Tommy Elliot

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A judge has partially granted Gov. Matt Bevin’s request to remove a pension board member while a lawsuit over his dismissal is ongoing.

In an order, Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd said Thursday Tommy Elliott can still participate in meetings of the Kentucky Retirement Systems Board of Directors and its committees, but as a non-voting member.

Bevin issued an executive order removing Elliott from the KRS board in April, three years before the end of Elliott’s appointed term. He sued Bevin over the move. Last month, Shepherd ruled that Elliott could remain on the board while the lawsuit transpired, but he didn’t attend two recent meetings.

The governor’s office on Wednesday argued that Elliott should be removed because of his absences and Shepherd partially agreed.

Ryland Barton

Kentucky Retirement Systems board member Tommy Elliott says he didn’t attend a recent meeting of the pension board because he says there was a “dynamic of fear” over whether he would be arrested by state troopers for participating.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily restored Elliott to the pension board last month after Elliott sued Gov. Matt Bevin for removing him from the governing body three years before the end of his appointed term.

However, Elliott didn’t attend two recent KRS board meetings, prompting the judge last week to question whether Elliott should remain on the board and inviting the governor’s office to move to have the court order him removed.

On Wednesday, Elliott testified that he didn’t attend one of the recent meetings because he was afraid he’d get arrested.

KRS

The debate continues over whether Gov. Matt Bevin has the authority to replace the chair of the Kentucky Retirement Systems board before his term expires.

Last week, Bevin sent Kentucky State Police troopers to a KRS board meeting in order to arrest board chair Tommy Elliott if he participated. Bevin issued an executive order removing Elliott nearly a month before, but Elliott defied the order and continued presiding in a subsequent board meeting.

Bevin’s office said Elliott “voluntarily elected not to participate” in last week’s meeting.

Bill Thielen, executive director of KRS, said Monday that top officials in Bevin’s administration threatened to have Elliott arrested if he participated in the meeting.

“He decided he would not take part in the meeting,” Thielen said. “He sat in the audience. Police officers were there in the boardroom at both doors.”