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From the KDP: Quarles Calls Kentuckians Lazy While His Staff Doesn’t Show For State Jobs: Clint Quarles asked for time off for hangover: missed year and a half of work

Berry Craig
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"It is time to stop paying people to sit at home and watch Netflix. We've got to get people back into the workforce.” – Ryan Quarles, Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce on Nov. 1, 2022


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Nov. 21, 2022) – Time and time again, Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles has traveled the Commonwealth, criticizing the work ethic of Kentuckians. “It is time to stop paying people to sit at home and watch Netflix,” Quarles has said. 

If Quarles truly believes that, then it’s time he take action and clean house in his own office. 

Quarles’s General Counsel Joe Bilby and his brother, staff attorney Clint Quarles, miss more work than they actually do. It’s time Quarles holds them accountable and cleans house for not showing up for their taxpayer-funded jobs.

In sharp contrast to the favoritism and indefensible exceptions made for Clint Quarles and Joe Bilby, Quarles’s department paid out $60,000 to a female attorney in 2021 after refusing to meet requested accommodations for a diagnosed health condition.

“Ryan Quarles bashes Kentuckians for being lazy and not wanting to work, but even worse than his low opinion of Kentucky workers is his hypocrisy. Ryan’s brother and his political appointee refuse to show up for their work despite being on the public payroll,” said Kentucky Democratic Party Chair Colmon Elridge. “Ryan should get his own mismanaged and incompetent department in order before he attacks Kentuckians. Most Kentuckians don’t get to skip work for hangovers, outside work or to campaign because they work for their brother or friend.”

“If Ryan can’t manage the department of agriculture and get this staff to even show up, what makes him think he can be governor? Kentuckians deserve better and so do other state employees who show up every day and do their work.”

Bilby, who worked for Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin prior to joining Quarles, receives $124,200 a year as general counsel for the Department of Agriculture. Clint Quarles, as a staff attorney, is paid $63,425. Clint Quarles also receives $24,000 to serve as part-time faculty at the University of Kentucky. 

Bilby stayed on the payroll while running to be a judge in Franklin Circuit Court and operates his own law firm in Frankfort. 

Bilby, who was obliterated in a race in which he tried to politicize the nonpartisan judicial seat, did not work a full week at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture in more than a year as he campaigned for Franklin Circuit Court. His last full week, according to public records, was in September 2021. Bilby did not work a full day in the final weeks of his losing campaign. 

Clint Quarles essentially missed almost a year and a half of work, or about 22% of work time, in the six years his brother has been his boss. He missed 2,739 hours (365 days) of work from Jan. 1, 2016, to June 30, 2022. During that period there were about 12,440 hours of work.

Clint Quarles wrote in an October 2015 email about the upcoming November 2015 election “May I take leave the 3rd and ask off the following day to nurse my hangover.”

The time off for Clint Quarles includes October 2021 when he took off in part because, he wrote in an email, “my tailor lost my suits.” 

The absence of the general counsel, with him focused more on politics than the people of Kentucky, and a staff attorney would explain the repeated open records violations in the office, other mismanagement and Bilby with his carelessness releasing sensitive information including the ag department chief of staff’s social security number and other personal information in an open records request without redacting it.