Saturday, March 1, 2003

'Nothing personal,' senators tell Henry

Proposal would kill lieutenant governor perks

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Elimination of Lt. Gov. Steve Henry's perks was "nothing personal," just a budgetary matter, Senate President David Williams said Friday.

The Senate's version of a budget chopped funding for everything except Henry's $91,000 salary. If it becomes law, gone would be the lieutenant governor's office staff, state car, Kentucky State Police security detail and mansion, which includes a chef and housekeeper. The perks cost about $1.5 million a year.

"I don't think that amount of money is warranted," Williams, a Republican, said at a news conference.

"The lieutenant governor, in this administration, has no function except to be on the death watch. ... He's been given no policy position and no duties by this governor," Williams said.

Henry, a Democrat, would succeed to the governorship if Gov. Paul Patton died or resigned.

"It's nothing personal about him," Williams said. Henry and his wife, former Miss America Heather Renee French Henry, "are very delightful people."

House Speaker Jody Richards said there was "no question that office has too many perks," especially a chef and housekeeper, which amount to "overkill."

Richards, D-Bowling Green, said the General Assembly should assign the lieutenant governor some specific duties. Williams said Senate budget negotiators are willing to discuss restoring some of Henry's staff.

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