Kentucky lawmakers have approved an internal audit of the state’s largest bureaucracy. The bipartisan National Conference of States Legislatures has been selected to audit the state Legislative Research Commission in the wake of scandal.
State lawmakers approved a $42,000 contract to the NCSL, which has conducted similar performance reviews in over a dozen similar agencies in other states. A panel of lawmakers voted 9-5 to approve the audit, which will assist the LRC in hiring a new, permanent director as well as conducting interviews with LRC staff to determine if the nearly 400 employee agency needs to be restructured. Although Democrats and Republicans agree on the need for an audit, they disagree on how — and who — should conduct it. House Speaker Greg Stumbo believes that Lexington-based Hanna Resource Group, which submitted a less thorough but significantly cheaper proposal, would have been up to the task.
“It’s a lot cheaper," Stumbo said. "I’m not a big fan of paying more for more government studies that end up on a shelf somewhere.”
But that company’s president, Lyle Hanna, has donated more than $4,000 to Democrats in the last 15 years. Senate President Robert Stivers thinks the NCSL study could save money over the long term.
“You know, maybe the new director can come in and say ‘Here, I’ve got a whole series of things that I’ve looked at, I’m aware of these things, and this is what I would suggest for hirings, firings, promotions, compensation,’ so individuals know how they are going to be judged on their performance and what they have to look forward to," Stivers said.
The audit is slated to begin next month, with a finalized report ready by April.