• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Here's Johnny

New year, new court and councils Even before the first meetings of Woodford Fiscal Court and the two city councils in 2019, several plots, subplots and perhaps some plain old plotting were apparent. Here are a few thoughts of yours truly on those matters and a bit of semi-idle, semi-informed speculation … Fiscal Court New Judge-Executive James Kay should have at least one steadfast ally among the eight magistrates on Woodford Fiscal Court: William Downey, a fellow Democrat who, perhaps more important, has another link with Kay – he’s married to Kay’s sister, Emily. The Downeys and Kays each have two young children, and will no doubt be trading thoughts on important county matters and parenting tips. “What should we do about our aging detention center?” “I dunno. Hey, how do you get yours to sleep through the night?” Kay, a former state representative holding his first executive office, may need all the help he can get the next four years. While the court is still composed of six Democrats and two Republicans and has a history of mostly nonpartisan behavior, it’s yet to be determined how the old guard will accept the young judge-executive. Also, the five new members are wild cards, perhaps especially so Republican Matthew Merrill (Dist. 3) and Democrat Liles Taylor (Dist. 1). Here’s hoping they’ll get along mostly swimmingly, with a few shots across the bow along the way to keep me awake and Dear Readers reading. As for that talk about Kay wanting to be governor one day, well, who’s to say that Downey wouldn’t be a fine running mate? To save taxpayer dollars, the Kay-Downey extended family could even live together in the governor’s mansion (though Gov. Matt Bevin chose to move his large brood to Louisville). “Eight is enough” is a silly campaign slogan, however, and I’m guessing if and when the Kay-Downey ticket goes for the top job, there might be more than eight members. Midway City Council Mayor Grayson Vandegrift begins his second term with a half-new city council. Logan Nance, John Holloway and Stacy Thurman are first-time office holders, though Holloway has years of experience working with the council on matters involving Walter Bradley Jr. Park. (Speaking of which, Holloway said he struck a good deal at the Addie’s “garage sale” Sunday on a sound system that might be used at the park.) But I digress. The Midway City Council, like the one in Versailles, is a nonpartisan body. In fact, I have no idea which party any of the Midway council members belong to. However, in the last year or so, a few of the incumbent council members bridled – privately – at what they perceived to be Vandegrift’s increasingly aggressive style. Asked about the complaints, Vandegrift responded, “It’s funny, because I’ve never been accused of being aggressive, but my old basketball coach may finally be satisfied.” As for me, I went into Monday’s meeting wondering whom I’d be sitting next to. Turns out it’ll still be Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher, who trades funny notes from time to time, and the more serious, “Quit yawning! You’re making me tired!” Versailles City Council Just two of the six members of the Versailles City Council are newbies, but they aren’t your typical freshmen. Fred Siegelman, the former owner of Little Caesar’s, was mayor until resigning in 2013, and Gary Jones is the co-owner of the Versailles Brewing Company. Each brought that food service experience to last week’s discussion about whether such employees should have to be vaccinated for Hepatitis A. Traugott opened that meeting by joking that if anyone (“anyone” meaning the only former mayor of Versailles on the council) said, “When I was mayor, we did it this way,” he’d feed them his gavel. It got a good laugh, like many of Traugott’s council remarks. However, the fact remains that Siegelman was mayor for 14 years, and if a bloc emerges to oppose Traugott on important matters, he could be a worthy foe, and might have the quite willing assistance of Council Member Laura Dake. Last August, Dake criticized the council for an alleged lack of transparency and the operations of the Downtown Pavilion Committee. At the last meeting of last year, Traugott folded the Dake-chaired Downtown Planning Advisory Committee composed of council members and citizens and created a new Communications/Tourism/Downtown Committee. (Dake now chairs the Streets, Stormwater and Cemetery Committee.) At the Jan. 2 council meeting, hers was the only no vote against the confirmation of City Attorney Bill Moore. These things, and many less nebulous, bear watching. So I reckon I’ll stick around awhile and do that. And yawn less.


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