New management at the Bluegrass Area Development District is trying to ease any concerns which may have come from the forced resignation of its former director. Speaking today to Lexington council members, the district’s interim director says a state investigation into possible misconduct continues. Council member Chris Ford attended the meeting.
“I personally am disappointed in many of the turn of events that have led us to this meeting today. We know that you guys are undergoing an audit by the state auditor’s office. And I hope that needed reforms will come from that,” said Ford.
Despite the state audit, the interim director of the Bluegrass Area Development District still believes he runs a credible organization. David Dutlinger took over the agency when his predecessor resigned under pressure. During a meeting today with Lexington council members, Dutlinger said his staff welcomes the state review.
“I don’t think it’s hindering our efforts necessarily. I mean, the state auditor’s come to do an examination, which we welcomed, we asked them to come in. After Lenny Stotlz resigned, this is a great opportunity for us to make sure we’re running efficiently and doing things the right way and that we’re being good stewards of the public funds that we’re entrusted to,” said Dutlinger.
The district, which is the focus of a state audit, works to improve the region’s economy. Downtown Council member Chris Ford asked about high levels of unemployment in his east end area. ADD Interim Director David Dutlinger says other central Kentucky counties also have high jobless rates.
“Technically Lexington itself, or Fayette County, has traditionally had the lowest unemployment in the region, whereas Estill County or Powell County, they struggle in the 20 to 30 percentile. So, they suffer the same plight as your individual district does, that the unemployment levels in those counties are way above the state average,” said Dutlinger.
The Bluegrass Area Development District works to develop the economy in 17 central Kentucky counties. The district receives federal, state, and local funds.