It was good, if overdue, news last week that after almost two years of infighting and dawdling legislative leaders finally found a face-saving way to search for a new executive director at the Legislative Research Commission.
A national search will begin soon with the goal of having three candidates for the 16-member oversight committee to interview in September and to have a permanent executive director in place by November.
The former director, Bobby Sherman, resigned in September 2013 after three LRC employees complained they had been sexually harassed by a legislator, but Sherman took little action when they reported the abuse.
Since then the agency — which provides research, drafts bills and staffs legislative committees and offices — has operated with an interim director.
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An examination by the National Conference of State Legislatures found an agency with disastrously low morale and gaping pay inequities that lacked even the most rudimentary elements of a personnel system such as job descriptions and performance evaluations.
Still, Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, who co-chairs the oversight committee with House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, raised objections to releasing the conference's report, instituting reforms in the agency or beginning the search for a director to undertake reforms.
This incomprehensible objection was finally overcome last week, and none too soon.
The LRC is the full-time, professional support staff for the part-time legislature. There will be plenty of work to do with a new governor on the horizon and a budget process looming soon after.
Now that the search has begun, legislative leaders must assure its integrity by insisting on a true national search for a fully qualified director. Once that person is hired, they must provide the support needed to carry out large and overdue reforms.