House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he wants to release a nine-month-old performance audit of the state's Legislative Research Commission.
Responding to an Open Records Act request filed this week by the Herald-Leader, Stumbo said Friday that he's asking LRC leadership — composed of House and Senate leaders from both parties — to put the audit's release on the agenda for their Feb. 4 meeting.
"The draft report contains numerous findings and recommendations regarding LRC which will aid us in our mission to effectively serve the people of Kentucky," Stumbo wrote to Marcia Seiler, the LRC's acting director. "While we may not all agree with every point made, we can certainly engage in a discussion of the issues."
The LRC is the bureaucracy that runs the state's legislative branch. In late 2013, legislative leaders gave a $42,410 contract to the National Conference of State Legislatures to audit the agency's performance in response to several scandals, including sexual harassment complaints that forced the resignation of state Rep. John Arnold, D-Sturgis.
Although the LRC received a report from the audit team last April, legislative leaders never responded to it. They have refused to release the report, calling it a "draft" and therefore exempt from disclosure under the Open Records Act.
Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, who co-chairs the LRC with Stumbo, said last week that he was dissatisfied with the report because it didn't cover all of the subjects that he wanted, including hostile-workplace lawsuits filed against the LRC by some of its female employees.
"We have asked Speaker Stumbo to give his approval for a joint request to NCSL to get what we requested," Stivers said last week.
One of the LRC employees who filed the complaints, Yolanda Costner, was fired this week by the new House majority whip, Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow. No reason was given for her firing. As a leadership staffer, Costner served at the pleasure of legislative leaders.