Retired Kentucky Supreme Court Justice and Somerset resident Daniel Venters was reappointed to the Executive Branch Ethics Commission by Gov. Andy Beshear.
Venters is already serving a two-year term on the commission, beginning in 2020. His new term is due to expire in 2026.
Venters said he was unsure if he would be reappointed to the board for a second term, but said he was happy to continue serving the state in that capacity.
Having worked with the commission before, Venters said he knew there was a lot of work to be done, especially in reading files and paperwork.
“But of course, I’m used to that. I’ve been doing this for a long time, so it fits well with my skill set,” he said.
The commission responds to inquiries and provides guidance to employees of the executive branch of the state, verifying conflicts between the employee’s work in the state and their personal affairs, Venters explained.
They also investigate complaints from others about possible ethics violations by members of the executive, judging and awarding penalties accordingly, he said.
Along with Venters, David Samford of Lexington was also reappointed to the board, serving a term until 2025. Samford is the general counsel for East Kentucky Power Cooperative.
There are currently five board members, with retired Franklin Circuit Court Judge Roger Crittenden, retired Louisville Senator David Karem and former Lieutenant Governor Crit Luallen rounding out the board.
“I’ve known all of these people for a long time, and they’re exceptionally qualified and exceptionally good people,” Venters said. “I’m honored to be placed on a board to work with them.”
He continued, “It’s interesting work, and I appreciate the opportunity to have this service, especially with these people.
The commission made headlines recently, as Kentucky lawmakers this spring passed a law that would reduce the number of people a governor could appoint to the council.
Currently, Governor Beshear appoints three of the five members, while Attorney General Daniel Cameron appoints one and Assistant Commissioner Ryan Quarles appoints one.
Originally, Venters was appointed to the commission by Cameron, Venters said.
The new law limits the number of governor appointees to two, while increasing the total number of commissioners to seven. The remaining five members – one each – would be appointed by the state treasurer, auditor, agriculture commissioner, secretary of state and attorney general.
Beshear challenged this new law, and a Jefferson County judge agreed, saying it was an encroachment on the governor’s authority and a violation of the constitution.
Quarles appealed this decision. In the meantime, Venters said the ethics commission is continuing its work.
If the new legislation comes into effect, the council will follow the new requirements, Venters said.
“I am indifferent to the outcome of this decision,” he said.