New Kentucky House Majority Whip Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, gets to choose his own staff.
And Yolanda Costner worked in a job at the Legislative Research Commission where she served, "at will," meaning she could be dismissed without cause.
That said, Bell's decision to fire Costner — one of three women employees who bravely made public complaints of sexual harassment against former Rep. John Arnold — is another discouraging reminder that legislative leaders continue to drag their feet on reforms at the LRC.
The 2013 scandal that led to Arnold's resignation and a guilty judgment on three charges against him by the Legislative Ethics Commission also revealed a culture of favoritism, lax management and sexual misconduct. Longtime director Bobby Sherman resigned that fall, too, shredding documents on his way out. Costner and another woman have sued Arnold, alleging sexual harassment.
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In the wake of all this, legislative leaders pledged to investigate and reform the agency, which provides administrative and research support for the part-time legislature. They forged ahead, hiring an outside group to study the LRC and recommend reforms, and talked about hiring a new permanent director to undertake those changes.
That report was delivered last April but only a few legislators have seen it. There have been no reforms and no sign of any effort to hire a new director.
Firing a whistleblower doesn't make problems go away.