LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Two weeks ago, WHAS11 aired a two-part report on allegations of favoritism, retaliation and whistleblowing at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Original report: Whistleblowers fighting suspensions at state agency
Those allegations trace back to the chair of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, Jimmy Bevins, who today announced his resignation from the commission.
His attorney emailed us his three-page resignation letter. In it, Bevins said he had to quit because politics were getting involved with the business of representing and advocating for Kentucky's hunters and fishermen.
Bevins also slammed the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which Fish & Wildlife falls under, as well the Cabinet's Secretary Don Parkinson for overreaching and making the Commission ineffective.
Although Bevins admits there has been controversy during his years on the commission, his letter did not specifically address the intentional baiting investigation against him to prevent legal duck hunting near his home on Elkhorn Creek in Frankfort.
A state conservation officer later cited Bevins in that case, and the whole thing snowballed into accusations that command in wildlife law enforcement tried to sweep the case under the rug, and later the suspensions of two other conservation officers who have filed a state Whistleblower lawsuit.
Governor Matt Bevin appointed Jimmy Bevins to the commission, and so far, WHAS11 has not received comment from the governor's office about the resignation.
However, in May, when Gov. Bevin was answering questions about a state takeover of Jefferson County Public Schools, he made this comment about commissioners:
“What I expect in every single instance, and I appoint thousands of people to positions, is that they will do the job well, that they will do it with the end user in mind.”
The Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet responded to our request for comment with a statement saying it has received Jimmy Bevins' resignation and that it will work with Fish & Wildlife to foster strong leadership and continue to develop an environment of promoting transparency while adhering to proper protocols.
Meanwhile, one of the suspended conservation officers, Rodney Milburn, appealed his suspension today in a hearing before the State Personnel Cabinet.