Former Ag Commisioner files for unemployment

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by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 2, 2012 at 5:03 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 2 at 7:42 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11)- Former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer wants unemployment benefits.

The Louisville Courier Journal's Tom Loftus reports the State Agriculture Department has Farmer's unemployment application but cannot release it.  
   
Farmer served as commissioner for eight years, with a salary of more than $110,000 when his term ended.

Elected public officials are not eligible for unemployment benefits under state law.

Former state auditor Crit  Luallen told Loftus that an elected official takes the job for a limited and expected amount of time:

"You couldn’t possibly claim that it was circumstances beyond your control that caused you to end up in that situation.”

Farmer’s successor, Agricluture Commissioner James Comer told Loftus:

“Without commenting on any specific unemployment claim, I will say that I do not believe in general that elected officials can or should receive unemployment benefits. I am mindful that the unemployment fund is depleted and there are Kentuckians who are out of work and hurting and far more deserving of these benefits than politicians.”

Comer and newly elected state auditor Adam Edelen recently announced an investigation of the Ag Department under Farmer.

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