OAG Forced Johnston’s Hand Again, More Damning Powell Info Uncovered

A couple weeks ago, Montgomery County Schools administrator Jacqui Johnston attempted to illegally withhold public records from us.. This makes the… heck, it’s happened so many times now that I can’t reasonably be expected to keep count.

The Office of the Attorney General once again forced her to turn over Joshua Powell’s records.

Specifically, Joshua Powell’s “background check.” And guess what it was?

Just a half-page Administrative Office of the Courts report! Just like I reported.

Seriously! A simple AOC report. That just about anyone can obtain for a $22 fee.


THERE YOU HAVE IT

Date the AOC report was pulled: July 13. Date he started: July 1.

Not only did Jacqui Johnston illegally withhold public records — for the umpteenth time — but Powell did not undergo a criminal background check as his employment required.

Here’s a look at everything Powell was required to provide:


FROM POWELL’S PERSONNEL FILE

He refused to undergo a physical, did not undergo an actual background check, did not provide fingerprints.

Here’s the relevant Statute:

KRS 160.380

School employees — Restrictions on appointment of relatives, violent offenders, and persons convicted of sex crimes — Restriction on assignment to alternative education program as disciplinary action — National and state criminal history background checks on applicants, new hires, and school-based decision-making council parent members — Application and renewal forms — Employees charged with felony offenses.

(5) (a) A superintendent shall require a national and state criminal background check on all new certified hires in the school district and student teachers assigned within the district. Excluded are certified individuals who were employed in another certified position in a Kentucky school district within six (6) months of the date of hire and who had previously submitted to a national and state criminal background check for the previous employment.

(b) The superintendent shall require that each new certified hire and student teacher, as set forth in paragraph (a) of this subsection, submit to a national and state criminal history background check by the Department of Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(c) All fingerprints requested under this section shall be on an applicant fingerprint card provided by the Department of Kentucky State Police. The fingerprint cards shall be forwarded to the Federal Bureau of Investigation from the Department of Kentucky State Police after a state criminal background check is conducted. The results of the state and federal criminal background check shall be sent to the hiring superintendent. Any fee charged by the Department of Kentucky State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall be an amount no greater than the actual cost of processing the request and conducting the search.

Powell, like all of his employees, was under those requirements. And for those asking: No, he didn’t undergo a background check in Union County.

Powell lied during a school board meeting about having had a criminal background check. See it for yourself:



Jacqui Johnston was responsible for ensuring that Powell received a proper background check and was responsible for ensuring it made its way into his personnel file. She was then to report that information to the school board for affirmation that all requirements had been met. There is no indication that the school board chair at the time, Fern Reed, made any effort to ensure Powell was legally employed. Likewise, there was no effort made by her successor, Kenney Gulley, to get Powell into compliance.

Nothing is surprising any more.

BONUS: Johnston is now so afraid of open records law that she’s resorted to faxing the board attorney. As if faxes aren’t subject to open records request.