Stumbo hires former law partner ahead of possible staff changes in legislative office

jbrammer@herald-leader.comJune 20, 2014 

Greg Stumbo aims to help Democrats keep control of the House.

FRANKFORT — House Speaker Greg Stumbo has hired a former law partner from Prestonsburg as a policy and legal adviser in his legislative office.

David A. Barber, a former judge on the Kentucky Court of Appeals, started work in Stumbo's office on June 2 at a salary of $56 an hour. He is expected to work about 100 hours a month, which would equate to an annual salary of $67,200. Barber lost a bid for a Floyd Circuit Court judgeship in May.

In a statement, Stumbo said he hired Barber this month "to serve as a policy and legal adviser, and he will help as we make some adjustments in the near future to our full-time staff."

He added: "His reputation speaks for itself, and I'm glad to have him back on board."

The office now has seven full-time employees and six part-timers. Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said no restructuring of staff has yet occurred.

Barber's hiring is unrelated to any consideration Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, might be giving to a possible gubernatorial bid in 2015, Wilkerson said.

Earlier this week, when state Auditor Adam Edelen announced that he would not run for governor, Stumbo said he would not make a decision about the race for governor until after this year's November general election. Stumbo said he is instead focused on helping Democrats keep control of the state House and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes in her campaign to unseat U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Stumbo, Barber and former state Rep. Mike Bowling of Middlesboro formed a law firm in 1992. Barber was general counsel to Stumbo in the 1990 General Assembly, when Stumbo was House majority floor leader.

Barber recently has been an attorney in Owingsville. He received his law degree from the University of Louisville and did post-graduate judicial studies at Harvard.

He is a former attorney for the city of Martin, for the Floyd County School Board and Floyd County.

He also has been an administrative law judge for the state Department of Workers' Compensation. He was elected to the Kentucky Court of Appeals in 1999. Stumbo appointed him to the Legislative Ethics Commission in 2011, but he no longer serves on the ethics panel.

Jack Brammer: (859) 231-1302. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: Bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com.

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