KYEM director steps down amid allegations

FRANKFORT, KY (FOX19) - The Director of Kentucky's Division of Emergency Management has stepped down amid allegations of questionable spending and employee bullying.

Governor Steve Beshear said he accepted Brigadier General John Heltzel's resignation on Thursday.

State Auditor Adam Edelen said a special examination found $5.6 million in questionable expenses between 2007 and 2012, including $122,000 in unnecessary charges for an annual disaster relief training workshop held at a downtown Louisville hotel.

The audit also accused Heltzel of trying to bully his employees into keeping quiet about the alleged financial wrongdoing.

In a release, Beshear noted the audit's findings, remarking, "The findings in the recent Auditor's report made it clear that new leadership was needed in the agency, given the numerous questions and grave concerns it raised about the proper handling of funds, reliable and transparent accounting, and appropriate work environment under the general's direction."

Beshear appointed Mike Jones, the current administrative officer for Military Affairs, as acting director of KYEM.

The governor's office says Jones' first task will be to create a corrective action and implementation plan for issues identified in the Auditor's report.

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