Kim Richards – Grounds for removal from office

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KRS 62.010(2) requires every individual who is elected to public office to take the necessary oath of office before undertaking the duties of that office. Those who are appointed to public office must take the oath within 30 days after receiving notice of appointment, as required in  KRS 62.010(3)

Mayor Rick Richards appointed Kimberly Richards to the office of City Clerk-Treasurer for West Buechel in January, 2015, and she began to perform the duties of that office immediately. However, Kim Richards did not take her oath of office until June 9, 2015, more than 30 days later. (See City Council meeting minutes for June 9, 2015 Council meeting below)

By waiting until June to take her oath of office, Ms. Richards violated the time requirements of KRS 62.01(3)

KRS 62.990(2)(b) provides that when the oath of office provisions of KRS 62.01(3) are violated, “his office shall be considered vacant, and he shall not be eligible for the same office for two (2) years.”

All that is now required to get Kim Richards out of West Buechel City Hall is the say-so of a Jefferson Circuit Court Judge.



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West Buechel – Unauthorized Pay

Kentucky law requires the compensation of City employees and non-elected officials to be set by Ordinance.

“The legislative body of each city shall fix the compensation of city employees and nonelected city officers in accordance with a personnel and pay classification plan which shall be adopted by ordinance.”

KRS 83A.070(2)

West Buechel’s Code of Ordinances § 31.36(D) specifically addresses the compensation and conditions of employment for the City Clerk-Treasurer:

Compensation authorized to be paid the City Clerk-Treasurer for conditions of employment and services shall be fixed by the City Council by ordinance.”

The “personnel and pay classification plan” required by KRS 83A.070(2), in general, including the compensation for the City Clerk-Treasurer, is contained in the City’s Personnel Policy and Procedures Handbook which has been adopted by Ordinance, by reference.

West Buechel Code § 37.01 ADOPTION BY REFERENCE.
(A) The policies and procedures, compensation plan and classification plan of the city is hereby adopted by reference as if fully set out herein.
(B) All employees now employed, and those employed in the future, shall be furnished a copy of the policies and shall attest in writing to the Mayor and Council that they have received the policies examined it and understand the contents herein. Employees shall also certify that they have had an opportunity to ask questions concerning same.
(C) A full and complete copy of the policies is on file in the Office of City Clerk-Treasurer.

West Buechel’s Personnel Policy and Procedures Handbook, as it existed and was readily available in print on January 1, 2015, when Rick Richards took office as Mayor, set the maximum hourly pay for City Clerk-Treasurer at $24.34.

kim-3-350pxIn January, 2015, Kim Richards undertook the duties of City Clerk-Treasurer at $26.00 per hour.  For calendar year 2015, Kim Richards was paid in excess of $60,000.

In 2016, Mayor Rick Richards unilaterally increased Kim Richards’ hourly pay to $28.00. Through July 9, 2016, Kim Richards had already received pay from the City in excess of $55,000.

The amount of pay received by Kim Richards in excess of $24.34 per hour has never been authorized by West Buechel’s City Council.

West Buechel: Dark Money – Part II

Through an Open Records request of City Council member Toby Clark, we have obtained several West Buechel bank account statements showing the balances on June 30, 2015, at the start of the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, and also for June 30, 2016 at the end of the year.

These bank account statements show cash on hand declined by $843,986.00 during that twelve month period.

Mayor Richards’ Budget Report for the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year shows a deficit of only $642,553.00.

The $201,433.00 discrepancy between the bank records and Mayor Richards’ Budget Report has yet to be explained. When the issue was raised at a recent City Council meeting, Rick Richards’ ex-wife and City Clark-Treasurer was overheard to say, “Oh, it’s only a bookkeeping error.”

 



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West Buechel: Dark Money – Part I

In a bold and unprecedented move, West Buechel’s beleaguered Mayor, Rick Richards, clearly signals the world that he can spend public funds any way he sees fit, without answering to anyone. With the assistance of his long time associate and business partner, City Clerk-Treasurer Kim Richards, a check for $10,350 was issued and cashed this August.

Rick and Kim Richards refuse to disclose to whom the money was paid and for what public purpose it was expended.

Our Open Records request for a copy of the check, along with all documentation supporting the spending, resulted in the receipt of a redacted check image, with the name of the payee and the purpose of the payment blacked out. We also received a written statement from Ms. Richards that “the City is not in possession  of any supporting documentation.

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We plan to submit this issue to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office for an Open Records decision, based upon our opinion that all expenditures of public funds are open to public inspection under Kentucky law.

The public has a right to know.

West Buechel: State Suspends Road Aid Payments

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has suspended making monthly Road Aid payment to the City of West Buechel due to the City’s failure to submit a Uniform Financial Information Report (UFIR) for FY 2014-2015. The last Road Aid payment was made in May, 2016.

The City cannot submit a UFIR for FY 2014-2015 until that year’s Financial Statements have been audited by an independent CPA as required by law. Our repeated requests to inspect the City’s Financial Statements for FY 2014-2015 have gone unanswered. The Financial Statement required by KRS 424.220 should have been finalized and published a year ago. An independent audit of the City’s Financial Statements cannot begin if the Financial Statements do not yet exist.

The State Road Aid allocated to West Buechel will continue to accumulate. Those funds, which are about $2,000 per month, will not be paid to West Buechel until the City gets its financial reporting in proper order and a UFIR is submitted.

West Buechel Late Pay Update

We previously reported $5,000 in late fees imposed upon the City of West Buechel by Kentucky Retirement Systems because of Kimberly R. Richards’ multiple failures to report or pay retirement contributions on time. See: Gross Negligence.  Ms. Richards has been City Clerk-Treasurer for West Buechel since Richard W. Richards took office as Mayor in January, 2015. She continues in that position with an annual salary in excess of $60,000.

By a recent Open Records request to Kentucky Retirement Systems, we have been advised that an additional $1,000 late penalty has been imposed.



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The two required reports and the contribution payment for May, 2016, were six days late. The City has not paid any of the accumulated $6,000 in fines.

Gross negligence

In 2015 Kimberly Richards, Clerk/Treasurer for the City of West Buechel, was late on four separate occasions in reporting and making payments to Kentucky Retirement System, resulting in $4,000 in statutory penalty assessments being imposed upon the City.

The payments and the reports are due on or before the tenth of the month for employee retirement contributions, based on payroll of the preceding month.

In March, 2015, Kim Richards did not file either of the two required reports or make a bank transfer until March, 19, nine days late.

The resulting mandatory $1,000 penalty has still not been paid. Kimberly Richards has not paid it.

In May, 2015, the required reports and payment were not submitted until May, 21, eleven days late. Kim Richards has not paid that $1,000 fine either.

August was nineteen days late and September was six days late. Once again in February, 2016 a report was twelve days late.

All this adds up to a $5,000 unpaid debt West Buechel owes the Kentucky Retirement System.I know these Penalty Invoices have not been paid because Jennifer Jones, Assistant General Council for Kentucky Retirement Systems wrote it in an email to me on April 19, 2016.

Anyone else besides Mayor Richards ex-wife would have been fired for such repetitive failures.

See for yourself. Here are the Penalty Invoices from the Kentucky Retirement System.

West Buechel penalty invoices by Southern Specialty Law Publishing