State should help workforce board keep money

We support an effort by the South Central Workforce Development Board to retain federal funds that the region has received but not used prior to June 30.

Officials say $390,899.80 was not programmed and obligated by the Barren River Area Development District for the current fiscal year. There is a danger of losing that money.

Workforce board Chairman Ron Sowell recently said he will contact state Workforce Commissioner Beth Kuhn to see if the state can do something so the local region does not lose access to the federal money. Sowell admits it is long shot. Local officials have said they don’t want to give back more than a quarter of a million dollars. Sowell said recently he’s not sure if the state government has the power to keep the money in the region, but it makes sense to try to see who does have the authority.

It was previously mentioned in this paper that about a quarter of a million dollars in workforce services money once was returned by BRADD to the state of Kentucky, and maybe even the federal government, because it wasn’t used within a specific fiscal year.

That’s a travesty.

It is hard enough for southcentral Kentucky to obtain its fair share of tax dollars from the state of Kentucky or the federal government in a climate of limited government spending pursued in both the U.S. House and Senate in Washington and Gov. Matt Bevin’s administration and the lawmakers in Frankfort. So when some money lands here, any money quite frankly, we need to hang onto it with both hands, quickly find a viable program in which to use it, then get that money working for the people of the region.

For BRADD to turn back the money once again points out the flaw in its business plan: BRADD thinks the money is theirs, not money owned by the taxpayers of the region. From payment of bonuses to employees to inefficient utilization of workforce funds — as demonstrated by countless state reports reviewed by this paper — it is quite clear BRADD just doesn’t get it.

Not to worry. With the new workforce board in place, the city of Bowling Green acting as that board’s fiscal agent for the federal funds and an upcoming audit as the fiscal agent responsibility shifts from BRADD to the city, the workforce issue is slowly being resolved. Let’s get that money, Mr. Sowell, and find people in southcentral Kentucky the training and the stable, well-paying jobs that they deserve.

Daily News, Bowling Green

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