FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — A judge has ruled that Governor Matt Bevin had the authority to fire his Lieutenant Governor's staff without her permission, ending a legal battle that has been escalating since January.
The ruling was handed down Friday in Franklin Circuit Court. Judge Phillip Shepherd ruled in favor of the Governor, granting the defendant's motion for summary judgment.
According to court documents obtained by LEX 18, Lt. Gov Jenean Hampton argued that she was the "agency head" of her own office and should control her staff. Hampton filed suit against Governor Bevin, saying that he had illegally dismissed two of her staffers, Steve Knipper and Adrienne Southworth.
The firings caused an intraparty scuffle in Kentucky's GOP. In May, Hampton released a tweet from her official account asking the public to pray for her as she battled "dark forces."
"...The Court finds that the Lieutenant Governor only has those duties which the Governor has assigned to her or that General Assembly has prescribed to her by statute."
Employees assigned to work with the Lieutenant Governor, the motion states, are included within the personnel of the Office of the Governor. As such, the court ruled that Bevin has the right to fire and hire employees within Hampton's office.
Hampton's attorney's office released the following statement, "We are evaluating the court's ruling, and anticipate that we will appeal."
Bevin has selected Ralph Alvarado as his running mate for the November 2019 general election.