Politics

On Tuesday, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Senate President Robert Stivers said they would consider setting up a hiring committee to find a new Legislative Research Commission director by July 1.

But Stivers cooled to the idea on Wednesday.

Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, said he didn’t want to start the search until a final audit report of the LRC by the National Council of State Legislatures was complete.

The LRC’s leadership board, made up of state legislative leaders, decided on Wednesday to not move forward with hiring a new director for the state agency, which provides research and staff for legislators.

“I feel this motion at this time is premature and I cannot support it unless it has the additional language getting the finalized report,” Stivers said during the LRC leadership meeting.

A draft version of the LRC audit was released last month.

The commission has been under scrutiny since August 2013, when three LRC staffers accused then-state Rep. John Arnold of sexual harassment. The LRC’s then-director Robert Sherman retired amid accusations that he didn’t do enough in response to reports of sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Both Stumbo and Stivers agreed that a new director would be vital to implementing reforms in the LRC.

After the LRC panel meeting, Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, said he disagrees with Stivers’ position to delay the hiring process.

“I don’t understand this whole issue about supplemental findings,” Stumbo said. “We don’t need supplemental findings at this time. We need someone to run this agency.”

Stivers said he and Stumbo would need to send a letter to the NCSL to request a final draft of the report, and suggested scheduling another LRC meeting.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.