These Statutes Make up the Heart of the Ky. Merit System

We invite all new officials and managers in the Beshear administration who will assume office in January, to take a minute and review the essential statutes that make up the Ky. Merit System.  One may assume with a high degree of certainty that the press and the public will be closely reviewing any actions of this administration which suggest that the Merit System is not being followed.


The Merit System is Created by Chapter 18A of the Kentucky Revised Statutes

The following statutes make up the heart of the Kentucky Merit System:

KRS 18A.140 Prohibition against discrimination and political activities.

(1) No person shall be appointed or promoted to, or demoted or dismissed from, any
position in the classified service, or in any way favored or discriminated against
with respect to employment in the classified services because of his political or
religious opinions or affiliations or ethnic origin or sex or disability. No person over
the age of forty (40) shall be discriminated against because of age.

(2) No person shall use or promise to use, directly or indirectly, any official authority or
influence, whether possessed or anticipated, to secure or attempt to secure for any
person an appointment or advantage in appointment to a position in the classified
service, or an increase in pay or other advantage in employment in any such
position, for the purpose of influencing the vote or political action of any person.

(3) No employee in the classified service or member of the board or its executive
director or secretary shall, directly or indirectly, pay or promise to pay any
assessment for political purposes, or solicit or take any part in soliciting for any
political party, or solicit or take any part in soliciting any political assessment,
subscription, contribution, or service. No person shall solicit any political
assessment, subscription, contribution, or service of any employee in the classified

(4) No employee in the classified service or member of the board or its executive
director shall be a member of any national, state, or local committee of a political
party, or an officer or member of a committee of a partisan political club, or a
candidate for nomination or election to any paid public office, or shall take part in
the management or affairs of any political party or in any political campaign, except
to exercise his right as a citizen privately to express his opinion and to cast his vote.

Officers or employees of the classified service may be candidates for and occupy a
town or school district office if the office is one for which no compensation, other
than a per diem payment, is provided and the election is on a nonpartisan basis.


KRS 18A.095 Rights of executive department employees.
(1) (a) The provisions of this section shall not apply to employees commissioned
pursuant to the provisions of KRS 281.770.

(b) Dismissals, demotions, suspensions, and other penalizations of these
commissioned employees, and appeals relating thereto, shall be governed by
the provisions of KRS 281.771 and 281.772.
(2) A classified employee with status shall not be dismissed, demoted, suspended, or
otherwise penalized except for cause.


KRS 18A.005 Definitions for chapter

KRS 18A.010 General purpose of KRS 18A.005 to 18A.200 — Total number of employees limited

KRS 18A.020 Records of Personnel Cabinet subject to open records law – Employee access to personnel files

KRS 18A.032 Applicants to and eligibles for the classified service — Examination –Placement on and removal from registers — Certification for employment

KRS 18A.037 New system of job classification and compensation

KRS 18A.111 Probationary periods for classified service — Initial and promotional.
(1) Except when appointed to a job classification with an initial probationary period in
excess of six (6) months, and except as provided in KRS 18A.005, an employee
shall serve a six (6) months probationary period when he is initially appointed to the
classified service. An employee may be separated from his position, reduced in
class or rank, or replaced on the eligible list during this initial probationary period
and shall not have a right to appeal, except as provided by KRS 18A.095. The
employee may be placed on an eligible list but shall not be certified to the agency
from which he was separated unless that agency so requests. Unless the appointing
authority notifies the employee prior to the end of the initial probationary period
that he is separated, the employee shall be deemed to have served satisfactorily and
shall acquire status in the classified service.
(2) An employee who satisfactorily completes the initial probationary period for the
position to which he was initially appointed to the classified service shall be granted
status and may not be demoted, disciplined, dismissed, or otherwise penalized,
except as provided by the provisions of this chapter.


KRS 18A.113 Lay-off rules — General

KRS 18A.120 Basis for hiring for classified service — Exception — Credit for sick leave.
(1) Except as hereinafter provided, all hiring for the classified service shall be on the
basis of competitive examinations and certification by the cabinet in accordance
with the provisions of KRS 18A.005 to 18A.200.



 KRS 18A.095 mandates that the procedures for dismissal or suspension of covered employees shall be conducted in the same manner as provided by KRS 281.771 and KRS 281.772.  These two statutes spell out the Due Process that is provided to Merit System Employees.

KRS 281.771 Charges against commissioned employees — Procedure — Hearing.
(1) For the purposes of this section, the term “commissioner” means the commissioner
of the Department of Motor Vehicle Regulation.
(2) An employee commissioned pursuant to the provisions of KRS 281.770 shall not be
dismissed, demoted, suspended, or otherwise penalized except for cause.
(3) Any person may prefer charges against a commissioned employee.
(4) A charge shall be:
(a) In writing;
(b) Filed with the office of the commissioner;
(c) Signed by the person making the complaint; and
(d) Set out with clarity and distinction.
(5) (a) The commissioner shall review the charges.
(b) If the commissioner determines that there is probable cause, he shall file
charges against a commissioned employee whom he believes is guilty of
misconduct that justifies his removal or discipline.
(6) Within five (5) days of the filing of the charges, the commissioner shall:
(a) Personally deliver a copy of the charges to the commissioned employee; or
(b) Send a copy of the charges to the commissioned employee by certified mail,
return receipt requested.
(7) Within five (5) days of receipt of the charges, the commissioned employee may:
(a) Demand an administrative hearing; or
(b) Admit the truth of the charges in whole or in part.
(8) If the commissioned employee admits the truthfulness of the charges, the
commissioner shall dismiss, demote, suspend, or otherwise penalize the employee
as warranted by the seriousness of the charges.
(9) If the commissioned employee denies the charges and demands a hearing within the
time specified in subsection (7) of this section, he shall notify the commissioner in
(10) Upon receipt of the demand for hearing, the commissioner shall arrange for an
administrative hearing before a trial board to be constituted as provided in KRS
281.772. The hearing shall be conducted in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B.
(11) (a) If the commissioner has probable cause to believe that a commissioned
employee is guilty of misconduct, he may immediately suspend the employee
from duty, or from both pay and duty, pending trial.
(b) If an employee is suspended, he shall not be returned to duty or be paid until a
final order is rendered by the trial board.
(12) After hearing the charges, the trial board shall fix the punishment of a
commissioned employee found guilty of one (1) or more charges, by:
(a) Reprimand;
(b) Suspension for a period not to exceed six (6) months;
 (c) Reducing the grade if the commissioned employee’s classification warrants it;
(d) Combining any two (2) or more of the punishments;
(e) Reducing the monthly salary of the commissioned employee by not more than
twenty percent (20%) for not more than six (6) months; or
(f) Dismissing him from the service of the department.
Effective: July 15, 1996
History: Amended 1996 Ky. Acts ch. 318, sec. 204, effective July 15, 1996. — Created
1994 Ky. Acts ch. 317, sec. 2, effective July 15, 1994.

KRS 281.772 Trial board for hearings on charges against commissioned employees — Right to hearing — Appeals.
(1) For the purpose of hearing charges against any commissioned employee, there is
created a trial board, which shall consist of the commissioner and a panel of ten (10)
commissioned employees appointed by the commissioner. The commissioner shall
designate from the panel not less than three (3) nor more than seven (7) members to
hear charges against any commissioned employee. Hearings before the trial board
shall be conducted in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B.
(2) The commissioned employees appointed to the trial board shall:
(a) Fulfill the duties of the board in addition to their other duties; and
(b) Be reimbursed for travel and necessary expenses pursuant to the provisions of
KRS 18A.200.
(3) (a) A defendant may, for cause, challenge the right of any member of the trial
board to hear charges against him.
(b) If the other members of the trial board determine that the challenge is
justifiable, the trial board member in question shall be:
1. Excused from hearing the charges, and
2. Replaced by another member of the trial board.
(4) The rights conferred upon a commissioned employee by this section shall not accrue until he has been employed for a period of one (1) year.
(5) No commissioned employee is entitled to a hearing as provided in this section
unless his suspension is for more than twenty (20) days, or his pay is reduced more
than ten percent (10%); but if the employee receives more than twenty (20) days
suspension or a reduction in salary of more than ten percent (10%) within a period
of one (1) year, he shall have the right to a hearing.
(6) The dismissal, demotion, suspension, or other penalization of a noncommissioned
employee shall comply with the provisions of KRS 18A.095 and 18A.100.
(7) Any commissioned employee found guilty by the trial board of any charge under the
provisions of KRS 281.771 shall have the right to appeal to Franklin Circuit Court
in accordance with KRS Chapter 13B.

The penalties for violation of the merit system code subjects the violator to prosecution for a misdemeanor offense, for forfeiture of office, and loss of the right to be a state employee for five years.
KRS 18A.990 Penalties.
(1) Any person who willfully violates any provision of KRS 18A.005 to 18A.200 or of
the rules shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall upon conviction be punished
therefor with a sentence of from thirty (30) days to a maximum of six (6) months in
(2) Any person who is convicted of a misdemeanor under KRS 18A.005 to 18A.200
shall, for a period of five (5) years, be ineligible for appointment to or employment
in a position by the Commonwealth, and if he is an officer or employee of the
Commonwealth, shall forfeit his office or position.
(3) Any officer or employee of the classified service who willfully violates any of the
provisions of KRS 18A.140 shall forfeit his office or position, and for one (1) year
shall be ineligible for any office or position in the Commonwealth’s service.
Violation of KRS 18A.140 shall constitute a misdemeanor subject to a sentence of
from thirty (30) days to a maximum of six (6) months in jail.
Effective: July 15, 1982

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