Rep. Kirby resigns in light of probe

A committee investigating a wrongful termination settlement recommended the expulsion of Rep. Dan Kirby and the embattled lawmaker announced Saturday he would resign.

His resignation will be March 1. Gov. Mary Fallin is expected to call for a special election for a replacement. The 2017 session began Monday.

The committee also recommended that  Rep. Will Fourkiller attend sensitivity training and be prohibited from contact with the House Page Program for a year.

Kirby is a Republican from Tulsa and Fourkiller is a Democrat from Stilwell.

The committee recommended that Kirby be expelled, that he lose his committee chairmanship, that he lose his committee appointments, that all bills he has authored be removed from consideration and “loss of privileges to a legislative assistant.”

It recommended that Fourkiller attend one-on-one sensitivity training on appropriate workplace conduct and be prohibited from contact with the House Page Program  for one year (though Fourkiller will still be allowed to host student pages from his district in his Capitol office.)

The committee met for almost a month to investigate the circumstances that lead to the wrongful termination settlement agreement paid to a former employee in November out of House funds. That employee had charged Kirby with sexual harassment.

Fourkiller was called off the House floor in 2015 and summoned to the Speaker’s Office where he was charged with making a House Page “feel uncomfortable.”

“This has been a difficult process, and I am thankful for the members of the Committee who participated and meticulously investigated this matter,” said Committee Chairman Josh Cockroft, R-Wanette. “This was a bipartisan effort, and every member who participated took this matter seriously and received all of the evidence with an open mind. It was a fair and thorough investigation, and the members of the Committee believe our recommendations are appropriate.”

The committee found that the House has the legal authority – and acted upon that authority – to spend operational funds to settle the wrongful termination claim brought by a former employee. Speaker McCall created the bipartisan House Expenditure Oversight Committee and authorizing it to review all extraordinary expenditures that exceed $15,000.