Attorney for Lt. Gov. Hampton speaks to LEX 18

Posted at 3:39 PM, Aug 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-16 18:23:48-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18)  — The attorney for the Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky is talking about his client's legal battle against Governor Matt Bevin.

Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton filed a suit against the Governor regarding the firing of two of her staff members earlier this year. The lawsuit states that Hampton continues to "suffer unique damages as it pertains to the rights afforded to her by her position."

"She's been deprived of her ability to appoint and retain the staff that she chooses that will best help her, best aid her in discharging her responsibilities," attorney Joshua Harp tells LEX 18's Mike Valente.

Harp says that his client is seeking two things, a declaration from a judge that the Lieutenant Governor has authority to hire and fire her own staff and injuctive relief, restoring Steve Knipper and Adrienne Southworth to their old positions.

In Knipper's case, the Bevin administration says it dismissed him because he refused to comply with a policy to leave state government after he declared his candidacy for Secretary of State.

Harped claims that policy was never formally adopted so it doesn't apply in this situation.

"It indicates it applies to governor-appointed staff...and as our suit maintains, these staff were appointed, and rightfully so, by the lieutenant governor...not the governor," said Harp.

Harp said he doesn't want to speculate on whether the Governor was made aware of the decision to fire Knipper and Southworth, but as he notes, the staff Bevin appointed certainly was.