Deputy Judge Executive Appointed
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Everyone attending this morning's fiscal court meeting in Edmonson County was asked to exercise social distancing in the courtroom today, staying six feet apart as only a few items of business were discussed.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon noted that state law requires each fiscal court meeting to remain open to the public, although the courthouse is currently closed to the public. A courthouse security officer allowed the handful of people not required to attend into the meeting today.
Only three magistrates were present today as a result of COVID-19 precautions, which were James Vincent, Johnny Brooks, and Mark Meeks. Absent were Edd Rich, and Corey VanMeter and District 3 Magistrate Clark Wood passed away last week after a lengthy illness.
Judge Executive Wil Cannon appointed a Deputy Judge Executive at today's meeting, which was local resident Scott Lindsey. Cannon said the appointment comes after realizing there needs to be a backup plan in the event he was unable to serve as Judge Executive for any reason.
"You never know what may happen to a person," said Cannon. "Whether it's a car wreck, some other sort of accident, or an illness like coronavirus, the government has advised us to utilize backup plans and that's why I feel it's necessary to do this."
Cannon asked Lindsey to address the fiscal court. Lindsey introduced himself and his wife Teresa, and thanked the Judge Executive for the opportunity. He is currently employed at Genesis Healthcare, Edmonson Center as an admissions director and he discussed the possibility of serving as Judge Executive in the event he was needed to do so. "Hopefully it will never happen, but if it does, I appreciate your confidence," he said.
Lindsey will receive no pay unless he actually has to serve as the county's Judge Executive, which would be a salary agreed upon by fiscal court.
Some county offices gave their periodic reports to the court.
Road Report: County Road Supervisor Greg Carroll discussed recent flooding and said several roads closed and bridges had been closed and that tiles had been both washed out and stopped up. He said there are currently 15 tiles to be replaced over the county with more to come. He also reported $342K of emergency flooding FEMA money has been received for these and other repairs. He advised magistrates that paving would begin soon and also reported that insurance will cover $25K of the county's burned tractor.
Emergency Management Director Terry Massey reported on some emergency runs that responders had recently made and discussed coronavirus. He said his office had received some emergency equipment for local responders that included face masks, gloves, and other similar supplies. He also noted that local Emergency Management had supplied local medical facilities and county offices with masks and will be doing the same for local pharmacies later today for their staff usage.
Sheriff’s Report: Shane Doyle discussed the recent changes to his office and how their response has been adjusted during the coronavirus pandemic. He mentioned the recent video he released where he explained the current local COVID-19 measures and what they mean.
Jailer Report: Deputy Jailer Todd Vincent reported 15 county inmates currently housed at Hart County Jail.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander discussed March being their busiest time of year and due to his office closing to the public, they were handling lots of recent phone calls. He said they are now ready for online renewals. He noted the tremendous amount of mail received and that they are trying to work with the public the best they can. He also announced that Kentucky's primary election in May has been postponed until June 23rd.
Parks and Rec Director A.B. Webb said that youth baseball/softball teams are picked, but there was no word when the league would actually be able to continue. Judge Cannon discussed not closing the entire county park system because of the available open spaces, but asked Webb to close all public basketball courts.
The court also agreed to the purchase of an excavator for the road department in the amount of $28,500. The purpose is to replace the county's older backhoe that Greg Carroll said was past the point of repair and maintenance. He noted that the current FEMA money received by the county can be used for equipment as well.
The county received one bid for the tractor replacement in the amount of $44,800. That bid was accepted by the fiscal court.
Judge Cannon discussed the recent passing of Magistrate Clark Wood.
"We'll miss Clark. I hate not seeing him here," he said. He discussed the vacancy of the magisterial office and said that while other county offices can be appointed by the Judge Executive, state law required a replacement for magistrate to be appointed by the governor, only. He said that the governor will make that appointment according to his schedule and discretion. With the current coronavirus pandemic, there is no estimate on when that could be.
The next fiscal court meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 13th at 9am. After the meeting adjourned, he told the Edmonson Voice that he is strongly urging anyone that doesn't have to attend the meeting to avoid it.
"We are trying to practice social distancing. Even though these meetings are open to the public, we are asking everyone to stay clear of the courthouse," he said.
County reports are useful to the court and the public, but they can always be submitted through email or by letter, and they aren't required by law at fiscal court meetings.
County Attorney Greg Vincent told the Edmonson Voice that there are only a few people that are really required to attend, which include magistrates, the Judge Executive, County Attorney, Clerk, and Sheriff. He said that media is expected but certainly not required.
County Clerk Kevin Alexander said minutes from the meetings are available through open records requests and can be emailed from his office once they become available.