October 6, 2022 Blog, In The News, Media, Press Release

Ryan Quarles Pays Top Appointee $124,200 from Taxpayers to Campaign Full Time

Joe Bilby has not worked full week in over a year

Editor’s Note: The KDP will gladly share the public records upon request.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 6, 2022) – Even though one of Ryan Quarles’s top appointees has not worked a full week in more than a year and has not worked a full day in weeks, the agriculture commissioner continues to pay Joe Bilby $124,200 a year in taxpayer funds while he campaigns full time, according to public records.

“Ryan Quarles shouldn’t force taxpayers to pay Joe Bilby $124,000 a year while he campaigns instead of actually working for the people of Kentucky. It’s indefensible and inappropriate,” said KDP Chair Colmon Elridge. “While most Kentuckians have to actually show up and work hard to keep a job, Quarles gives Bilby special treatment to keep his six-figure job without showing up. No one can say they’re fiscally conservative when they pay a political appointee six figures in taxpayer funds to campaign instead of work. Kentuckians should be outraged, and remember at the polls that these men aren’t fit for public office, let alone a promotion.

“Time and time again, Kentucky Republicans have shown that when entrusted with power, they look out for themselves, leaving taxpayers with the bill for their reckless spending, elaborate office space, and partisan power grabs. As we recover from the worst pandemic in over a century, we should expect more from those asking to lead us. Democrats, led by the example of Governor Beshear, are in the fight for the people.”

Quarles, a career politician who is now running for governor despite difficulty running the agriculture department, is paying his general counsel Bilby $124,200 a year in taxpayer funds while Bilby runs to be a circuit court judge in Franklin Circuit and operates his own law firm in Frankfort. In June, Bilby was making $115,000 despite his lack of work.

Quarles allowing this questionable and fiscally irresponsible behavior to continue is in stark contrast to most executive offices – Republican and Democrat – including Gov. Andy Beshear and former governor Matt Bevin who both required political appointees to resign to run for political office. Bevin fired his lieutenant governor’s chief of staff when he announced he was running for secretary of state because of a “policy requiring non-merit employees to resign if they run for elected office.”

Bilby has used all of his leave, but Quarles allows him to keep his job, which is exceedingly rare in state government.

In June, public records showed Bilby had not worked a full week since September 2021. Bilby has still not worked a full week – now making it more than a year. Bilby only worked two full days in April, three in March and five full days in May, when the Kentucky Democratic Party obtained his time sheets through open records requests. Since the initial report on Bilby not working, the general counsel has only worked four full days in July, five in August and none through the first half of September, according to his time sheets.