FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) – Democratic Attorney General Andy Beshear has fired another shot in his continuing feud with Republican Gov. Matt Bevin, charging this time that he illegally approved a severance package for an adoption czar whose contract was terminated.
Beshear, who wants to replace Bevin as governor, has already filed to run, though the election isn’t until 2019. He has had a running spat with Bevin for the past two years, resulting in a series of lawsuits over policy and legal issues.
On Thursday, Beshear released an opinion saying a $60,000 termination fee paid to Dan Dumas was a violation of the state’s procurement law.
“This is a classic political response from Candidate Beshear, who is once again using public office to advance his personal agenda,” said Bevin spokeswoman Elizabeth Kuhn. “If only Beshear would give the same level of scrutiny to contracts that truly are illegal.”
Kuhn specifically cited two contracts that Beshear has awarded as attorney general.
Bevin had hired Dumas to advise him on adoption and foster care issues at a time when his administration and lawmakers were working on major reforms.
In the opinion, Beshear wrote that Dumas was wrongly hired under a “sole contract” source. The Bevin administration said he was “uniquely qualified” for the position and that seeking competitive bids wasn’t necessary.
Beshear disagreed, saying the only experience Dumas had with Kentucky’s child welfare system was with the adoption of his own children. Beshear’s opinion said that doesn’t make him “uniquely qualified” for the position.
The opinion said the Bevin administration should have sought competitive bids.
Because the entire contract was invalid, the termination fee also is invalid, according to the opinion.
Dumas worked less than a year before his contract was terminated. Bevin did not give a reason for the firing
Democratic state Rep. Jim Wayne of Louisville requested Beshear’s opinion on the validity of the termination fee.
Earlier this month, Bevin hired Chris and Alicia Johnson of Florida to serve as adoption advisors to help further strengthen the state’s adoption and foster care system.