Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Ken Walker, November 8, 2007

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries
Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Transcript

LANE: All right. So, Ken Walker here at KCTCS headquarters on 11/08/07. Can you just, um, first of all I need for you to sign this release. It's--it's just a matter of policy for us to utilize these. (clears throat)


LANE: Yeah, that's all you need to do. Thank you so much. Would you review for the record your professional history leading up to your position here at KCTCS?

WALKER: Sure. I, uh, uh, I'll go back to graduate school--

LANE: --sure--

WALKER: --that's, um, I did my undergraduate work in mathematics and graduate work in statistics; both at the University of Kentucky. And, um, in 1976--June of '76--I joined the staff of what was then the Kentucky Council on Public Higher Education. As the--and not many 00:01:00people--

LANE: --I had no idea--

WALKER: --knew that that was the--

LANE: --1976--

WALKER: --knew that the--the word public was in the title then. And, um, I became the, uh, the staff statistician. Uh, and as I recall, the first professionally trained statistician that that staff had had. And, um, in--uh, 1980, I had a chance to join the finance staff at the Council. And then in 1985 I became the, uh, the title then was the deputy executive director for finance--the chief finance officer for what by then had become the Council on Higher Education.

LANE: Right the public had been dropped--

WALKER: --public had been removed. I think in, uh, around '80 or '81, um, it was done by statute. I don't remember exactly the circumstances 00:02:00of that, but, uh, but I became the chief financial officer in 1985. And, um, then I stayed at the Council--the Council became Council on Postsecondary Education. It--with the passage of House Bill 1 in 1997. And I became, um, the first vice president for finance for CPE. And then I stayed in that position until June of 2000, in which I--in June of 2000 I came to KCTCS, and have been the, uh, KCTCS Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, um, since--since that time.

LANE: Great. Great. So I wasn't sure of when you came, looking back at the massive records. Which is what I've been doing for the last year; just collecting everything, and we've put it into a massive timeline of every detail we can find. So that's good to know. I knew your name 00:03:00appeared many times throughout that, but I wasn't exactly sure when you came on board.


LANE: (clears throat) Um, how did that happen? Who--who called you? Of course you'd been keeping up with all the goings on, and I want to talk about that just a little bit in a minute, but, um, um, how did you come to KCTCS?

WALKER: Well that--that is an interesting--that's a good question. And it's an interesting story in that, um, uh, the--the first, uh, vice president primarily responsible for finance for KCTCS, um, had retired, uh, in December of 1999. And, uh, President McCall appointed, uh, in the interim, for Vice President, Jim Byford, who was also the system director for budget and financial planning. Jim had had a long 00:04:00career, uh, in government, uh, in state government, with, uh, technical education in--in--

LANE: --I see--

WALKER: -- in starting with the Department of Education and Workforce Development Cabinet. So Jim had--was a--was a very experienced, uh, individual. And, um, so, uh, of course I was still in Frankfort, and, uh, was neck deep in the legislative work with the 2000 session. That was the--that was the first legislative session that Gordon Davies was at the Council as president. So--

LANE: --and the Council was newly reconfigured, so you were neck deep--

WALKER: --oh yes--very--very--yes a lot of details. We were--we were working on, uh, the, uh, what the statute calls the, uh, um, I don't 00:05:00remember if it was a term like strategic vision, or something like that--

LANE: --um-hm--um-hm--

WALKER: --but anyway the Council had an assignment to, uh, to prepare, uh, what--what came--became 2020 Vision.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So--so with the work--work with legislature, and working on the 2020 Vision document and--and all that--um, you know, I--I was very busy. And, um, uh, actually nobody--nobody from here called--called me. Um, the, uh, uh, Jim Byford apparently indicated that he was not interested in pursuing the position on a permanent basis. Uh, there was a, um, uh, uh, the president advertised for the position, and, uh, 00:06:00I mean he would have done that anyway had Jim been a candidate.

LANE: Right--right.

WALKER: But, uh, but, uh, uh, it--and the ad ran at just the right time. I--I've told people that if it, uh, had run a month earlier I would--I would of not noticed it because of--

LANE: --what you were doing--

WALKER: --what I was doing. If it had run a month later we would have already been preparing for the next session, and I might not of responded to it. But I saw the ad run and, uh, so I called, uh, Beth Hilliard, who I knew. Uh, I had worked with Beth when she was in state government. And, uh, asked Beth if, um, if it was an open search. Because I didn't want to get, you know,--

LANE: --sure--

WALKER: --if it were, you know, if there was an inside candidate--

LANE: --right--right--is it truly an open search? Sure, that's a fair question--

WALKER: --is it truly an open search? And she said yes, it's an 00:07:00absolutely open search. And so, um, so I called President McCall and talked with him, and told him that I might be interested in it, and, uh, and, uh, he--he said he would be interested in me applying. And, uh, so then I think the next week, uh, I met with Gordon Davies, and told him that I was interested in--in applying for the position, and I remember Gordon was very supportive. And he said, well you'd be crazy not to. And so went through the search process and, uh, and was, uh, was hired.

LANE: Here you are.

WALKER: Here I am.

LANE: Terrific. Had you been involved in the transition Ken? You know we had a year and a half there after the law was--House Bill 1 was signed, and before Dr. McCall came on board. We had, uh, your--all sorts of things going on during that time. Were you a part of that 00:08:00transition team?

WALKER: I was not a member of the transition team. But I attended every meeting.

LANE: I see.


LANE: Okay.

WALKER: There were no CPE members or staff members on that transition team.

LANE: Okay. Okay.

WALKER: But--but we all--but several of us followed it very closely.

LANE: That's right. Ron Carson was, but he was deputy state budget director at the time.

WALKER: --that's right--

LANE: --at the time.

WALKER: So--so the transition team was composed of members of, uh, the governor's office.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: As such, um,--

LANE: Right. Right. And representatives--

WALKER: --from the community college system and from Workforce.

LANE: Right. Right. Back--back to--let's go back to the Council on Higher Education if--if we might. You know--I kind of lead up--we have to go through chronologically on some of these questions, but then there are other things I want to check with you about. How--(clears throat)- -it may be a difficult question to answer, but how were the community colleges regarded by the Council then? Were they simply an arm of UK? 00:09:00Uh, versus how they're probably regarded now in the new structure?--

WALKER: --um-hm.

LANE: --through CPE?

WALKER: Uh, no I--I think, um, I think we--we, uh, the staff and I believe the Council itself did, viewed the community colleges--the community college system really as a--as a ninth institution already.

LANE: Really?

WALKER: Yes. I--again I don't remember when this happened. It was probably in the, uh, maybe late eighties. Not--not later than early nineties. It could have happened during the Wilkinson administration. Uh, but somewhere late eighties--early nineties the community college system became a separate appropriation unit in the budget development 00:10:00process, and that was a big deal.

LANE: Interesting.

WALKER: Yeah. But prior to that--I mean if you go back--in--in, uh, appropriation bills far enough back, uh, the community college system, you know, was not mentioned. It might have been mentioned as, uh, in language but, uh, but they were a part of the UK. appropriation and, uh, when Charles Wethington was, um, was, uh, chancellor of the community college system, um, uh, he--I--I believe, you know, I don't know this for a fact, but, uh, I believe that he was instrumentally involved in that happening in--in--

LANE: --in getting that done. That's interesting--

WALKER: --yes, it really is. I mean looking back it--it really is interesting. Um, probably, um, well my--my--I--I joined the finance unit at CP--CHE in 1980 and, uh, the--the second--the second person 00:11:00that I worked for, um, in that position was a man named Ed Carter, who had come to the Council from UK And, um, uh, in the--in the early eighties, just like in the early seventies and the early nineties and the early 2000's, uh, we were going through a period of budget cuts. It, you know, significant budget cuts--

LANE: --exactly--

WALKER: --tend to happen every ten years--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --at the beginning of a new decade. And so, um, so we had had a significant budget cut in, uh, following the 1980 session of the General Assembly.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Um, had a new, uh, uh, deputy executive director for finance at the Council and--and so, uh, what--under his leadership, what we set about doing was to develop a funding formula. The prototype funding 00:12:00formula, uh, that C--CHE, uh, developed, and then used all the way up- -right up to the passage of House Bill 1. And, uh, that--that funding formula recognized the community college--community college system as a--as a ninth institution. And that was even before--that was even before it became a separate appropriations unit. So, you know, the Council had--had recognized the uniqueness of the community college system. Of, uh, for several years even before the passage of--of House Bill 1--

LANE: --I see. That is something that I was unaware of--

WALKER: --yes.

LANE: That is interesting. Um--(clears throat)--when did you first hear of the impending emphasis on postsecondary education? Paul Patton was--

WALKER: --at the inauguration.

LANE: Did you really? Isn't that something?

WALKER: --yeah.

LANE: So many people, even the governor's closest advisors said--


WALKER: --where did that come from?--

LANE: --oh, where did that come from?

WALKER: Yeah. Um-hm.

LANE: But you know, when I was interviewing, um, Dr. Lake and Tony Newberry, they told me about a meeting that the community college presidents had with Paul Patton at the Lieutenant Governor's Mansion when he was lieutenant governor.

WALKER: Really?

LANE: Which I hadn't ever known about.


LANE: Hadn't known about it.

WALKER: That's news to me. I--I was not aware of that.

LANE: Yeah, and David Hawpe, the reporter from the Courier-Journal.

WALKER: Columnist.

LANE: Yes, columnist, you're right. Said that, uh, he and Paul Patton had several discussions after he was elected, during that transition period, about--about this--his emphasis. And David said, you know, you really--you really ought to consider higher ed. Which, you know, all of those things are interesting to me, because the first most of us heard about it was the inaugural speech. Which evidently Paul Patton wrote himself and his advisors were unaware of it.

WALKER: Yes. And--and I, uh, I was at the annual C--what was then CHE 00:14:00trusteeship conference in September of '95, which, uh, attended by both candidates. And, um, so both candidates addressed the Council and the presidents, you know, and all of the--all of the attend--all of the folks who were at that conference. And, uh, you know, Forgy--Larry Forgy had had a past in higher education and government. And he said all the right things and, uh, and, uh, you know, Patton, uh, Governor Patton was--he did not make any commitments. And as I recall, he said, you know, we need to study that. And, uh, and I--I recall thinking, uh, uh, gee, you know, the guy who--who really played up to this crowd more was Larry Forgy.

LANE: That's right, that's right.

WALKER: So--so yeah it--it was here, listening to the inaugural address, 00:15:00that--that I heard his emphasis on postsecondary education.

LANE: Which he certainly followed through on, didn't he?--

WALKER: --yes, he did. Yes, he did--

LANE: --he certainly did. All right so you--you were there and--and of course for that House bill business.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: You knew CHE was going to change dramatically as well.

WALKER: Well, and there was--there was a part of the--there was a part--there was a, uh, something happened in the regular session of '96. I don't remember the number, but it was, uh, it was a study resolution. Uh, uh a joint resolution or a concurrent resolution. Uh, that created a, uh, a study commission. And it was through that study commission that--that House--that the--that the study occurred and of course the governor led all of that--and working with the--working with the, uh, NCHEMS. But--but--but the way that that resolution passed 00:16:00or, not the way that it passed, but the--the composition of that study commission sent a strong message to everybody in higher education. And that is that, you know, it was made up of--of eighteen people; six appointed by the president of the Senate; six appointed by the speaker of the House and six appointed by the governor. And there was--and-- and none of those--none of those folks were higher-ed folks.

LANE: Right. They were political. Political people.

WALKER: Yes. None of the presidents were involved, and the--the leadership of the Council was not involved. So that sent a strong message that--that this was going to be a, you know, a comprehensive review, and it was going to be led by the governor, and it wasn't going to be dominated by insiders in higher education.

LANE: So that composition sent the message?

WALKER: That composition sent the message.

LANE: Now are we--are we '96--May--talking about the Commission on 00:17:00Higher Education Institutional Efficiency and Cooperation?

WALKER: I don't--I don't know.

LANE: I think--because the reason I ask, is there was another one that was a legislative task force on higher-ed, lead by Jody Richards. Now that one in December--and they began meeting with the call for the merging of the community college systems with the vocational technical schools. That one, as I understand, was generally--there wasn't a lot of follow-through on that one. But I think this--the Commission on Institutional Efficiency and Cooperation was the NCHEMS thing.

WALKER: It could be. Well the I--I just recalled that there was a piece of legislation passed in the regular session--

LANE: --session--

WALKER: --in '96.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: So, you know, it would have been passed not later than April of '96.

LANE: Right. Okay.

WALKER: And it created this--

LANE: --created that?

WALKER: Um-hm.

LANE: That's what it was.

WALKER: And I don't remember--

LANE: --and they began in May--you're right.

WALKER: Yeah. Um-hm.

LANE: Because I've heard Jody Richards say, "My legislative task force 00:18:00was just ignored". But, you know, this one--this one, because as you say with the weight of it--

WALKER: --yes--

LANE: -- um, and of course, you know, politics is always throughout all of these--all of these things. Um--so that set up this, uh, just led to the whole--to the whole thing coming--coming up out--

WALKER: --um-hm. And as I say it--it really sent--I think and those of us at the Council recognize that it sent a--a quite strong message.

LANE: They didn't involve us.

WALKER: Particularly to the university presidents that they were going to do this without direct involvement of the university presidents.

LANE: Which, Gary Cox was head of the Council at that time.

WALKER: Correct.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And Gary was one of the most ardent supporters of the work of the commission and, uh, and ultimately House Bill 1.

LANE: I'm not sure if you--did you attend the trusteeship conference this year?--

WALKER: --yes.

LANE: He--he really received many good words, from particularly Paul 00:19:00Patton.

WALKER: Yeah. And Patton said much the same thing, uh, on May 30, '97, on the steps of the capitol, when he signed House Bill 1.

LANE: Right. Right. That there are people who put their self-interest aside--

WALKER: --correct--

LANE: --and work for the betterment of the Commonwealth.

WALKER: Correct.

LANE: Which is indeed what he said.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: (clears throat) So you--you were at the Council observing this, and knowing change--change was--when did you really know change was coming? Was it, you know, they did--they had compromises and amendments, and the whole process reads like a novel, actually, with midnight, uh, meetings and compromises and so forth.

WALKER: Well. I--I don't remember what day this was--it was--it was late in the session. It might have been May 29, or it could have even fact been the morning of May 30.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Um--when--um, uh, there were--the House was scheduled to vote. They couldn't have been that late, because the House voted first.

LANE: First--they sure did.

WALKER: So this would have been a few days earlier. Uh, but the House 00:20:00was scheduled to vote, uh, and there had been any number of--any number of--of, um, amendments--floor amendments filed.

LANE: Eighteen--thirteen?--

WALKER: Yeah. Some--

LANE: --just some amazing number.

WALKER: --just--uh. Well, back up from that, um, I remember the--the governor working with House leadership. Uh, had established--they established a--a--I don't know what it was called--a committee--a task group of whatever. But there were, um, while Jim Callahan was the sponsor of the bill, they identified, um, several other House members who were responsible for certain sections of the bill--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --you know--

LANE: --yes--

WALKER: --they were kind of lieutenants in charge of that part of the bill, and so--um, uh, I--I remember meeting with, uh, meeting with Gary 00:21:00and, uh, and--and, uh, he was a new representative from Elizabethtown, um, he just recently left the legislature. Uh, that was his first session--he was a freshman legislator--legislator and he was put in charge of the section dealing with the Council. So I remember meeting with him. If--if, you know, I think long enough I'll remember his name.

LANE: And I--and I have that too, but I--I can't recall.

WALKER: So you know--you know about that group?

LANE: I know about the group, because, uh, I listened to an interview with Jim Callahan and Myk Garn did, for his dissertation, which was excellent.

WALKER: Um-hm. Um-hm.

LANE: Um--and he--he talked about those--he said it was too big for us, so we had to divide it up. And, uh, gosh I can't remember that other legislator.

WALKER: Yeah. But he was a former military guy, and, you know, so he was a real taskmaster.

LANE: I see.

WALKER: Yeah. But the other interesting thing was he was a freshman legislator, yet he was, you know, they recognized his ability and they 00:22:00gave him responsibility for that. But, um, I believe, uh, I think Gary Cox told me this, that--uh, you know, the House was looking for, uh, just passing the bill, and needed fifty one votes to pass the bill. And apparently the governor told House leadership that he didn't want it--just pass it with a simple majority. He wanted a mandate.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And so, uh, so we kind of knew that as background. And then so jump forward to that, uh, the day that the vote was scheduled, and they had all the amendments, and Greg Stumbo was majority floor leader.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And was also an opponent of the KCTCS portion of the bill, if not more parts of it. Uh, and so, uh, during that time we were having, uh, I think it was daily 6:00 a.m. meetings. Uh, in room 285 of the 00:23:00annex. Uh, whether it was daily--they were periodic, and we had one scheduled for that morning. So, uh, so we showed up in--room 285 was the GOPM conference room.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So we showed up for this meeting, and some of the--some of the folks who were supposed to be in the meeting didn't show up.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And so we were just kind of sitting there waiting and--and eventually somebody--some member of the group came in and--and handed out a one page list. And--and what we found out was that the governor and, uh, Greg Stumbo, and then ultimately others had--and Charles Wethington, uh, had met late into the night before. And this was a 00:24:00list of things that they had agreed to. And I can remember reading that list, and, uh, looking at whoever was sitting beside, me or across from me, and one of us said: good grief, the governor lost.

LANE: Did you?

WALKER: You know--just the way those points were written it--it just looked like, you know, that--that--that there had been so many concessions to--

LANE: --that he had caved?

WALKER: --that he had caved, yeah. And, you know, little did we know- -(both laugh)--that--that--that, uh, he had won. And--but that these were--so we were looking at it from one perspective--

LANE: --certainly.

WALKER: We were looking at it from the kind of the technicality perspective of the individual items and that sort of thing, but--but-- but--long--

LANE: --do you recall some of those, Ken? What--what were the ones that struck you the--the compromises if you will. The list of concessions--

WALKER: --yeah--

LANE: --compromises?

WALKER: Well, it was things that--that the KCTCS Board of Regents would 00:25:00have to work back through UK on--

LANE: --ah, got you. Those things--

WALKER: --the budget and capital projects, and all of those.

LANE: But they were still there? The community colleges had still been removed?


LANE: From the university except for LCC?

WALKER: LCC right--right. And--and--and I think, uh, the LCC remaining a portion of UK that--that had been decided earlier.

LANE: I see, so that wasn't late-breaking news?

WALKER: No--no. Uh, but it was those things of that, you know, what the KCTCS Board of Regents would have to do in order to, uh, uh, operate. And--and many of those things became problematic with SACS.

LANE: That's right.

WALKER: And so eventually they--they--they took care of--they were worked out. They didn't take care of themselves. But they worked out.

LANE: Its always interesting to me to think, now did Paul Patton know that was going to happen? Did he know enough about accreditation? Didn't--didn't Charles Wethington--or was it simply the midnight 00:26:00compromise and we'll work--and we'll work this out later--isn't that interesting? We may never know.

WALKER: Maybe we--we may never know. Uh, but, you know, Paul Patton is one of the smartest guys that I've ever encountered, ever worked with, and I think he was successful in many of his endeavors because he immersed himself in the topic and became the smartest guy in the room.

LANE: Right. I liked what--was it--(coughs) ------------(??) which of the legislators was telling the story about walking into his office with--this was this last trusteeship conference--Paul Patton had a calculator and a straightedge.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah.

LANE: That was a great story--

WALKER: --yeah--

LANE: --wasn't it?


LANE: Saying there is something structurally wrong with this document and I'm going to find it. (laughs)

WALKER: Well I--I remember, uh, this was probably--well this was after the bill had passed. It was moving in--as we were working toward the 00:27:00ninety-eight session.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And, um, so after Gary Cox left, um, then, uh, uh, Jim Ramsey- -Jim Ramsey was, uh, state budget director. He was also the--I don't know what his title was, but the first acting president of KCTCS.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And he was also special advisor to the chairman of CPE.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And so, um, I was given the title of--of interim chief operating officer with CPE. And, you know, was basically--was directed to, uh, to manage the agency--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --and the staff and all of that. Kind of keep things going, uh, for the--while the--the presidential search was going on. So I had oppor--and Jim and I worked very closely together and, uh, uh, on--on the Council's budget recommendation and--and worked up to and 00:28:00through the session. And, uh, I remember one day Jim, um, invited me to come to the governor's office. He and I were going to meet with the governor about something. And, uh, so when we got there the governor was very focused on--he had a map. He had a state map and--and he was, uh, um--I--I think he had a notion of, uh, there being as I recall fifteen college districts. And--and so he's sitting there with his map and his--and his--uh, you know, maybe a straightedge. I don't remember--(Lane laughs)--but--but, uh, he was asking--he said, "Now this road here Jim--that's a pretty good road there isn't it?" I mean he was just--and--and--

LANE: --really into the details.

WALKER: He was into the details.

LANE: Wow.

WALKER: And--and so--I mean I sat there across from the governor's-- across from the governor's desk. Jim standing behind the governor. And 00:29:00this went on for probably thirty minutes or more. And--and finally Jim looked over and said--uh--Ken, I don't think you need to stay for this. So--you know the gov--he was just so focused on that at that time.

LANE: And Jim knew?

WALKER: Jim knew--

LANE: --not to interrupt that train of thought?


LANE: Just to allow that to go on--

WALKER: --yeah--

LANE: --isn't that interesting?

WALKER: Yeah--yeah. So--so anyway, you know, I think the governor, uh, he could--he could see things that others couldn't see. Uh, uh, so, you know, I think that, uh, he might have--he might have known that the--that the--these details could be worked out. He might have--he might have surmised that, uh, Wethington had enough, uh, enough love for the community colleges that he wouldn't ultimately let--ultimately let anything bad like accreditation happen.

LANE: Right. Yeah.

WALKER: So--so I don't--

LANE: --it's all very interesting, and we know that it did work out. As you said some of those compromises didn't set well with SACS, as far as who really controlled the entity--

WALKER: --correct. Because control had to be clear--


LANE: --and that was taken care of--

WALKER: --that's right--

LANE: --and control was murky--

WALKER: --that's right--

LANE: It was murky at best at that point.

WALKER: That's right.

LANE: Okay. So--so you--you after Gary left you were interim--

WALKER: --chief operating officer.

LANE: Chief operating officer.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: Um--so those days I'm sure were very interesting, because you were not only searching for a president for CPE.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: But you were dealing with the changes in the--inventing that system, if you will. And then, uh, I'm sure KCTCS was just a part of what--what you were doing. Your responsibilities were more internally with that--that organization.

WALKER: Right. And--and, uh, so House Bill 1 passed on May 30th '97, uh, the--the--the, uh, CPE as an organization had to be created. I mean new board members had to be appointed. The KCTCS Board had to be 00:31:00appointed. Uh, and--and so--um, uh, I remember CPE during, uh, during the period of August through November, CPE, as--as a board, was meeting twice a week. Or, excuse me--every other week. Every other week. So we would--we would have a meeting and--and then we would immediately begin preparing for the next meeting, and so it was just real wild and wooly.

LANE: I'm sure it was.

WALKER: Of course, among all the things that they were doing at the time--the thing that in my mind was most important was their biennial budget request.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So--so, uh, we--we, in essence, between May 30 and, uh, the first few days of November put together a, uh, a budget recommendation package, uh, that, uh, that made--made a funding recommendation for, 00:32:00uh, all of the universities, and the first funding recommendation for KCTCS.

LANE: KCTCS. A massive--

WALKER: --yeah--yeah--

LANE: --step into the unknown, if you will, to a degree. Even though you had--you had dealt with that before.

WALKER: Right. Well and, um, and so what we did was, uh, uh, I was working very closely with, uh, Jim Ramsey and Ron Carson and so we used a lot of the--a lot of what was said--commitments that were made during the special session. And so, uh, so one of the things that was said somewhere along the way, was that Governor Patton intended to support, um, uh, a hundred million dollar increase for higher--for postsecondary education, beyond, uh, a normal inflationary increase.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: So we used that language as kind of parameters around which to, uh, to make a funding recommendation. And, um, the--and--and the 00:33:00recommendation that we put together for the institutions in '98 was, uh, funded a hundred percent by the General Assembly.

LANE: Wow.

WALKER: The last time that that happened.

LANE: Yeah. May ever be the last time that ever happens--(laughs)--

WALKER: --it may ever be the last time--

LANE: --I mean we hope not, but that was--that's amazing.


LANE: And it was striking while that was, you know, it was fresh on everyone's minds. And I'm sure it was well done. Was that the, uh, the same budget that Cynthia Reed, uh, KCTCS board member refers to in a--in an interview that she had--she said we didn't have a president of KCTCS. The budget request group of the transition team prepared the budget for '98--

WALKER: --yes--

LANE: --so that was--that was your group?

WALKER: Yeah. Well, no--


WALKER: --I mean that was their group, and, um, and--and as I recall most--most--mostly what that group focused on was capital projects.

LANE: True. Okay.


WALKER: So--so, uh, so what we did--what we did was--um, uh, again we used what the governor had said during the special session, that-- that, um, that he intended in the '98 session to provide inflationary increase, and then to--to provide another hundred million dollar increase for higher education.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And so--and all of that was operating. So what we did was, um, they--the inflationary increase was an easy calculation. The hundred million dollars then we, uh, we looked at allocating among the House Bill 1 trust funds.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And so, um, I don't remember the exact breakdown, but--uh, you know, some of it went to the Research Challenge trust fund. Some to the Regional Excellence trust fund. Some to the Workforce Development trust fund. Uh, some went to the Financial Aid trust fund and then 00:35:00some went to the Physical Facilities trust fund. And as I recall, maybe thirty million out of the three hundred--out of the hundred million, went to the facilities trust fund. That became debt service on capital projects so--so, you know, it was really a--it--thinking back on it, you know, we did do it very logically. We had, you know, we knew we had the governor's support and--because we were working with him the whole time.

LANE: Sure.

WALKER: But, um, but--the--the--the operating funds were--it was basic--for that biennium it was basically, uh, uh, uh, an inflationary increase, and then each of the institutions, uh, uh, had access to one or the other of the, um, of the trust funds. So what that meant for KCTCS--KCTCS was the only institution that was in the, uh, the Workforce Development trust fund. So we recommended six million 00:36:00dollars in--annually into the Workforce Development trust fund. So--so what KCTCS had on the operating side, was an inflationary increase and six million dollars annually through that trust fund for and, you know, and--and then over time it was able to indicate how it wanted to use that money. Then in the facilities trust fund, uh, thirty--as I recall it was thirty million dollars, which translated into about three hundred million dollars in capital projects. So this--this work group of the transition team that Cindy Reed talked about--they were--I'm sure what they did was they--they looked at the capital project request that had been prepared by UK for the community colleges. That had been prepared by, uh, the Workforce Development Cabinet--


LANE: --right--

WALKER: --for the technical colleges, and then they tried to--to--

LANE: --put those together--

WALKER: --put those together. So in November--at that November ninety-seven meeting, uh, I believe these were the numbers. I could go back and look if you really--if you want to know the actual numbers. But what I recall is that--what the Council--what we recommended to the Council that they do, is to--to fund the operating request as we presented--and they approved that. Then on the capital side, uh, we- -we recommended a number of capital projects for the universities, and then we recommended two twenty-five million dollar pools--the twenty- five million dollar pool for KCTCS, for it to identify capital projects.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And then another twenty-five million dollar pool, uh, that the Council would subsequently identify projects. Uh, so that happened in November. The Council was then going to meet like the--like the--the 00:38:00first week right after New Year's Day. And so, uh, the allocation of those two pools was going to be dealt with at that meeting. Because they had to be in place before the governor made his budget recommendation--

LANE: --exactly. Exactly.

WALKER: So, um, uh, Billie Hardin who's here in the president's office now--she was my assistant at the Council then.

LANE: Oh, okay.

WALKER: And so this was either December twenty-second or twenty-third. I'm thinking maybe it--it was either December 22 or 23. We were in Frankfort and--and working on the agenda book for that January meeting. And, uh, I left the office at about--well mid afternoon, and drove to 00:39:00Louisville to, uh, what was then the Bank of Louisville, now BB&T.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: Uh, to Richard Bean's office. And, uh, they were having--Richard was a member of the finance--KCTCS Finance Committee. He was not the chair of the committee, but there was a meeting, uh, they had a meeting that afternoon, and they were going to--they were going to determine the allocation of their twenty-five million dollar pool. And I think they also, uh, had priorities beyond that or whatever, but anyway they--they were going to determine the allocation of their twenty-five million dollar pool. And--and so I went to that meeting so I'd get that information first-hand. Then went back to Frankfort, and we used that information to fill in those pieces, uh, fill in those pieces 00:40:00for the, uh, the board mail-out. Uh, for a meeting that was going to occur like a couple days after New Year's Day. And, uh, as I recall, I stayed until like two o'clock in the morning, and Billie stayed until like five o'clock in the morning, just to get all that stuff--

LANE: --get that done--

WALKER: --prepared.

LANE: And get it out--wow.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah.

LANE: You know but--that--that transition time for the governor--getting that--getting that budget prepared is amazing. It's especially difficult now, you know, with a brand new governor--having six weeks to do all that, but you all were in--even a more complicated position. Similar but more complicated.

WALKER: Because we were dealing with a new entity.

LANE: Right and did--how, uh--

WALKER: --the other thing that came out of that was the--the first notion of, uh, of regional postsecondary education centers--

LANE: --aha--

WALKER: --and--and so the council's twenty-five million dollar pool ended up being allocated for those regional centers and--in, uh, three 00:41:00or four of those, uh, ultimately made their way into the KCTCS budget.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And all of them involved KCTCS colleges.

LANE: Certainly.

WALKER: So--so in essence KCTCS capital construction pool ended up being, you know, substantially that fifty million dollar pool rather than just the first twenty-five--

LANE: --exactly they put those two together? (??)

WALKER: Right.

LANE: Now had--had the Council dealt at all with the postsecondary technical schools before the bill?


LANE: So you--who was giving you information for this budget preparation about the technical schools? You knew about the community colleges pretty much. Then you have this whole new entity of--I don't know how many there were, but there were several.

WALKER: Uh, yeah, well at yeah, at the--fifteen.

LANE: It was fourteen and fifteen or something like that?


WALKER: Yeah. Well thirteen--thirteen--thirteen community colleges came over and fifteen technical colleges came over--

LANE: --that's right--um-hm.

WALKER: So for a total of twenty-eight.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Um--we were working with, uh, with Sandy Gubser and Jim Byford--

LANE: --okay--

WALKER: --at that time. And, uh, yeah we--we--and, you know, we--we intended to be supportive of what KCTCS was--was doing and trying to do. And, uh, so, you know, uh, and--and the budget recommendation approach, uh, was simple enough--that, you know, we didn't need a whole lot of detailed information.

LANE: You were just giving the large pools and then, it was up to this board--(laughs)--

WALKER: --right--

LANE: --but that had no present according to the--

WALKER: --right--

LANE: --since you read in that--and that's very true. They were just building that plane and air too, to take that and detail it.

WALKER: That's right.

LANE: But as you say that budget request was funded a hundred percent by the legislature.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: Wow. Amazing.


WALKER: It really is. I mean looking back on it--it's amazing how--how things--

LANE: --because you know how difficult that is in--in general for every legislative session.


LANE: Uh, fascinating. Do you have any other things you'd like to talk about during that transition time? I want to get on to the time when you, uh, first heard about Mike McCall, and if you were involved in that process.

WALKER: Uh, well, um, the, um, let's see. Well we made it through the session. We made it through the '98 session, and in the spring of '98--near the end of the session--the session was substantially over if it wasn't already actually over. Gordon Davies was named as the first president of CPE. And so, you know, Gordon came in there as the, uh, um, the, uh, probably the premier, uh, state-level----------(??) 00:44:00officer in the country. So, you know, it was, uh, it was--

LANE: --quite a coup--

WALKER: --yeah, it really was quite a coup that--that--that, uh, he--he came into that position.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: Uh, and so, uh, and then by--by the end--by--before the end of June I guess, uh, Jim Ramsey left.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: To go to North Carolina. So--uh, you know, as the session was ending and as Gordon was getting in and on his feet, I--I--that was probably the--the time period that I paid less attention to, uh, to KCTCS than any time before--

LANE: --certainly--certainly--

WALKER: --and then in the time after--

LANE: --that's understandable.

WALKER: Yeah, I was focused on, you know, uh, my new boss.

LANE: Did you all reorganize the internal structure from Council on 00:45:00Higher Education to Council on Postsecondary Education? You were responsible for all of that operating. Or did it-pretty--as far as the structure stay pretty much the same? Or how did--were there major changes?

WALKER: Uh, the major change was the addition of the, uh, virtual university--virtual library, but it kind of became an entity of--of itself. So, you know, the rest of the Council staff was finance and academics and that sort of thing--

LANE: --and that pretty much remains. Knowing you're going to have a new president anyway.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, one of my assignments was, uh, to not fill any positions and to keep as much flexibility for the new president when he or she came in.

LANE: Sure, sure.

WALKER: Uh, to the point that we had seven significant vacancies, uh, and--um, you know, when Gordon got there and got on his feet, uh, uh, I remember he, uh, wanted to fill all of these positions. And, you know, the governor's office wanted him to do that. And so, uh, he wrote 00:46:00an ad which I later referred to as the "We're looking for seven smart people ad." (Lane laughs)

WALKER: You know--he didn't--it--it wasn't set--it wasn't, you know, we want a director of this and a coordinator of that.

LANE: Really? We just want good people.

WALKER: We want seven smart people. And, uh, and so that, you know, that was more of Gordon's--that was Gordon's approach. He wanted--he wanted smart people around him and, uh, and, uh, uh, he, you know, he liked to--he liked that kind of--he liked flexibility to be able to maneuver his way through, uh, through to a decision. And--and an end, but anyway. Uh, so--so Gordon came, Jim left. And I--I suppose it was--I suppose it was during that time period that Jim was, uh, 00:47:00uh, courted or afforded an opportunity. Some--but anyway, Jim was interviewed to be the president.

LANE: Right--right.

WALKER: And, uh, that he was not selected and so--uh. So anyway--so Jim left and, um, I don't remember the Nelson Grote era. Nelson was in there some at--over some period of time--

LANE: --yes, he was.

WALKER: But here's--here's the point of all this. You asked me what I knew.

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: Uh, I was, uh, in Gordon's office one day. And Gordon got a phone call. He didn't ask me to leave, so I didn't leave. And I never knew who was on the other end of the phone. I presumed it was either the governor, or Crit, or Martha Johnson. I--I didn't ask. But I--I just presumed it was one of those three people. And it was clear to 00:48:00me that the conversation was they--whoever was--whoever called Gordon was looking for help on, uh, a, uh, identifying in--the next interim president. And Gordon said, uh, Gordon mentioned, um--he said, uh, well I know exactly the man. You need to call Jeff Hockaday. And, um, of course I'd never heard of Jeff Hockaday.

LANE: Right. Right.

WALKER: But, you know, Gordon knew him from Virginia, and, you know, talked--talked him up with whoever he was talking with. The phone call ended and we went on with whatever we were doing and, you know, I never thought about the significance of it. But soon after that Jeff Hockaday came as the interim president.

LANE: Right, interim president.

WALKER: And, uh, and then President McCall has told me that, you know, it was because of Jeff's encourage him--encouraging--because of their 00:49:00background--

LANE: --right, together--

WALKER: --their paths--that Jeff encouraged Mike to apply for and ultimately got the job. So, you know, I guess--I guess in a sense Gordon Davies is--

LANE: --isn't that interesting?--

WALKER: -- uh, is responsible for that.

LANE: It was good to see him back at the leadership seminar.

WALKER: Um-hm. Yes.

LANE: I interviewed him and Jeff that--on that day.

WALKER: Did you really?

LANE: On that day. Very nice interviews.

WALKER: Gordon told me that was his first day back in Kentucky since he left--

LANE: --he did me too when we sat down to do the interview. And I'm thinking, oh gee. But--he was and--delightful and--and I--I complimented him on the contributions he had made to our system. And, uh, I think he enjoyed it.

WALKER: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

LANE: I think he enjoyed seeing all of you all.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah.

LANE: It was great to have those guys back--

WALKER: --well Tim Burcham and I were scheduled to go to--we--the CPE was having budget hearings all that day. We were on the agenda at three o'clock, so we came over to have lunch with him.

LANE: Good. Good.


WALKER: Because I, you know, I wanted to see Gordon. I hadn't seen him in five years. You know, since--since he left.

LANE: And that was rough. His departure was tough for us, and, uh, and a loss for us frankly, I think. Uh, he's a very intelligent man. I was at the History Center during all this time, and our director said you know, you could walk in a room with Gordon Davies and you can just almost see his mind moving.


LANE: Just moving and thinking and moving ahead. And his wife Betsy was one of our, uh, folks in oral history. So it was good to get to know them both. And then Betsy is a premier oral historian.

WALKER: That's what I understand.

LANE: So when I sit down with my little--he said, "she's going to be amazed that you're interviewing me with something smaller than a deck of cards." (Walker laughs) She has this big contraption which the Oral History Society of America espouses there--

WALKER: --I see--

LANE: --they think this is not quite--we're not ready for this with what we do (??) and so subsequently she's e-mailing me: tell me all about that little thing. But I thought, I'm sitting here with Gordon Davies. He hadn't been back in the state for five years. And he knows all 00:51:00about oral history: I can do this, you know. And--and it was great after the first couple of sentences. He's--I had listened to some other interviews that Garn--Myk Garn had done with him.

WALKER: Yeah. Oh really?

LANE: Oh, yeah. You've got to read that--have you read his dissertation?

WALKER: No. I have it, I've not read it.

LANE: Oh, you should read it, particularly chapter four--

WALKER: --I will.

LANE: I've read through that thing and have used--have ordered copies of all his interviews and it's been--it's been great as a part of our collection. He's given us permission. But the chapter four of his dissertation, when he details that "he said, she said," the middle of the night compromise before the--the vote in '97 is an amazing--it's an amazing chapter. It reads like a novel.

WALKER: I'll need to read that.

LANE: You should. You should.

WALKER: And he got that from the governor?

LANE: Oh, yes. He interviewed--oh, thirty or forty people. Oh, yeah, the governor; Jim Callahan; Greg Stumbo. He interviewed all of the-- all of the--

WALKER: --did he interview Wethington?

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: Is that right?

LANE: Most definitely. He--he--it's a very comprehensive dissertation.


WALKER: Well I've--

LANE: --and very well done.

WALKER: --I've got it on my bookshelf. I want to--I want to read it.

LANE: Yeah. I got it first thing and said Myk can we--can we use this? Yeah, he said, sure, just go ahead and use it. So I--I asked for all those interviews and they've been very--very good background. It's really interesting to put the pieces together. I don't know why that happened. And then, in another interview someone will say, "I know exactly what happened."

WALKER: Somebody knows.

LANE: I know--just like you saying the phone call came. That--that's how that happened and this is good history--

WALKER: --well Gordon--did Gordon tell you that he was involved? That-- that he?--

LANE: --yeah, he did--

WALKER: --Okay.

LANE: He did--I'm so--not--not to the detail--I like the detail about I was there and there was a phone call, but he certainly was, uh, and of course Jeff Hockaday. They were both a bit rushed, but they were very good interviews, and I--I appreciate them--them doing that. So--

WALKER: --you know, and looking--looking back on it, you know, I mean that day that I was in his office and the phone call came in--

LANE: --right.

WALKER: I didn't know the significance of that.

LANE: And it is significant.


WALKER: You know, but for me to have been there and witness that and then not known the significance of it until years later.

LANE: That's right: Oh that's what it was.

WALKER: --is really an amaz--yeah.

LANE: Knowing that Jeff Hockaday would lead to Mike McCall.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: And--and when did you first meet Mike McCall?

WALKER: Uh, well he came in, um,

LANE: --well, were you--the search was the fall and winter of '98.

WALKER: '98, yeah.

LANE: And his first day was January of '99.

WALKER: I'm sure I met him sometime during '99. Um--he would, uh, Uh, I--after, uh, after things kind of settled down when Mike came--


WALKER:--and Gordon was more on his feet, I stopped attending Board of Regents meetings.

LANE: I see.

WALKER: Early on, you know, during the wild and wooly days--

LANE: --yeah, yeah. They needed you--

WALKER: --I attended just to keep up with what was going on.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So I'm--I--I don't--I couldn't pinpoint the date, but it 00:54:00would have been in Gordon's office. Uh, and it would have been, uh, discussing either some aspect of the--the current biennium budget, or preparing for the, uh, for the next biennial budget. So it would have been sometime during that, um, and--and the presidents were all actively involved. Uh, Gordon--Gordon continued the concept of the-- well, he had to because it was statutory--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: The Conference of Presidents--and he would work with Conference of Presidents. We were developing at that time the benchmark funding system. So, you know, whether--

LANE: --lots to do--

WALKER: --yeah. So whether it would have been in a private meeting in Gordon's office, or at a Conference of Presidents meeting or something like that. You know,--I-- it was something like that. But it would have been during calendar year '99. Uh, probably preparing for the 2000 session.

LANE: Right. Right. Of course you know-- I'm reading from the record 00:55:00here that during that year--(clears throat)--um, it was--it was a banner year for KCTCS. Dr. Bird came on board in February. Um, the forty employees went to Lexington. You know, everybody was located in Frankfort, and then some stayed in Frankfort; some went to Lexington. Um, you had your first KCTCS graduate, Travis Todd in May of '99. The foundation was created, and then in September of that year Dr. McCall was inaugurated. And I'm sure there are many--many other things with the board--well, there are many other things with the board going on then.


LANE: But you--you were still at that time at CPE?


LANE: Then you saw the ad in 2000?--

WALKER: --yeah. March or April of 2--probably April of 2000. March or April of 2000, uh, I literally saw the ad and, uh, and applied.

LANE: Ken, you--you knew--you sort of knew what you were coming into though? What--what made it attractive to you?

WALKER: (laughs) Um--


LANE: --it isn't as if it were--was an unknown.

WALKER: Yeah, it--it was interesting. Um, uh, although I hadn't been around him very much I--I was impressed by the president. And his vision, and in things that I'd heard him say and his vision for KCTCS. Because, uh, that was--his vision for KCTCS was different from what the discussion was in the halls of Frankfort.

LANE: Is that right?

WALKER: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

LANE: How so?

WALKER: Uh, there were many people in--in, uh, Frankfort and I--I don't know where the governor was on this, but during--during House Bill 1, a lot of--during special session a lot of the testimony, uh, focused on what the--what--what the president's--the KCTCS president's office would be. Or the system office would be. And many people said oh, it'll be a small organization. And there were people who--who 00:57:00thought that--that the--and I think this is why it was written into the statute. The--the the positions of the chancellor of the--of each branch, you know, focus on the branches--the chancellor of each branch. I think that there were many people, uh, in--in Frankfort at that time who thought that KCTCS would be two parallel branches. And the president's office would be kind of a referee organization between the two chancellors. And so when I--

LANE: --which is pretty typical of the way some of things had gone in Kentucky up to that date with higher-ed. Okay, how interesting.

WALKER: And so when I heard President McCall talk about--uh, you know, a single system--a unified system, uh, I saw in him a person who had the right vision for KCTCS, and it was different from what others had been 00:58:00talking about during the--during the passage of House Bill 1.

LANE: His more a--a--we talk about seamless--

WALKER: --yes--

LANE: --as we talk about students progressing through the system too, but his really--it really was more of a seamless, integrated vision, wasn't it?

WALKER: Yeah, comprehensive.

LANE: Um-hm, comprehensive.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah. So, uh--

LANE: --so you like that?


LANE: You thought that--that was a good way to go?

WALKER: Yeah, and I--and--and--and--and I thought that that was, you know, I thought it would be, uh, I thought it would be at least worth my time to apply and hopefully get an interview. Uh--

LANE: --who else did you know in the--in the system office at that time?

WALKER: I knew, um, Tony Newberry and, uh, I had said that, uh, when- -when I saw Tony sign on with KCTCS he--this was, you know, when--when I was still at the Council, that that sent a strong message that KCTCS was going to succeed, because I had known Tony when he was in the 00:59:00community college system. Uh, I knew, um, I knew Jim Byford, uh, of course by working with him--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: um, overtime--I knew, uh, uh, a couple of the facilities guys: Gary Cloyd, Gary Grogan, Wendell Followell. Wendell had been at K--KSU before he had been at the community college system. So, you know, I--these were people that--that I had worked with very directly--uh, you know, tried--during that first budget development process. And- -and Gary Cloyd in particular, with the writing of the plans for the regional postsecondary education centers. Uh, so, you know, I knew that I didn't know a whole lot of folks and--and I knew Beth. And Beth had been in, uh, she had been Jim Ramsey's right hand person with GOPM, 01:00:00and prior to that she had been in Finance Cabinet. So, uh, so I knew, you know, her--I knew Beth and Tony and a few of the finance staff, but not very many more people.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: But, uh, but it was, you know, hopefully--really what I had heard about; read about; heard from Mike that--that really--

LANE: --yeah, who's a quality person.

WALKER: Yeah--yeah and, uh, it's really funny, you know, I--I had witnessed a lot of the what I call the wild and wooly days leading up to that.

LANE: Yeah, definitely. (laughs)

WALKER: Uh, you know, there were some, uh, uh, there was some talk that, uh, that--uh, you know, the KCTCS portion of House Bill 1 would be overturned in the '98 session--

LANE: --yes. Oh wow--

WALKER: --and it didn't happen.


WALKER: And then we had gone through the 2000 session, and there was no talk of it, and it certainly didn't happen then. So, you know, it 01:01:00appeared that KCTCS was going to survive.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And--um, uh, of course, you remember all the Y2K discussion?

LANE: Oh, yes. (laughs)

WALKER: Well--those--there were--those here and then, uh, those of us at the Council who were watching and hope--you know, offering any help that we could make it--to help it work. Uh, uh, July 1 '99 was a more significant date than Y2K because July 1 '99 was when UK and state government was going to pull the plug on the administrative support system.

LANE: Uh-huh, yes.

WALKER: And so, uh, so those people who where here, you know, John Hesseldenz and the IT staff and the finance staff. Everybody who was working on the PeopleSoft implementation.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Uh, you know, so when they got that working on July 1 '99 and-- and--and--and, uh, the, uh, I've used the, uh, the analogy--I don't know 01:02:00which new world explorer it was--whose--the first--the first thing he did when he arrived in the new world was set the ships on fire.

LANE: (laughs) Yeah.

WALKER: So there was no--there was no going back.

LANE: Yeah, that's it--

WALKER: --well, that's what July--that's what--

LANE: --that's what it was to you?--

WALKER: That's what July 1 '99 was to--to the folks here. You know, the ships were on fire. UK wasn't going to do any more administrative processing--state government.

LANE: We're on our own.

WALKER: On our own.

LANE: We are on our own.

WALKER: And so, you know, I had watched all of these things, uh, you know, PeopleSoft had been implemented.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Uh, the--the KCTCS had a new exciting president and the--the session had gone, uh, pretty well. The 2000 session had gone pretty well. And so I remember when I came for my interview--I interviewed with the cabinet. Uh, with the president's cabinet and I can remember--

LANE: --in Lexington?--

WALKER: --in Lexington at Spindletop. Uh, and I can remember saying to- 01:03:00-to that group that I felt a little bad about signing on at that point, because a lot of the heavy lifting had already been done.

LANE: (laughs) Little did you know, Ken Walker.

WALKER: Little did I know. And--they--they, you know, smiled and chuckled and were real nice--

LANE: (laughs) Um-hm--

WALKER:--and--but they knew. They knew what I didn't know; that there was a whole lot of heavy lifting still to do.

LANE: Still--well you're right--what had been accomplished was phenomenal.

WALKER: It was.

LANE: The foundation.


LANE: Frankly, of the whole system--

WALKER: --yes--

LANE: --was phenomenal.


LANE: But it--it did continue.

WALKER: Oh, yeah--yeah and then there's been, uh, I--I think one of the--the interesting things, and in a way it's a little sad, is that we have--I--even in the seven years that I've been here have witnessed so many significant things that when we--when we accomplish something 01:04:00significant we kind of take it a little bit for granted.

LANE: Okay. I want to talk about that. I want you to help me with that in--in just a minute.

WALKER: Okay--because there has been--

LANE: --isn't that an interesting phenomenon, because everything has been so phenomenal along the way--


LANE: Yeah and--and in an otherwise situation it would be really--

WALKER: --huge--

LANE: --huge, yeah.

WALKER: You know, red letter--red letter kind of--

LANE: --interesting.

WALKER: But--but we, you know, we accomplished something, and then there are three more things on the horizon that we're moving towards.

LANE: Exactly. Um--so your first office was at Spindletop?

WALKER: It was.

LANE: And your first meetings were with the cabinet or with Dr. McCall or both?

WALKER: Uh, yeah. Well, you know, I had interviews with the cabinet and with the president. And then after that--that--and they--they had-- they interviewed at least two other finalists.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And then I was selected and after I was selected, uh, president 01:05:00asked me to come over, and he had, uh, compiled--or he had gathered all the finance staff, uh, so however, many there were at that time.

LANE: Probably not that--were there quite a few?--

WALKER: --oh yeah, by that time--

LANE: --okay.

WALKER: Yeah, by that time this vision of a small president's office staff.

LANE: Was gone wasn't it?

WALKER: That's gone--that was gone. And--and--uh, you know, a lot of that--a lot of that consolidate--consolidated--comprehensive processing decision was made with the implementation of PeopleSoft.

LANE: PeopleSoft, sure.

WALKER: So by that time there was a payroll staff. There was a purchasing staff. There was an accounting staff. There was a budget staff. There was facilities staff, all of that. So--so, uh, most of the people that are here now in the finance staff were here at that time.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: Uh, there has been very little growth--

LANE: --they came first?

WALKER: Yes. They came first.

LANE: Yeah. Huh.

WALKER: So I--I had a chance to meet with them and, uh, I--I knew--uh, 01:06:00you know, I knew the two Gary's, Cloyd and Grogan. In facilities I knew Jim Byford and Wendell Followell in budget. I knew Gary Dean, who was the head of business services at that time. David Adkins, who's the head of treasury, I had not ever met before and, uh, so, you know, we just had a real pleasant meeting. And the president, uh, the president, uh, introduced me. And I told them, you know, that I had a lot to learn and I was looking forward to working with them. And--uh, you know, it's a--my predecessor, Sandy Gubser, compiled a great--great staff. It was--uh, you know, really the only people that have left are people who've retired.

LANE: Sure.

WALKER: And--and moved on--but, uh, yeah. Excellent--excellent--first rate--first rate staff.

LANE: That appears to be the case throughout this agency. I've been in state government for many years and noticed--noticed the quality, the expertise and passion for--for the system. So you can't beat that.

WALKER: Yes. Yeah--


LANE: --you just can't.

WALKER: So then I came on June first.

LANE: June 1?

WALKER: June 1--June 1 of 2000, and, uh, again I, uh, uh, I--just, you know, just thinking about, uh, how, um, how I--how we had done things at CPE--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --and I perceived that things operated at universities or institutions. So this would have been my first--this was my first institutional experience. All of my career had been in Frankfort. And so I had a perception about how institutions worked, but I had no hands-on experience. So, um, I just presumed that, uh, by the time I came on June first, the operating budget for the fiscal year 2000 and '01 would be absolutely nailed down; put to bed. And I would have a full year. (both laugh) Well little--

LANE: --that's why they smiled at you, isn't it?--


WALKER: --that's right--that's right. So I think the first official meeting that I had after I came was a meeting of, uh, the, uh, the-- the--the group of presidents and college directors at that time--

LANE: --okay--

WALKER: --the technical college guys were still directors.

LANE: Right, directors, right.

WALKER: And, uh, so--so I found out first that the operating budget had not been prepared or finished. (Lane laughs) Uh, that, uh, I knew that the board would act on it in June but, you know, as I--I was a little naive in thinking that all the work would have been done. It was just a mat--just a matter--

LANE: --ooh, your right. June 1.

WALKER: Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, so probably the first official meeting I attended was this meeting of, uh, of, uh, all the presidents. And, uh, and Richard Bean, a board member was there. And there might have 01:09:00been another board member or two there. I don't remember. I remember Richard being there. And a reporter was outside wanting to come in. And I remember thinking: good grief (both laugh).

LANE: --really?--

WALKER: --yeah--

LANE: This big a deal?

WALKER: Yeah, um-hm. And so, uh, so anyway, uh, the reporter didn't come into the meeting. (laughs).


WALKER: Uh, and as I recall that's the last time I remember seeing a reporter outside--sitting--lurking outside of the--of a closed meeting like that related to our presidents and stuff. But--um--anyway, we got the budget put together and then my first board meeting was in, uh, June 29 and 30 of that year at Southeast.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And so again that was a new experience for me, because, uh, 01:10:00what I saw was how important, uh, the board, uh, holding most of its meetings at that time at the college campuses.

LANE: Right. Right.

WALKER: How important that was.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And I can remember there was an evening--this was a huge meeting--I--I--and, uh, because I think we were in fact down there two nights. Like we were there--went--there was something late Wednesday afternoon. We were there Wednesday night, all day Thursday, Thursday night and Friday. And this first evening we were there they had a community gathering. And, um, and, uh, uh, I--more than one person said this is the first time that--that the board governing this college has ever been in our town.

LANE: How about that?

WALKER: Meaning the UK Board of Trustees never did, you see (??) --

LANE: --oh of course--no.

WALKER: That--that was the point. So--so--

LANE: --that's so important.

WALKER: Yeah, and it really--and--and it was really, you know, it was 01:11:00really striking to me how significant it was to--

LANE: --to the community--

WALKER: --to the community--um-hm.

LANE: Wow.

WALKER: And so, uh--

LANE: --and I believe the board met at all the colleges.


LANE: During--during that era.

WALKER: Yes. It took--it took some time.

LANE: It took awhile to get them done.

WALKER: Um-hm but that--but that has been done. So--so that first month was--was interesting. I mean from the--from the perspective of, uh, of, uh, of, uh, just kind of getting my feet wet.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And, uh, but--but I realized very quickly what a quality organization it was. The president was a quality--first-quality leader. The people that he had compiled on his cabinet were quality people. Uh, the finance staff that I would be working closely with--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --uh, appeared to be a group of quality people. And then the board, uh, certainly had its feet on the ground and was doing what it 01:12:00needed to do.

LANE: So how would you characterize the--at that time Dr. McCall's cabinet was made of--was it the same cabinet that we have today?

WALKER: Well actually, it was larger.

LANE: Was it?

WALKER: Yeah. In, uh, when I joined the cabinet in June of 2000 I was the--counting the president, I was the tenth member of the cabinet.

LANE: Really?

WALKER: And, uh, over--over a period of time, uh, we went from ten to nine to eight to seven. And--

LANE: --okay. Consolidating functions and that sort of thing?--

WALKER: --yeah--um-hm. And from, uh, from June of 2000 until oh, sometime last year, you know, early in '06 I was the newest member of the council--of the cabinet.

LANE: Cabinet.

WALKER: So I spent--I spent more than five years as the new--

LANE: --as the new kid on the block?--(laughs)--

WALKER: --as the new kid on the block. Yeah Yeah


LANE: How about that?

WALKER: It was really interesting. And--and, uh, working with the cabinet is really a special thing. Uh, and--and as we have--as we have interviewed for new cabinet members, uh, this is what I have--I've been consistently telling everyone that we interview this. That I view my role as cabinet member in three parts: One, to make the president as successful as he can be;--[clicking noise]--second,, uh, make the people who I'm responsible for as successful as they can be; and then third is watch the backs of everybody else around the table. And I think everybody takes that--takes that--

LANE: --approach?--

WALKER: --approach. And so--when I became the tenth member of the cabinet as, uh, first Judith James left, and then Tony Newberry left, and then, uh, um, uh, Candace Gosnell left in '97, yeah. What we did 01:14:00was--we just--and that's the beauty of the way the president, you know, my title is vice president. I'm not vice president "for" something.

LANE: Hmm. Just vice president.

WALKER: Just like--so we have four vice presidents. Not vice president "for". And--now we each have, you know, an area that we major in.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: But--but what we recognize is that we--we're expected to be able to function in a lot of different areas. And so as individuals left, then what we did was--as the president says take a step back and review what we're doing--what needs to be done. And--and at every point we decided we don't want to add somebody at this point. That we want to, uh, we--we just want to re, uh, re--redistribute the responsibility. 01:15:00Uh, and it's a very--it's a small and very, uh, tight, uh, very committed group of professionals. It's the best leadership team I've ever been involved with.

LANE: Interesting.

WALKER: No doubt about it.

LANE: Wow. Now what did Judith James do? I--I don't know.

WALKER: She was the--she was responsible for student services.

LANE: Student services?

WALKER: Um-hm. And she left very shortly after I came.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: So she and I did not work together--

LANE: --that long?--

WALKER: --that long.

LANE: And then Tony Newberry of course was--was one of the chancellors at that time.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: Community colleges.

WALKER: And then when he went to Jefferson.

LANE: Yes. And then Candace Gosnell was--what did Candace do?

WALKER: Candace was--she was responsible for, uh, HR--Human Resources.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: Uh, primarily strategic planning. Professional development-- that sort of thing. And then she--she, uh, left on medical leave. And, 01:16:00uh, and--again we--we just--

LANE: --regrouped and tightened up the team?--

WALKER: --regrouped. Um-hm. Yes.

LANE: And you--you had some substitutions there. Was--was Beverly Haverstock?--

WALKER: --yes Beverly was--

LANE: -- the legal?

WALKER: Yes. Um-hm.

LANE: And then had the substitution there, but that was something you decided you needed to?--

WALKER: --that's right. When Beverly retired I guess at the end of, uh, of '05, uh, you know, that is--is such a--that, uh, that was--at that time we thought we needed a--a general counsel.

LANE: Such a specialty area--okay, gotcha--

WALKER: --such a specialty area. And then when Jon Hesseldenz--

LANE: --oh, that's right--

WALKER: -- uh, Jon then retired. Uh, and in--so Beverly left in December of '05 and Jon left in June of '06.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And so, uh, so we decided then that, um, uh, that we needed to 01:17:00relook and so, uh, so at that point we, uh, we in fact advertised, uh, for two vice presidents.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And--and so, um, um, uh, I, uh, but part of our ability to cover, um, I served as the interim vice president for information technology.

LANE: Yes. Yes--

WALKER: --for a six month period while Jay Box--while we were searching for the position that Jay filled.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And then Gwen Joseph came and, uh, but--but it's interesting we're now back down to seven cabinet members. So seven seems to be a pretty--

LANE: --a good number--the workable number that really works--

WALKER: --it really does--yes.

LANE: Well, and--and I know that this is something that I want to be sure and, uh, detail with Dr. McCall's permission in our publication is--is that the teamwork approach and the--the spider web graphic that 01:18:00you have with your rent (??) teams and your advisory teams and your, uh, it's an amazing leadership, uh, model.

WALKER: It really is.

LANE: But I--but I think as you say, it really is headed by the seven folks of the cabinet who have a global vision for the whole institution. Now Ken, you were involved in 2004 when this business of LCC's accreditation came up.


LANE: Give me a few details about that, if--if you have time.

WALKER: Oh yeah--oh yeah, I do. This is great.

LANE: --I'm enjoying it thoroughly--

WALKER: --oh me too. Janet will tell me--

LANE: Janet will tell us when it is time to cease and--

WALKER: --that's right--

LANE: And we can always reconvene if we need to.

WALKER: That's right. Um--

LANE: --okay, but that--that was--just give us the--the first you heard of that and what happened then.

WALKER: Um--I guess it would have been in the, uh, would it--would it-- would it have been in the fall of '04? Or was that the fall of '03?--


LANE: --Um, it was '03 because the transition was in April of '04.

WALKER: Okay. Well it would have been in the fall of '03, uh, we--I heard about the, uh, the concern about the, uh, LCC. Of course by that time Lee Todd had been president at UK for two years.

LANE: Right. [clicking noise].

WALKER: And, um, if, uh, this is speculation on my part. If Lee Todd had been president earlier on, uh, KCTCS as an organization might have been created long before House Bill 1. I mean--

LANE: --interesting--

WALKER: --he--because he just had a different vision for UK than President Wethington did. And--but--but anyway, uh, uh, I think that over time, uh, President Todd really began to focus on, uh, UK becoming a top-twenty research institution as mandated by House Bill 1. And 01:20:00managing LCC was really not a part of that. And so, uh, I--again speculation on my part, the--the, uh, the accreditation wrinkle or issue might have just been, you know, the opportunity he--that he was looking for in order to--to sever, uh, LCC from UK Uh, Keith Bird was actually more involved in it--in the fall, uh, and, uh, so I didn't really--I did not attend any meetings. I kept up with, uh, with what was being written and tried to keep us up with what was being said. Um, but when it came to, uh, when it came to the point of that the recommendation to the board was going to be that LCC become part of KCTCS. Then I--then I became more actively involved because, you know, 01:21:00at some point--people would be--would want to know about well, what does that mean from a practical perspective.

LANE: Sure. You had to check the budgets and the operating and--

WALKER: --budget--at that time Candace had already gone at that time and--and so HR had been reorganized into finance. So I was interested in it from a budget perspective, from an HR perspective, from just business operations--business processing perspective. So, uh, I attended--again another first--I attended a UK Board of Trustees meeting for the first time in my life. (Lane laughs) And was asked to, uh, to address the board on, uh, matters of processing and--and how things would work, and all of that.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm.

WALKER: So then, uh, then--when the '04 session occurred, uh, that I guess it--I guess the transition, uh, or the transfer was effected by a, uh, by a, uh, a joint resolution or a concurrent--I don't reckon- 01:22:00-HJR or HCR it was one of the two. And so, um, so when it passed, uh, then we again had a short period of time, uh, basically from April, uh, until July to, uh, to get things, um, moving. And the, uh, the--that resolution as I recall included some language--(coughs)--that, uh, was probably--it was similar to House Bill 1 language in that there was a transition team.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And, uh, there were, um, I don't remember how many members from UK and KCTCS and--

LANE: --I have a listing: Ken Walker, Keith Bird, Beverly Haverstock, UK provost Michael--is it Nietzel?--

WALKER: --Nietzel--

LANE: --Richard Siemer--

WALKER: --right--

LANE: --Barbara Jones--

WALKER: --right.

LANE: And then LCC President Jim Kerley, Dean Sandy Carey, and Associate 01:23:00Dean Tri Roberts.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: Or Tri Roberts.

WALKER: Uh, so--it's Tri.

LANE: It is Tri? I thought I had made a typo there.

WALKER: Yeah--no it is Tri. Yeah.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: Um, um it--so whether it was--whether the resolution said three, three, and three or--or an equal number--

LANE: --right--right. It appears that was the case.

WALKER: Or--or an equal number from each, uh, but, um, I, um, I kind of, uh, stepped out--tried to get a step ahead of everybody else.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: Um--and, um, I--I proposed to the president that the--our members be Beverly and Keith and myself. Uh, with--with me as a--one of the co-chairs. And, uh, so we proposed that to, um, to UK and they- -and they appointed in kind.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And, uh, and then--the--the--and then the three LCC 01:24:00representatives--of course, we wanted Jim to be on that, and we let him identify the other two--

LANE: --sure--sure.

WALKER: And, uh, um--that was--um, uh, a relatively smooth process. Uh, we--we, uh, we accomplished--and if you don't have--we can get you a copy of the final report of that.

LANE: Probably should get that for the record--

WALKER: --transition. Hey Janet--okay--well help--help me remember to do that. But, um, we, um, we accomplished that work in fairly, uh, fairly efficiently and--

LANE: --but you had a little bit of--of history to build on.

WALKER: Had some experience--

LANE: --because you--you had experienced this before with--with the other transition. But I--I'm sure this was unique, but still.

WALKER: And--and, uh, uh, I give--I give Dick Siemer a tremendous amount 01:25:00of credit for how smoothly that went. Because, uh, Dick was the UK co-chair.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: And, uh, and Dick took the approach of we're going to make this work and we're going to make it work if there--if there's--if there is, uh, if--if we are ever in any doubt and--and--and somebody ends up on the short end of the stick on something, we don't ever want it to be KCTCS.

LANE: Wow.


LANE: That's amazing.

WALKER: Tell me. (laughs)

LANE: What was--what was Dick's title?

WALKER: Dick was vice president for administration. Now, uh, a sidebar, uh, were you here for the forum last week? The--

LANE: -- oh no, missed it, missed it.

WALKER: --the United Way forum?

LANE: I was interviewing somebody at Southeast Kentucky.

WALKER: Well, Pam Siemer. Do you know Pam?

LANE: Yeah, yeah I know her well.

WALKER: Well Pam is Mrs. Dick Siemer.

LANE: Mrs. Dick Siemer, yeah. Small world. All-right.


WALKER: But, uh, I had never met Dick--I'd never worked with Dick. He's just--he came in and he--and he'd said--and so, uh, the first couple of meetings--maybe every meeting that we had but at least the first couple of meetings we had was at Spindletop Hall.

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: You know--it was right next door to where we were.

LANE: That's it.

WALKER: A UK property. Very convenient--very, all that. And--and we had but--we had kind of a preliminary meeting. And--and I had some of my finance folks there who were going to be involved in the transition. He had a lot of his folks there. And we kind of stood together side by side, and said we're going to make this work. And he said to his folks what I told you earlier. That if--if we're ever in doubt we-- we're going to make a decision so that KCTCS does not get hurt. And the significance of that was that some of the same people who were on his 01:27:00staff at that time were at UK during the House Bill 1 transition. And the leadership at that time--his predecessors at that time told these same people just make it as difficult as possible. So, you know, I'm not going to mention any names.

LANE: Sure, sure.

WALKER: But--but there was one--one person in particular whose nature was--I mean he's just steeped in UK

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: And--and he--I'm sure enjoyed the first transition and was probably taken aback at the approach that Dick took at the second trans--at the LCC transition. But, Dick set that tone, uh, he and I- -we were together on everything. Barbara Jones and Beverly Haverstock were colleagues, and they worked together. And Keith and--and--and, uh, Nietzel--what's his--Mike Nietzel--


LANE: --Mike, um-hm--

WALKER: --they--it was just--I could--I could not have asked for it to be--

LANE: --a better team--

WALKER: --a better team.

LANE: Wow.

WALKER: And then--so that's kind of at--at this level.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: But all of the work--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --you know, and so I don't know how many work groups we had put together. But we would have, you know, somebody on our side and somebody on their side, and they just made it happen. And so this report--this report that--this final report that we did was--we--the resolution asked us to do certain things.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So our report was structured according to that--

LANE: --right, to that.

WALKER: But then there are all kinds of attachments about how things was going to work. And it just--

LANE: --and it did.

WALKER: And it worked.

LANE: Amazing.

WALKER: It is--it is.

LANE: So, you did get that done between?

WALKER: April and July.

LANE: April and July.

WALKER: Um-hm. And--and there is something in the record--uh, you know, whatever our--whatever our PR publications at that time would have been.


LANE: Okay.

WALKER: Uh, there's a--there's--there's this nice picture--there's a story and this nice picture of a signing ceremony that we had, in the lobby of the administration building at Spindletop. President McCall, uh, Mike Nietzel for, uh, President Todd, and Jim Kerley.

LANE: Wow.

WALKER: And, uh--

LANE: --and it was done--

WALKER: --and it was done.

LANE: But they're still there? Are they still--LCC still is located on the campus--

WALKER: --yeah--yes they are--

LANE: --of the university?

WALKER: Yes. Yes. And--uh, you know, part, uh, the university owns all that property.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: But, uh, the way that the way the law was written the--LCC or now Bluegrass can use the property as long as--as necessary.

LANE: Okay. Okay. I'll need--I will get a copy of that resolution, too.


LANE: And it may be in you're--I don't know if it's attached to your report or not, but I'll--I'll--

WALKER: -yeah the resolution and the final report is--is what you would 01:30:00need.

LANE: Okay. All right. Well, talk a little bit about the Versailles connection. I had a great interview last week with Mayor Fred Siegelman and Bruce Bailey. It was great. And they--they--they told a lot of good stories and--and it was a virtual lovefest, because I think that's how I--I portray that between Versailles and KCTCS. The fact that you all are here and we're here is just a virtual win--win for everybody.

WALKER: It really is.

LANE: Everybody.

WALKER: It really is, uh.

LANE: Were you involved in any of the--any of the details leading up to that? I'm sure you were, but?--

WALKER: --yeah--yeah a little. Uh, and in fact, um, Bruce--Bruce Bailey may have told you this story and he may not have. We--of course we were in Lexington and--uh, you know, uh, it was not--it was not a very good situation.

LANE: Not ideal.

WALKER: Not ideal--it was far from ideal.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And, um, so we had, uh, we had requested, uh, from the state 01:31:00the construction of a new facility a couple of times, and of course it didn't--it didn't get any hearing at all, and, uh.

LANE: Where did you think that was going to be, Ken? Did you have an idea of where that new facility might be built?


LANE: Have any instruction from anybody of about where it should be?


LANE: That was your all's call?

WALKER: Yeah. And I think, um, I think we got--again my speculation--we got no, uh, direction from anybody about where that might be built, because nobody really was interested in funding it and building it.

LANE: Yeah, they knew if they had told you where it was they might have to fund it--

WALKER: --that's right--(both laugh)--that's right.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: So, uh, so anyway after requesting a new facility a couple of times, and it not being built then--uh, you know, we just, uh, knew that we had to look at other alternatives. And so, uh, when--when TI was leaving this facility, uh, I don't remember--I don't remember, uh, 01:32:00I'm sure I talked with Mike about it. But Bruce Bailey and I got in his truck and we drove over here, literally on the day that they were moving out.

LANE: Really? That TI was moving out?


LANE: Oh, my gosh. Oh my gosh--

WALKER: --yeah and in fact I live in Bloomfield in Nelson County and I ran into a couple of TI folks who were--who were helping, you know, they, you know, there I was in my suit and they said, what are you doing here?

LANE: Oh boy--(both laugh)--

WALKER: Yeah. And so what--what--what Bruce and I were doing was at that point--we were hoping that somebody would buy it and, uh, renovate it as a--as an office facility, and that we might be able to lease.

LANE: To lease. Okay.

WALKER: And, uh, so I--like I say I just remember coming over and walking through, and getting in the way--


LANE: (laughs) --oh boy.

WALKER: --and all of that, and, uh, and then, uh, um--of course nobody ever bought it to renovate it.

LANE: It sat for--what two years at least?--

WALKER: --it sat. A couple years. Um-hm. Um-hm. So, uh, I mean we weren't in a position to buy it, and all of that, and so, uh, so anyway we settled back into Spindletop and, uh, you know, a few months later- -a couple years later, uh, we heard from--and I'm sure the president heard first, and then called some of the rest of us in. Heard from Fred Siegelman and a guy by the name of Jas Sekhon Made up--something like that.

LANE: Who was part of their NEA Council (??) ---Bluegrass ADD.--

WALKER: --Bluegrass ADD. Yes--

LANE: --that's it.

WALKER: Um-hm. And so what we learned then that was, uh, was that, uh, uh, TI wanted--had offered the building to, uh, uh, to the city. And 01:34:00the city, uh, wisely did not accept the gift until they knew what they were gonna do with it.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: So, you know, as far as I know--as far as I know they approached us. And why they approached us--or if somebody pointed them in our direction I--I really don't know that. And I mean it could be--it could be--it could be the--that the little day-trip that Bruce and I made over here and the realtor, you know, the realtor--Bruce had talked with the realtor, so--

LANE: --who was that? Do you know? It was a local realtor, but I'm not-- I'll need to find out who it was--

WALKER: --yeah. Bruce would know that.

LANE: Yeah. Yeah.

WALKER: So, you know, it could--it could not be this, but it could be that Bruce contacted the realtor, and we came over to look at the 01:35:00building.

LANE: And they just kept you on file.

WALKER: And they kept us on file, and so that by the time the city--by the time, you know, the city got involved, and the city said well, you know, we want to know, you know, it could have been they said, well those boys over at KCTCS were interested a couple of years ago. Let's check with them.

LANE: But that whole agreement--the corporation that was formed is--is really unique.

WALKER: Yes, it is.

LANE: In--in business.


LANE: And--and has been very successful.

WALKER: It has. And--and I think that the city attorney, uh, whose name--

LANE: --Moore?--

WALKER: --Moore, yeah. I think he was very helpful--very instrumental. Uh, Mayor Siegel-- is a mayor--

LANE: --he is--

WALKER: --you know. He's out there and, uh, he talked a big game, but he, uh, his role was important as well. And then, uh, so, you know, when all of the--we--we put together a proposal of how it could work, 01:36:00and had to work through all the legislative process.

LANE: Right. Right. Get that approved.

WALKER: And part of, you know, part--a significant part of--of what we were--of what our presentation was that by--by--by locking into this lease-purchase agreement over twenty years--in fact, what we were doing was locking into a rental payment.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And we compared that to what our rental payments would have been with annual rate growth had we stayed where we were. And then showed at the end of twenty years we'd own something here--over there we'd still not own--owned anything.

LANE: Or if you had even built, what your--what you obligation would have been--

WALKER: --yes--yes--

LANE: --on a major facility.

WALKER: Yes. So it--doing it this way and Bruce and those guys, would know--would remember the detail, but I'm guessing it was about a third of what the--

LANE: --a third? Yeah--it--it--it appears to be. And as you say--in what's the year that you will own this facility?

WALKER: Well, uh, not later than, uh, 2023.


LANE: 2023?

WALKER: And every--every year we ask the General Assembly to fund--

LANE: --right--

WALKER: --the difference. And who knows? At some point they may, and we may own it, uh, may own it earlier.

LANE: Well, that's--that's a good thought.

WALKER: And it was--it was a smart move for the--for the community as well. Because, you know, they--they could have--they could have tried to make money off the facility, but they didn't.

LANE: Yeah. Yeah.

WALKER: Uh, so--

LANE: --that's interesting, isn't it?

WALKER: And so--when--when all the smoke clears, you know, uh, the money that we will have paid the corporation will be just to pay off the debt that they had from the financing--

LANE: --exactly, it's a non-profit. But--but the win for Versailles is--is the payroll taxes--

WALKER: --absolutely--

LANE: --and that sort of thing. And--and good neighbors.

WALKER: That's right.

LANE: And just having an educational entity such as KCTCS here in Versailles. As a--as a community member I can--I can say that. And say that, uh, universally the community is very excited about it.

WALKER: Yes. Yeah. Well, and we went to and left Lexington and nobody 01:38:00noticed. (Lane laughs) And--and even before we got here, people couldn't wait for us to get here.

LANE: That's right, that's right. Were there other players in that? Judge Gormley, uh, was he involved?--

WALKER: --not that I recall.

LANE: Not as much? The county not as much as the city, simply because we're located here?

WALKER: Yeah. The two significant players that I remember were, uh, Seacorn--Sekhon?

LANE: Bluegrass ADD. Jas--

WALKER: --Bluegrass ADD and the city. Yeah.

LANE: Yeah. Excellent. Well, it certainly--

WALKER: --then we turned Bruce loose and Bruce did his magic, and, you know--

LANE: --um-hm. Phased in the--you've had how--this is the--

WALKER: --two phases--

LANE: --the second phase of renovation here at the--at the system office. And how many employees?

WALKER: Well, uh, probably counting--um, uh, counting all the Fire Commission folks, which was a big addition.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And, uh, and then we've prepared for KBEMS.


WALKER: And we'll see what happens with that.

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: Uh, but right now I think there are about 210 people in the 01:39:00building--something like that. Uh, but, you know, at Spindletop, uh, Janet and I were the only--I mean we were in one building, and everybody else on the finance staff were spread between two other buildings--

LANE: --it is so much more efficient.


LANE: Well I like your working arrangement here too. And we'll--we'll establish this for the record. In this building you have units of--of cubicles and conference rooms and offices. But you have shared work spaces. It's very efficient. You have one copier for a dozen folks.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: I think that concept is very, very efficient.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: To keep--keep the proliferation of copiers and workspaces at a minimum. But it seems to work well.

WALKER: And, uh--

LANE: --promotes collaboration--

WALKER: --there were, uh, there were people who weren't all that supportive of that. But--

LANE: --sure. And I understand that--

WALKER: --but and--and that's--and because it wasn't that away at Spindletop.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: And, you know, the space that you're in dictates what--what has 01:40:00to happen.

LANE: It sure does.

WALKER: And so, uh, but, you know, President McCall made it clear that- -that's what we were going to do. We were going to have the shared workspaces; weren't going to have printers in every office and all of that. So--so he's--he's--the president's been actively involved in all of the decisions, uh, uh, about this building.

LANE: I want to go back to 19--well actually, this--this interview was done about 2002. Ron Carson, who in 1997 was deputy budget director and is now at CPE--

WALKER: --right--

LANE: --gave me this quote: "I can remember having a conversation with Ken Walker at the time," which was '97, "saying, that we can look back ten years from now, and without question the creation of KCTCS will be the most important thing in this bill. Not that the other elements weren't important: Bucks for Brains; Virtual University; reorg of the council; SCOPE. I still think by far the most important thing is the 01:41:00establishment of KCTCS." Give me a comment on that Ken. Do you agree?

WALKER: (laughs) Absolutely. I agree, I agree--

LANE: --yeah--

WALKER: I agree.

LANE: It--it--it seems to be the shining star of--of the whole bill.


LANE: I mean there are others. He's right. But, uh, KCTCS--how would you like for us to present the last ten years Ken? Um, would you list for me some of the highlights which you--which we alluded to earlier.

WALKER: Well, I think the board's selection of Mike McCall, uh, has to be right at the top of the list--[clicking noise]--uh, simply because of--of the vision that he brought, and his, uh, ability--his leadership ability to implement that vision. Uh, and--and so many of these other things flow from that. Um--after that the, uh, the consolidation of 01:42:00the colleges in, uh, kind of a--and I, you know, after I heard Mike talk first--I--I knew that would happen, but for it to happen--

LANE: --how it happened--

WALKER: --how it happened and as quickly as it happened. I'd of never-- I wouldn't have bet a penny on that. So, consolidation of the colleges. Um, this one is, and I don't know how many--how many people would have this in their top three, but--but I do. And that is the, um, what happened at Paducah Community College, and the--and the creation of West Kentucky Community Technical College. Uh, House Bill 1 provided that the PJC Inc. board would in fact be the board of directors at, uh, PCC. You know--completely different setup than--than any of the 01:43:00other colleges.

LANE: Okay.

WALKER: And, uh, President McCall working with the folks there, uh, basically got that board to relinquish that responsibility. And so PJC Inc. board is now the board for the foundation.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: Which is appropriate.

LANE: Yes, it is.

WALKER: And there is a separate board of directors structured like the other boards of directors. Uh, and just, you know, what--what I knew about Paducah and--and PJC, and prior to my coming here; again, I would have not bet anything that that would have ever happened--

LANE: --happened, like it did--

WALKER: --in my--my lifetime. And--and--and--and, you know, the president just has this ability to--to work quietly and to--work with people and get these things done and, uh, I mean so that's one that 01:44:00just happened.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: Life went on. But I remember when he--when he came back from meeting with them and said it was going to happen. Uh--

LANE: --well, I'd never of bet on that.

WALKER: Yeah, yeah, -it was almost--I almost couldn't believe him--that he was telling me that, you know. But--but--

LANE: Do you remember what year that was?

WALKER: It was--we were still at Spindletop so--um, '01, '02. Yeah Um--

LANE: --okay. You don't have to limit it to three.

WALKER: --yeah, well.

LANE: I mean top three is always good, but I want to be sure that we present all of the significant happenings.

WALKER: Yeah. And, uh, and as I said earlier, you know, we have these red-letter events.

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: But they've become, you know, there are so many of them we--we kind of take them as--as commonplace. Uh, those three really stand out in my mind. And, uh, uh, you know, then there are--there are dozens 01:45:00of other things, you know. I mean our budget--our budget process--of funding model that we've developed. Uh, uh, what we've done with tuition. You know, I mean these are big things to me.

LANE: Right.

WALKER: But, uh, what--what others might think about them, I don't know. But its, you know, uh, we--we've--we've--we've made, uh, processing easier. We've made support of the colleges, you know--

LANE: -- support, yeah, that's what I see--

WALKER: --yeah, the president, uh, one of the first things I learned from him were, you know, his, uh--and he reminds us, and we remind each other often of this: that the role of the system office leadership is service and support. And so, uh, you know.

LANE: Well, that's certainly evident.

WALKER: The fourth thing I would put on this list--

LANE: --okay--

WALKER: --is the RSVP model, which is the leadership model that he 01:46:00developed.

LANE: Yes.

WALKER: And, uh, it--it really is what keeps everybody together and--and keeps us moving toward the--moving forward in the same direction--

LANE: --I think that is very important. And that is something I want to--want to--as I say want to speak with him and get his permission. I think that's a model that--that people are going to be very interested in and I don't know that it's been published. But that's something we really ought to--to talk about, because it sure is working.

WALKER: It really is. And then things have come out of that like the Virtual Learning Initiative, uh, the Workforce Development initiative, Workforce Competitive Initiative. Uh, we--we just seem to, you know--

LANE: --Yeah. Continue to--

WALKER: --keep ramping up or, you know, and he comes up with these acronyms.

LANE: Yes, he does.

WALKER: He loves acronyms.

LANE: Yeah, he does.

WALKER: And, uh, catchphrases. "Going to the next level" and all of that.

LANE: Um-hm. Um-hm.

WALKER: You know.

LANE: But--but there's substance behind those.

WALKER: Absolutely.

LANE: That's--that's what's--what's different about some other--some other models. That there is substance, and then you have a nice catchy 01:47:00phrase that just makes it all more interesting.

WALKER: That's right. That's right. And then as I, you know, as I look around, uh, and I see, uh, um, folks who have come here from other places.

LANE: Um-hm.

WALKER: Uh, folks that I have--some that I knew of and others that I didn't know about. High quality people--

LANE: --yes--

WALKER: --who when they get an opportunity to come, come.

LANE: They do. You've lured people from all over the U.S.

WALKER: That's right.

LANE: You've lured people out of retirement, which I find--find really interesting. But--but, you know, I think the emphasis has been on--on quality people, signing on.

WALKER: Yeah. Uh, Christina Whitfield, who was at the Council is now here. You know--one of the best data analysts I've ever seen. Um, uh, Billy Hardin who was at the Council.

LANE: With you--uh-hm--sure--

WALKER: --with--and then saw an opportunity to come and came and, uh, and--and, you know, all these people then want to make a--want to make a contribution.

LANE: Sure.


WALKER: And, uh, so.

LANE: Ken, there--you will think of other things, and when you do don't hesitate. Just keep a list--

WALKER: --okay--

LANE: --and--and I'll check back with you. Uh, what we're going to do is, um, finish these interviews, and then I--I can't--Tim was asking me how many I could do--I said it really takes about two days to do an interview.

WALKER: Um-hm.

LANE: You have to prepare.

WALKER: Right.

LANE: You can't just go in there and say well, tell me what you know--

WALKER: --tell me what you know.

[End of interview.]