Local News

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh 

 Kentucky Education Commissioner John Draud believes he has finally quieted questions surrounding his request for a fully-loaded state car.

Draud recently approved the purchase of an $18,000 Chrysler automobile, with $13,000 in extras, including a V-8 engine, a hands-free telephone and a global positioning system. Other education officials who are issued state cars drive Chevrolets valued at around $16,000. Draud later denied knowing anything about the cost of the car until shown emails obtained by the Courier-Journal that proved otherwise.

The purchase drew immediate criticism from Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Joe Brothers, who said it sends the wrong signal in tight budget times.   After meeting privately with Brothers and several school board members Wednesday, Draud publicly apologized for using “bad judgment.”

Later in the day, Draud announced he would reimburse the state for any additional costs associated with the car’s purchase. Draud’s decision seemed to appease the board and Brothers, who cancelled a closed board session that was scheduled to discuss the issue.

Asked if he believes the matter is now closed, Draud said, “As for as I’m concerned, it is.”

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."