Report: Fired Kentucky juvenile justice commissioner remains employed

Published 12:26 pm Thursday, May 6, 2021

LaShana M. Harris remains employed more than six weeks after the Beshear administration acknowledged she was fired as Kentucky’s juvenile justice commissioner following an investigation of alleged harassment and bullying, a newspaper reported.

In an email this week, Justice and Public Safety Cabinet spokeswoman Morgan Hall said Harris “is currently employed” by the cabinet, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported. The cabinet didn’t say much beyond that and had no immediate response when asked if Harris is on paid leave.

Harris contends the dismissal action against her should not be imposed or should be modified. She claims the Personnel Cabinet investigation of her job performance was incomplete, biased and compromised, and that some staffers resented her because she is a strong leader who is a Black woman. Harris’ lawyer, Paul Fauri, declined to comment Wednesday.

“I’m very puzzled about all of this. What’s going on?” said state Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield. “Either she is fit to hold the job or not. She certainly is entitled to an appeal but I am confused about why they are dragging this out.”

Westerfield said he’s concerned about juvenile justice department operations “during all this.” It provides services to sentenced, committed, probated and detained youth and their families.