Stivers and Stumbo agree on former law dean as final Legislative Ethics Commission member

06/02/2014 03:26 PM

Henry L. Stephens, a former law school dean and a mediation expert in Northern Kentucky, will fill the ninth spot on the Legislative Ethics Commission that has remained vacant for the last two years.

The Senate president and House speaker had to jointly name the ninth and final commissioner on the panel, which oversees ethics cases. But Republican Senate President Robert Stivers and Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo couldn’t agree on a candidate until now.

Stephens served as dean of the Salmon P. Chase School of Law at Northern Kentucky University from 1986-1992. He now specializes in mediation after receiving his training at Harvard Law School in 1997.

Stephens also had a stint as special assistant attorney general and litigator with the state’s Natural Resources Cabinet from 1978 to 1979.

In a joint statement, Stivers and Stumbo cited Stephens’ legal experience and education as key factors in the appointment.

The Legislative Ethics Commission attracted criticism this spring for low attendance, which initially led the commission to fail to reach five votes on the question of whether to punish former Democratic Rep. John Arnold for violating the ethics code by sexually harassing legislative staffers. In addition to several commission members being out of town, the ninth seat had remained open for two years.

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