The new director of the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission says he’s ready to make changes to the state agency after a years-long sexual harassment scandal and complaints of low morale.
David Byerman started his job last week.
Byerman says the LRC needs to get its “swagger back.”
The LRC runs much of the administration at the state capitol and also manages staffers who work for state lawmakers. It’s been embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal that broke in the summer of 2013 and brought about accusations of favoritism and opaque hiring practices.
Byerman said he’s going to create structure in the state agency.
“We have the right workforce, we just need for the level of leadership to rise to the level of performance we’re already getting from our employees.”
Byerman started last Thursday. He says some of the biggest changes probably won’t come until after next year’s legislative session, which ends in April.
A report released earlier this year found that the LRC had unclear hiring and compensation practices that were influenced by favoritism.
Byerman says that privately, LRC employees have reinforced the report’s findings, but reforming the LRC’s compensation system will take time.
“If you have people being overpaid, what do you do? Do you promote them? Do you make them do more work for the pay that they currently have? That’s one option. Do you fire them if they’re overcompensated for the job? I don’t know the answer to that yet”
The LRC’s troubles were made public when two staffers sued then-Rep. John Arnold, accusing him of inappropriately touching them. Arnold later resigned, was fined $3,000 by the Legislative Ethics Commission, and eventually settled the case with the women.
Former LRC Director Bobby Sherman was also a defendant in the case.