FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) -- A long-time Senate Republican staffer has been named director of the Legislative Research Commission, filling a nine-month vacancy.
Following a 50-minute closed door meeting on Wednesday, the Democratic and Republican legislative leaders of both the House and Senate, who are the members of the LRC, unanimously chose Jay D. Hartz as Director.
Hartz, currently Deputy Chief of Staff in the Senate President’s Office, brings nearly 25 years of experience to the position. Prior to his current position, Hartz served as the Director of Legislative Operations in the Senate President’s Office and served two terms as the Chief Clerk of the Senate, the Chief Administrative Officer for the chamber.
“I’m humbled by the responsibilities I will assume as director of the Legislative Research Commissions, and I look forward to building on the strengths inherent in LRC’s nonpartisan staff structure,” Hartz said.
Hartz replaces David Byerman, whose contract was not renewed last August.
The chiefs of staff of House and Senate Republicans jointly held the position since then, and Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, says they felt it was important to name a permanent replacement.
“An individual who is there on a day-to-day basis that doesn’t have divided duties, can look at and make the assessment and say, ‘this is where we need to go, these are the places we need to work on,’ and I think that became very relevant and very pointed in the discussions we had with the individuals that came in front of us.”
House Speaker David Osborne, R-Prospect, wouldn’t say how many people interviewed for the post, but did state, “There were a number of internal applicants. We opened it up to specifically to internal applications and there a number who applied and were interviewed.”
For the first time, Stivers explained why Byerman’s contract was not renewed. “In our discussions with the numerous people we interviewed was that he didn’t have a good grasp of what internally this institution needed and wanted.”
House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook says they did express concerns to Republican leaders that they were concerned with bringing a partisan staff member in to oversee non-partisan operations of the LRC.
“We’re going to work with the new director,” Adkins said. “But we’re going to be watching. We want to make sure a non-partisan attitude is kept in that office and that the confidence that he wants to build with us, we’ll build with him.”
Stivers says Hartz will have about the same salary as Byerman did, which was $145,000 per year.
Hartz begins his new job June 1.