As investigations continue into practices at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the agency’s division director for administrative services resigned Monday and its budget director was placed on administrative leave.
Darin Moore, a former commander of the Kentucky State Police Strategic Planning Branch and a policy adviser in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet before he joined Fish and Wildlife as a non-merit employee in 2005, resigned his post as administrative services director effective close of business Monday.
Moore, who oversaw personnel, payroll, budget, purchasing, inventory and grants at Fish and Wildlife, did not return a call to his home seeking comment.
“I am forever indebted to the department and the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission for the opportunity to support both our natural resources and the professionals who have chosen to protect them,” Moore said in a two-paragraph resignation letter obtained by The State Journal through the Open Records Act.
Moore’s departure follows that of Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Jonathan Gassett, whose resignation is effective Friday. Gassett has accepted a position with the Wildlife Management Institute.
Deputy Commissioner Benjy Kinman will be acting commissioner until the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission finds a replacement.
Gasset and former Commerce Secretary James Host appointed Moore to his position, according to Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
Lawson also confirmed Tuesday that Scott King, program manager for accounting, grants, budget and capital construction, has been placed on administrative leave. King was a merit employee.
Lawson would not elaborate on the circumstances of King’s leave or when the action was taken, citing confidentiality in personnel matters.
The cabinet declined The State Journal’s request for documents regarding King’s leave status, saying those records are preliminary and exempt from disclosure until final action is taken.
The Office of Inspector General in the cabinets of labor, public protection and energy and environment is conducting an investigation into practices at Fish and Wildlife at the behest of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said Dick Brown, spokesman for the three cabinets.
“I just checked with the OIG, and he said the investigation’s still ongoing,” Brown said, adding he was unsure whether Moore’s resignation and King’s placement on administrative leave were linked to the investigation.
Democratic Rep. Brent Yonts of Greenville has said the Executive Branch Ethics Commission is also looking into Fish and Wildlife. The commission has not confirmed or denied an investigation.
Lawmakers on the Program Review and Investigations Committee made recommendations to improve oversight at Fish and Wildlife last month but found the agency in compliance.