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Editorial

Ky. LRC has a new Director:
Era of sex, drugs, rock-n-roll over

By Ivan Potter
(Clinton, KY. 9-24-2015)

David Byerman, from the Nevada Senate, has just signed a two year contract for a base salary of $ 135,000. If he is still standing in six months, he will get a 5% raise.

On the surface, Byerman looks like a good choice. His background is impressive. His entire public career has been deep in the areas of public policy, inter agency coordination, government-people communications, and issue problem solving.

However, the question of the day is, "Can he deal with the Dark Side of the insider Frankfort politics and the General Assembly without losing his job?"

The basic reason Byerman is coming to Frankfort is that the Ky. State Legislature got caught being out of control with money and power. This happens about every few years as political power becomes concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.

Add the fuel of women at LRC being misused by staff and legislators and there is scandal. The very sad aspect of all the past two years of legal drama in court over who did what to the women is the ugly hidden factor of pay scale.

Pay raises seems to be the number one reason why morale is so low in the LRC. The special report completed by the National Association of State Legislatures found pay to be the basic cause of employee unrest. During the past decade, pay raises at LRC was often given out to whoever had special favor with its director.

Also not covered very well during the sex scandals of the past decade are the twin crimes of (1) corporations running LRC and (2) the specter of Kentucky state government's inability to function.

Now most important legislative policy and law is written by lobbyists from special interests and corporations. LRC staffers stand to serve, in many cases, as simply background wall paper.

Case in point being the horrible job of having AT&T corporate interests pushed at the expense of the public's best interest in the 2015 Legislative session. AT&T folks got what they wanted by being able to discontinue having to support land lines in urban areas. They wrote the law and made sure it passed in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Kentucky state budget can no longer serve to prop up the enormous top heavy state government. In 1972, Governor Wendell Ford replaced 300 boards, commissions, and state agencies with 7 primary cabinets.

Now in 2015, there are thousands of commission and board memberships around the state as well as over 40,000 state employees in 14 cabinets. Finding more money for this business model will become more of a political and management crisis each time the Legislature meets.

As a modern state, Kentucky has many serious problems. Good luck to the new LRC Director. I feel he will need a lot of good luck in cooling the appetites of the members of the Kentucky General Assembly.

And to those elected members, I offer this advice in the times of Tea Party and "throw the bums out philosophy:"

Grow Up! Somber Up! Do Your Job and Fix Kentucky!


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