Legislative Research Commission takes first step toward identifying permanent director

06/03/2015 06:29 PM

FRANKFORT — The Legislative Research Commission has formed a search committee to identify possible permanent replacements for former LRC Director Robert Sherman, who resigned in September 2013 after allegations of sexual harassment by a departed lawmaker engulfed the Capitol.

The LRC unanimously approved House Speaker Greg Stumbo’s motion Wednesday to establish a six-person panel to conduct the national search.

The group, which includes Stumbo, Senate President Robert Stivers, House Minority Floor Leader Jeff Hoover, Senate Minority Floor Leader Ray Jones and a female or minority appointee from each chamber, can hire an independent search consultant and spend up to $25,000 without additional LRC approval, and three potential candidates are due at the LRC’s September meeting.

The process will be open to current employees, including acting Director Marica Seiler, who is recovering from a back injury sustained after she was hit by a vehicle while bicycling, Stivers and Stumbo said.

The push to find a new director will occur simultaneously with Stivers’ request for further comparisons between Kentucky and other states as part of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ audit of the LRC, a draft of which was completed in April 2014 and delved into a number of personnel issues within the agency.

Stivers, R-Manchester, said he and Stumbo have sent a letter seeking the additional information from NCSL.

Legislative leaders said they would like to have new LRC director in place by either mid-October or Nov. 1, particularly with a new gubernatorial administration taking office during a budget session.

“It’s going to take a couple of months for whoever that person is to get up to speed if that person were not familiar with the employees and the process and everything here,” Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, told reporters. “So if you brought somebody from out of state, it’s obviously going to take a little bit of time for them to get acclimated.”

Any actions on recommendations made in the audit – once it’s completed – will come from the new director, both legislative leaders said.

“The sooner the better, but then I think that becomes the charge of the new director to incorporate that all in together,” Stivers said.

“He or she will take these recommendations and these directives, study the structure, probably have communication, I’m sure, with staff and may come back with various proposals, which may expand upon what is recommended here,” Stumbo added, “and that’ll be up to the LRC to consider.”

Kevin Wheatley

Kevin Wheatley is a reporter for Pure Politics. He joined cn|2 in September 2014 after five years at The State Journal in Frankfort, where he covered Kentucky government and politics. You can reach him at kevin.wheatley@charter.com or 502-792-1135 and follow him on Twitter at @KWheatley_cn2.

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