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State Employee Numbers Shrinking As Outside Contracts Increase

LRC Public Information

Kentucky state employee work force has shrunk by more than 9,000 over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, payments to outside contractors has been on the rise.

Back in 1998, the state employee ranks stood at about 44,000. Since then, that number has dropped to fewer than 35,000. And during that time, the state has increasingly farmed out its duties to personal service contractors.

John Schaaf with the Legislative Ethics Commission says the money paid out to contractors has doubled.

"It's gone from about a billion dollars a year to over two billion a year spent to employ outside contractors to do the work of the state government," he says.

Over the last two years, Kentucky spent a record $4.2 billion on the contracts, memoranda of agreement, and film tax incentives. And those numbers are only trending upward with the General Assembly’s Government Contract Review Committee okaying over $2 billion in state agreements in July – making for the largest one-month total ever approved.

Some of the biggest beneficiaries include Nashville’s Correct Care Solutions, which is set to receive $110 million to provide medical services at public and private corrections facilities, and Huron Consulting Services out of Chicago, which is in line for $50 million to provide healthcare consulting service for two years at the University of Kentucky.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.