Richie Farmer's latest hires also include his girlfriend's friend and a fellow Clay countian

12/02/2011 07:47 AM

Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer has hired six people for the final two months of his administration, including his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s friend and a courthouse security officer from Farmer’s home county.

Farmer confirmed to the Courier-Journal’s Joe Gerth that he approved the hiring of Patricia Apperson, who is a friend of his girlfriend, Stephanie Sandmann.

Gerth also reported last month that Farmer had appointed Sandmann to a $5,000-a-month job as an executive assistant on Oct. 31.

Personnel records obtained by Pure Politics through an open records request show Apperson was hired Nov. 16 for $1,997-a-month as a worker in the commodity supplemental feeding program.

Apperson requested that she work in Louisville. Previously, she worked as a bus monitor for the Jefferson County Schools and has had custodian jobs at a hospice and a school in New York.

Sandmann, also of Louisville, listed her work experience on her application as serving as a receptionist and clerk.

Farmer on Thursday defended his hiring of Sandmann. He told Pure Politics on camera that she was qualified and that most employees appointed by top officials are people they already know:

James Comer, a Republican legislator, will take over as agriculture commissioner on Jan. 2. Comer said in an interview on Pure Politics Wednesday night that he wouldn’t pre-judge any personnel decisions until employees have the chance to go before his transition team.

But he said given the thin level of experience Sandmann has in agriculture or marketing, he didn’t expect to keep her in the department.

Farmer, a Republican from Clay County, also hired a fellow Clay County High School graduate in the last month.

He appointed Randy Craft as an agricultural inspector with a salary of $2,416 per month, according to personnel records.

Craft previously worked as a security supervisor at the Clay County Courthouse. Before that he was a media contact for the Clay County School Board and owned a gift shop.

Farmer also re-hired Christopher Parsons, a graduate of St. Catharine College and Rockcastle County High School, Parsons worked for Farmer in the Agriculture Department from May 2006 until April 11, 2011.

Parsons’ application said the reason for leaving in April was for “other opportunities” to work as a land contractor. Farmer re-hired Parsons at a salary of $2,408 — about $150 less than what Parsons was earning before as an agricultural inspector.


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