The governor’s office has announced that Adam Edelen, who has served as Gov. Steve Beshear’s chief of staff since July 2008, is stepping down to return to the private sector as speculation grows that he is planning to run for state auditor next year.
“As my chief of staff, Adam continually demonstrated strong leadership skills and a passion for Kentucky,” Gov. Beshear said in a news release. “I can’t say enough about the role this young man played in making my administration both more efficient and effective. His service has made a positive difference in the lives of those my administration seeks to serve —the people of Kentucky.”
The administration wouldn’t comment on why Edelen is stepping down specifically, but he is considered a valued member of the governor’s team. The resignation is effective September 15.
The governor’s office has selected Mike Haydon, currently Beshear’s chief legislative liaison, to become the new chief of staff effective September 16.
The change comes over a year and a half after the chairman of the Republican Party of Kentucky called for Edelen’s resignation and for Attorney General Jack Conway to investigate his activities in the governor’s office, citing a conflict of interest.
In January 2009, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Edelen friend and business partner Ralph Coldiron complained about his financial situation to Edelen in e-mails. It was later discovered that Beshear gave Coldiron a job in the Kentucky Office of Homeland Security and raised the pay from $80,000 to $100,000 even though state law prohibited him from doing so.
The newspaper also found out that Edelen was business partners in a land-development company with lobbyist Bob Babbage. The Herald-Leader reported Babbage had failed to disclose his business ties to the governor’s chief of staff in a mandatory financial disclosure form. Edelen and Babbage dissolved that partnership soon after the Herald-Leader story ran.