FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - Kentucky's outgoing lieutenant governor has sued Gov. Matt Bevin in an effort to win reinstatement of her two staff members who were dismissed by Bevin's administration.
Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton - who was dropped from Bevin's reelection ticket this year - filed the lawsuit Thursday in a state court. The legal action ramps up a feud between Hampton and Bevin's administration over the removal her two key staff members this year.
The suit claims the lieutenant governor has the authority to hire and fire her staff. A hearing is set for next week in the case.
The suit names Bevin and the state Personnel Cabinet as defendants.
Sister station WKYT reports Hampton's original chief of staff was fired in January, just after he filed to run for secretary of state. Then in May, her deputy chief of staff was dismissed.
Josh Harp, Hampton's attorney, said he hopes this lawsuit will get Hampton's employees rehired and make it so they cannot be fired again.
The governor's communications director said it is "inappropriate for a lawsuit to be filed before the board issues its decision."
Governor Bevin called the lawsuit a non-issue and said he did not have anything to do with personnel decisions when it comes to people he did not appoint. He also said he still has a good relationship with Hampton.
"Needless to say we have a difference of perspective on certain things, but I think the world of her personally. She's a friend. She's somebody that I have tremendous respect for," said Bevin. "In her tenure, there's another two and a half months worth of time that she has the ability to do things for people of Kentucky, and what she chooses to do is her prerogative."
Bevin is facing a tough reelection campaign this year against Democrat Andy Beshear.