FRANKFORT -- A fired aide to Kentucky's lieutenant governor asked the state's personnel board on Friday to reverse her dismissal, which deepened an election-year rift between Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton and Gov. Matt Bevin's administration over Hampton's depleted staff.

In her appeal, Adrienne Southworth is seeking reinstatement as Hampton's deputy chief of staff with back pay and benefits.

Southworth's appeal claims that Bevin's staff lacked legal authority to fire an aide to the lieutenant governor. The reasons given for her dismissal were "factually inaccurate," she said.

Neither Hampton nor Bevin's office immediately responded to emails seeking comment.

Bevin dropped Hampton from his ticket in January as the Republican governor launched his reelection campaign. Southworth's dismissal intensified Hampton's fight with Bevin's administration over staffing reductions in her office.

Hampton has signaled she intends to defy the dismissal, saying Southworth will continue to assist her, tracking her time until she's officially reinstated so she can receive back pay.

In her appeal to the Kentucky Personnel Board, Southworth said the lieutenant governor has the role as "appointing authority -- or agency head -- for the lieutenant governor's office.

Hampton never designated her "appointing authority" to anyone else, making Southworth's dismissal "void and unenforceable," the appeal said.

The next step in the appeals process will be to schedule a prehearing conference before a hearing officer, said Mark A. Sipek, the personnel board's executive director.

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