FRANKFORT — After former first lady Jane Beshear decried her removal from the Kentucky Horse Park Commission as an escalation in the feud between ex-Gov. Steve Beshear and first-year Gov. Matt Bevin, the current governor says it’s time for his predecessor to move on.
Bevin abolished and then re-organized the Kentucky Horse Park Commission, shrinking its size from 17 members to 15. Five members were reappointed, and all but two spots on the commission were filled.
Jane Beshear was among those eliminated from the panel, and she told The Courier-Journal on Tuesday that she was “disappointed, but not surprised” at the move and speculated that her removal came because Bevin “has not looked upon the Beshear administration favorably and that includes everything that my husband did.”
Bevin, however, said that’s not the case.
“At some point I think the Beshears will realize they’re no longer in charge,” Bevin told Pure Politics on Wednesday.
“They seem hung up on the idea of staying around. She’s one of a dozen people that’s no longer on that board. For her to think it’s all about her, it sort of says a lot, I think.”
Beshear’s son, Attorney General Andy Beshear, issued an opinion in March that Bevin could not remove members of the park’s board during their terms. The commission is slated to meet 10 a.m. Thursday.
Beshear also issued an opinion May 17 that Bevin erred in booting former Kentucky Retirement Systems Trustee Thomas Elliott from that agency’s board before his term expired, which sparked some contention at the KRS board’s meeting last week.
Elliott said Kentucky State Police arrived to arrest him if he participated in the meeting, but Bevin’s office said that the ousted board chairman was reminded of the executive order removing him from the panel and that he would have been disrupting a public meeting, a Class B misdemeanor.
The KRS board is expected to meet next month to discuss legal options, but Bevin sounded unconcerned when asked about possible legal action taken regarding Elliott’s removal.
“The bottom line is everything I’m doing I have the authority to do,” Bevin said. “I’m going to keep doing it because I was elected to clean this state up. Many of these things are an absolute mess. The Kentucky Retirement System is a perfect example. The lack of transparency, the ineptitude, the poor performance and the hiding of what’s been going on, the collusion between people who, frankly, really don’t have any business being in charge of that system is remarkable to me.”
“We have every legal authority to do this,” he added.