FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The intra-party fight at the top of the Kentucky executive branch continued Tuesday with Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton releasing a statement decrying the firing of her staffers and defending her office’s work.
“I am perplexed by the vacuous decision to deprive an active, productive Lieutenant Governor of her staff,” Hampton wrote. “But after watching politics for over 45 years, I am not surprised by the false allegations and character attacks which have ensued.”
Hampton’s statement was in response to the firing last week of her deputy chief of staff, Adrienne Southworth.
Gov. Matt Bevin denied having anything to do with the move, but over the weekend his chief of staff, Blake Brickman, took responsibility for authorizing Southworth’s removal.
Brickman said the decision was the result of multiple instances of “poor judgment” and also claimed Southworth was advocating for leniency in sexual abuse cases.
“As my proxy on the Criminal Justice Policy Assessment Council, a working group convened to improve Kentucky’s criminal justice system, Ms. Southworth met with legislators and other stakeholders to research proposed reform bills and help determine their scope and viability,” Hampton wrote. “Although we both asked several questions on this complex issue, questions do not imply endorsement or advocation.”
Hampton — who Bevin replaced with state Sen. Ralph Alvarado for his current campaign — said she would continue to serve out the remainder of her term.
She also said Southworth is continuing to work with the intention of being paid and promised unspecified “action” to reinstate both Southworth and Steve Knipper, her former chief of staff who also was fired.
“Ms. Southworth will continue to assist me, tracking her time manually until she is back in the personnel system. I am pursuing action to reinstate my staff soon.”