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“It never ends well when a supervisor and somebody they supervise end up in a relationship.It could send a message about favoritism, and there could be charges of sexual harassment by the supervisor that could embroil the agency in litigation.” Many legislators, and current and former LRC employees, also said they favor an outright prohibition, or at least clear guidelines, on supervisors and legislators consorting with those who work for the agency.“House leadership took it much more seriously than the Senate leadership did,” Richards said.David Williams, the Senate president at the time and who is now a state circuit court judge, did not respond to several requests for an interview., the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission’s public image was shaped primarily by the sordid antics of Kent Downey, whose day job there often overlapped with his sideline business promoting golf trips with scantily clad hostesses offering sex for money.Downey, who was director of House operations prior to being fired in 1996, sometimes drank and caroused at work.
Colleagues further allege that Ratliff has spoken openly in the office about their relationship, and that the pair once briefly borrowed the Frankfort home of another LRC staffer.
“There is a differential in power,” said state Rep. “Legislators do have power over LRC staff.” Some, including Sherman and state Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, think such relationships do not warrant regulation because they are no one else’s business as long as they involve consenting adults and do not disrupt the workplace.
However, the authors of the anonymous letter claimed that the relationship between Sherman and Ratliff bred favoritism, and that she used her connection with him to “influence management, personnel and policy decisions.” The letter stated: “Employees are hired, promoted and given job assignments and salary increases based on whether or not the employee” is in her favor.
The authors requested assistance in “rectifying a situation that is a source of harassment, hostility and bias in our work environment.” The letter said anonymity was necessary “due to risk of retaliation and reprisal.” “It is widely understood by employees of the agency that because of her influence with the director, she can make any other employee’s life at work miserable.
Their relationship affects every function area of the Legislative Research Commission.” In March 2007, two weeks after the letters was sent, the 12 female members of the Kentucky House of Representatives wrote to its leadership, characterizing the letter’s allegations as “serious,” identifying a “potentially explosive situation,” and requesting that it be investigated because of its implications for Sherman “and those he has placed in management positions within” the LRC.
Louisville attorney Thomas Clay, representing two of the woman who filed sexual harassment complaints against Arnold, advised the LRC by letter on Tuesday not to destroy any additional materials.