FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — The head of the Legislative Research Commission resigned abruptly Friday, saying he had been considering leaving for a while but wanted to stay through the end of the internal review into his office's handling of sexual harassment complaints against a former lawmaker.
Bobby Sherman said in his resignation letter that the "strenuous review" found the complaints had been addressed promptly, fully examined and that protective measures had been implemented.
"Now that this phase of the examination has concluded, I believe that the logical time for my departure has arrived," he said.
Legislative workers Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper alleged in complaints to the Legislative Ethics Commission that state Rep. Arnold had touched them inappropriately and had made vulgar comments.
Arnold, of Sturgis, resigned last week. But that didn't stop the Democrat's former colleagues from pressing ahead with their own investigation into the allegations.
The committee laid groundwork this week for its investigation, which could lead to Arnold being censured by the House, perhaps in the form of a reprimand or a fine. Had he not resigned, the committee could have recommended expulsion.
Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo said the investigation is necessary, despite Arnold's departure, to protect the integrity of the Legislature.
Arnold hadn't addressed the charges publicly until he submitted his letter of resignation in which he declared he has been "destroyed politically" and could no longer be an effective voice for his constituents.
Meanwhile, Costner and Cooper have hired an attorney, Thomas Clay of Louisville, and are considering taking legal action against the state.
Laura Hendrix, attorney or the Legislative Research Commission, told Clay in a letter Friday that the agency won't consider offering his clients a settlement, based on the outcome of the internal review.
"Given the prompt attention paid by the LRC to your clients' concerns throughout this investigation, the LRC does not believe that any settlement discussions would be warranted at this time," she said.
Stumbo distributed a one-sentence response to Sherman's resignation, thanking him for his many years of service working for the commission.
Sherman's resignation was effective immediately.
Sherman, who has worked for the commission for more than 30 years, had considered retiring in 2008, but stayed on when Kentucky lawmakers gave him a pay raise of $62,000 a year. That raise brought Sherman's annual salary up to $195,000, making him one of the highest paid employees in state government.