Bevin issues executive order consolidating three boards

08/09/2016 02:27 PM

FRANKFORT — Gov. Matt Bevin added three more boards to his growing list of consolidations via executive order on Tuesday.

The latest boards to be abolished handle tax appeals, crime victim compensation claims and state negligence claims.

Bevin’s order creates the Kentucky Claims Commission and abolishes the Kentucky Board of Claims, Board of Tax Appeals and the Crime Victims Compensation Board. The newly created consolidated board will take up work on Oct. 1, with a slimmer staff, according to a news release from the Public Protection Cabinet.

The governor’s executive order reduces the number of board members from eight to three and mandates that one of the members must be a crime victim, victims advocate, or family member of a victim.

All of the board members will be appointed by Gov. Bevin and be confirmed by the GOP led Senate in 2017.

Previous board members were given “extravagant salary and benefits packages that cost taxpayers nearly $370,000 annually,” according to the Public Protection Cabinet’s release. Tuesday’s order will reduce the compensation package by roughly $270,000.

Public Protection officials say they anticipate cost savings will result from “reduced salary expense for executive staff, consolidation of office space and a reduction in the need for outside contractors.”

“Consolidating these agencies will reduce costs and make funds available to reduce a $2 million backlog of payments to crime victims and to healthcare providers who conduct sexual assault examinations,” Bevin said in a statement. “Rather than pay excessive salaries to board members, this money will be used to compensate victims. It’s an easy and prudent decision that will benefit Kentuckians.”

Advocates, prosecutors and several lawmakers applauded the consolidation in the press release.

Rob Sanders, president, Kentucky Commonwealth’s Attorneys Association and Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney said increasing crime victim compensation through streamlining government services is much needed and long overdue.

For advocates the streamlining comes at a time when they hope more victims will be coming forward to receive care.

“This is one more example of improving systems that will encourage more victims to report sexual assault. With the recent passage of SB 63, the SAFE Act of 2016, hospitals are encouraged to have a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner on call to collect evidence and provide medical care for victims requesting a sexual assault kit at the emergency department,” said Eileen Recktenwald, executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs.

“This new Executive Order will streamline the process of reimbursing health care providers for their crisis response to victims. KASAP also appreciates the assurance that victims are represented on the new Commission.”

Attorney General Andy Beshear, D-Kentucky, who along with advocates and others has been engaged in the prosecution of sexual predators and implementation of increased sexual assault kit testing did not have a comment on the consolidation by Bevin.


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