Ed Ross honored with Livingston Taylor Ethics Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – Ed Ross, longtime state controller for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, was honored today by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission as the 2019-2021 recipient of the biennial Livingston Taylor Ethics Award.

The award recognizes individuals, programs, or agencies within the executive branch of state government for their outstanding achievements and contributions in promoting the ethical conduct of executive branch employees. The award has been presented by the commission biennially since 2007, making Ross its eighth recipient.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this award than Mr. Ross,” said Finance and Administration Cabinet Secretary Holly M. Johnson. “During his long state government tenure, he has put into place procedures that have positioned the commonwealth to become a leader in state financial management practices, consistently earning the commonwealth accolades in financial reporting. He is the epitome of public service and I am so pleased he has been given this well-earned recognition.”

Ross was nominated for the award by colleagues in the Finance and Administration Cabinet, who called him a “financial ethical compass that has provided direction to employees across Kentucky state government.”

In the nomination of Ross, one colleague said “there was never a question about his integrity or his intention to do the right thing. He embodies a quiet humility and high ethical standards in his daily interactions with many of the commonwealth’s public servants” going on to call Ross “a role model…throughout my career.”

A native of Elliott County, Ross has dedicated more than 50 years to public service, beginning his Kentucky state government career in 1971. During his tenure, he has served as the Chief Accounting Officer for the Commonwealth for more than 45 years and has held the position of state controller since the office’s inception in 1994.

He is a member of numerous boards and commissions serving the commonwealth, including the Kentucky Public Employees Deferred Compensation Authority, for which he currently serves as chair; the State Property and Buildings Commission; the Kentucky Asset/Liability Commission; the Kentucky Private Activity Bond Allocation Committee; the Minority and Women Business Enterprise Committee; and the Green Bank Loan Committee.

A graduate of the University of Kentucky with a major in accounting, Ross is a member of UK’s School of Accountancy Advisory Council. For many years, he also served as an adjunct professor of governmental accounting for UK’s Von Allmen School of Accountancy.

Ross is past president of the National Association of State Comptrollers (NASC) and is an active member of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT); the National Association State Comptrollers; the Government Finance Officers Association; and the Association of Government Accountants.

In 2018, NASC selected Ross as the recipient of the Goldstein Leadership award, which is presented annually in recognition of extraordinary excellence and leadership in state financial management and service to the membership of the association.

In 2019, NASACT presented Ross with its Distinguished Service Award, recognizing his lifetime commitment to improving state government operations. It previously honored Ross with the President’s Award in 2010, recognizing his service to the association, its membership, and the financial management industry.

A longtime resident of Fayette County and an avid UK sports fan, Ross enjoys spending his spare time cheering on the Wildcats, attending games in person when he can. He has two sons and a daughter, as well as four adult grandchildren. His late wife Ann Ross, a former vice-mayor of Lexington, passed away in 2013.

The ethics award is named in honor of Livingston Taylor, a former investigative reporter for the Courier Journal who covered state government throughout his career in journalism. Upon his retirement, Taylor served as the Executive Branch Ethics Commission’s first chair from 1992-1995.

Ross said he feels deeply honored to be chosen as the most recent recipient of the award, particularly having known Taylor personally.

“I had the privilege and pleasure of knowing Livingston Taylor, whose reporting helped earn the Courier Journal a Pulitzer Prize,” Ross said. “In the 1980s, he would on occasion stop by my office to confirm information for a news article he was writing about state government, and I had great respect for him and his work as a reporter.”

Previous recipients of the Livingston Taylor Ethics Award include: John Steffen, executive director of the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance (2017); former Rep. Tanya Pullin (2015); Robert D. Vance, former Secretary of the Public Protection Cabinet (2013); Crit Luallen, former Auditor of Public Accounts (2011); Jill LeMaster, retired executive director of the Executive Branch Ethics Commission, (2009); and the Transportation Cabinet’s Office of Inspector General (2007).

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