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.
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.