New State Ethic's Commission Executive Director Appointment Causes Controversy

Friday, April 8th 2016, 7:36 pm

The State Ethic's Commission will soon have a new executive director. But the appointment doesn't come without controversy.

Ethics Commission Executive Director Lee Slater read the board his letter of resignation Friday, April 8.

“Dear Chair Stocker. I quit. Again. This time I really mean it,” he said.

Slater stepped down from the $150,000 per year job he's held for the past three years, and recommended his deputy director, Ashley Kemp, for the job.  And without public discussion or any kind of search for a replacement, the board unanimously voted to give Kemp the job.

“I think the commission just has a lot of confidence and respect for her. I feel like we’ve made a great decision today. There was no public comment period either. Why? We typically do not have public comment during commission meetings,” said Oklahoma Ethics Commission Chair Cathy Stocker.

Former State Representative Mike Reynolds is crying foul.

“For the executive director to hand pick his replacement without anybody knowing is about as unethical as you can possibly get,” said Reynolds.

Reynolds said the board should have conducted a search for the best candidate.  He suspects they had their minds made up before this meeting, a violation, he says, of the state's open meetings law.

Executive Director Slater’s last day will be June 30.