Friday, July 06, 2001

Driver-licensing chief fired


Possible records altering investigated

By Mark R. Chellgren
The Associated Press

        FRANKFORT — The state director of driver licensing has been fired, and employees will be barred from their office after hours as a part of an ongoing investigation into whether licensing records were manipulated.

        Transportation Cabinet spokesman Mark Pfeiffer said Thursday that authorities received an allegation that licensing records were being altered for pay. He declined to provide details.

        The Kentucky State Police and the attorney general's office have been brought into the investigation because of “possible illegalities,” according to a statement from the cabinet.

        Transportation Secretary Jim Codell said “additional actions” will probably be taken as the investigation continues. Those include unspecified “personnel actions.”

        Charles F. Brown, director of the division, was terminated effective on Friday, Mr. Pfeiffer said. Mr. Brown was appointed by former Gov. Brereton Jones.

        Mr. Brown, who lives in Oldham County, could not be reached for comment. A message left on his answering machine was not returned Thursday evening.

        The investigation apparently began with a single report but has been expanded to include “the entire driver's licensing process,” the cabinet's statement said.

        Computer codes that allowed generic access to the computerized licensing system have been removed. And the number of people who can legally alter records has been restricted.

        The investigation involves not only the issuance of driver licenses but also licensing records, according to the cabinet.

        Licensing records include references to moving violations and other infractions. Accumulating too many infractions can result in the loss of driving privileges.

        The division has 118 employees, and its offices are in the State Office Building in Frankfort.

        No interim division director has been appointed, Mr. Pfeiffer said.

       



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