves to dismiss employee charged with thefts
FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 22, 2005) – The Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) has notified a state plumbing inspector it intends to terminate his employment as a result of an investigation of allegations that he issued “fake” permits and pocketed the cash.
Walter Barton, Leitchfield, received a letter from EPPC Secretary LaJuana S. Wilcher of her intent to dismiss Barton for alleged misconduct and unsatisfactory work performance. In the July 15, 2005, letter to Barton, Wilcher said the inspector allegedly admitted to investigators from the EPPC’S Office of the Inspector General (OIG) that he had stolen between $1,000 and $3,500.
Barton is alleged to have issued more than 100 fake plumbing permits – photocopies of actual permits – since at least 2002 to unwitting applicants in Meade, Breckenridge and Grayson counties.
The cabinet’s OIG opened its investigation on July 11, 2005, after receiving allegations from supervisors in the Office of Housing, Buildings and Construction that Barton was issuing fraudulent permits. A notice-of-intent-to-dismiss letter was sent to Barton after he allegedly admitted to OIG investigators that he had issued the false permits and kept the cash.
OIG investigators contacted Kenton R. Smith, Commonwealth’s attorney for the 46th Judicial Circuit (Grayson, Meade, Breckinridge counties), who filed criminal charges against Barton earlier this week.
Under state merit system statutes, Barton must be notified in writing that the cabinet intends to dismiss him. Barton can request a pre-termination hearing, at which time he can appeal the dismissal. Barton is currently on personal leave from his office.