House, Senate chiefs of staff given LRC director's duties once Marcia Seiler retires from agency Friday

07/29/2015 01:21 PM

The Legislative Research Commission will be led by House and Senate chiefs of staff once interim Director Marcia Seiler retires from the agency on Friday.

Seiler announced the move in an email to LRC staff last week, as The Courier-Journal first reported late Tuesday. Becky Harilson, chief of staff for Senate President Robert Stivers, and Steve Collins, chief of staff for House Speaker Greg Stumbo, will fulfill the director’s responsibilities until legislative leaders name a permanent LRC head this fall, according to Seiler’s email.

“As Acting Director I have worked closely with Steve and Becky; I am confident they will continue to work well together,” she wrote in the message to staff.

Seiler took over the agency following the abrupt retirement of former LRC Director Robert Sherman in September 2013 after a sexual harassment scandal involving a former lawmaker and LRC employees came to light. Sherman has defended his handling of the affair, but lawsuits in the matter have been settled, with Sherman paying an undisclosed sum as part of a settlement.

Legislative leaders created a six-person panel to search for potential replacements at the top of LRC last month, and lawmakers said they hoped to have a new director in place by Nov. 1.

That quick turnaround was a main factor for Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, and Stivers, R-Manchester, in their decision to give Collins and Harilson greater short-term roles in the agency.

“President Stivers and I chose to go this route because it is such a short period before a permanent new director is expected to be hired,” Stumbo said in a statement. “Both Steve and Becky are well-equipped to handle any administrative matters that may come up, and I have no doubt LRC’s highly professional staff will handle this brief transition well.”

Stivers was not immediately available for comment.

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers Kentucky politics and all the goings-on at the State Capitol. Kevin was born and raised in Frankfort so he grew up around politics and has always had the drive to follow the political process and hold lawmakers accountable. Before joining Spectrum News Kevin covered government and politics for The State Journal in Frankfort. You can watch Kevin’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135.

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