Kentucky Ag Commissioner in Hot Water

The outgoing Kentucky Agricultural Commissioner is facing some tough questions regarding his hiring practices. Current Agricultural Commissioner Ritchie Farmer is set to leave office next year following an unsuccessful bid for the Lieutenant Governorship.

Farmer, who has remained a popular commissioner, has been accused of nepotism in his recent hiring decisions. Shortly before the November election, Farmer hired his current girlfriend for a $5,000 a month job in the state agricultural department. Shortly after the election, Farmer hired one of his girlfriend’s friends, Patti Apperson, for a $24,000 a year job at a Louisville commodity distribution center.

Farmer claims that both women are more than qualified for their respective jobs. Regarding Apperson, Farmer stated, “I appointed her after the team that picked her off of the register interviewed her and recommended her.”

In addition, Farmers claims that his legal advisors told him the hiring decisions did not violate Kentucky law.

Critics, however, are upset, particularly about the hiring of Apperson. While Stephanie Sandmann, Farmers’ girlfriend, was hired as a political appointee (meaning she can be let go without cause and very well might be replaced at the start of James Comer’s term), Apperson was hired as a merit appointment, meaning she can only be fired for cause.

Both hirings, critics claim, demonstrate nepotism and favoritism within the commissioner’s office.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer