LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP/WKYT) - A western Kentucky dermatologist who was selected to replace a state pension board's chairman has declined Gov. Matt Bevin's appointment.
William Smith of Madisonville informed the governor in a letter that after careful consideration he decided to respectfully decline the appointment.
The recent appointment prompted the Kentucky Retirement System's board of trustees to seek a state attorney general's opinion on the appointment.
Attorney General Andy Beshear's office replied this week with an opinion stating that the governor isn't allowed to remove a board member whose term hasn't expired. The opinion also said Smith didn't qualify as an investment or financial professional as the law requires.
The governor's office says the opinion is inconsistent with court rulings and stood by Smith's qualifications to serve on the board.
Jim Carroll, co-founder of Kentucky Government Retirees, applauded Smith's decision to "step down as a trustee for Kentucky Retirement Systems."
"We believe he clearly made the right decision," he said. "We hope Gov. Bevin will take this opportunity to rescind his action to remove a sitting Kentucky Retirement Systems trustee without cause."
Carroll said Bevin has made two strong appointments to the board -- David Eager and John Farris -- and he will have the opportunity to make three appointments in 2017.
"We hope he recognizes that KRS needs stability to help address the enormous challenges facing it, and that pursuing this matter in the courts would be counterproductive," he said.