• John McGary, Woodford Sun News Editor

Kay presides over first court meeting

Tuesday’s Woodford Fiscal Court meeting, the first presided over by new Judge-Executive James Kay, consisted mostly of bookkeeping and organizational measures – and was the first live-streamed on Facebook.

It was also the first meeting for five new magistrates: Liles Taylor (Dist. 1), Matthew Merrill (Dist. 3), Kelly Carl (Dist. 4), William Downey (Dist. 5) and Larry Blackford (Dist. 6). Merrill joins Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7) as the second Republican on the court.

For department heads and others, it was an opportunity to introduce themselves to the new court – and let them know that all was well in their department. At the end of the meeting, Kay announced that he had formed a task force on opiates, to be chaired by Blackford, whose son died of a drug overdose, and including representatives from the police, sheriff and health departments, the Woodford County Detention Center and others.

Blackford also delivered the invocation to begin the meeting – a new touch by Kay. After the pledge of allegiance, several appointments and resolutions was unanimously approved:

A letter of intent from County Clerk Sandy Jones turning down the state-mandated opportunity to also serve as fiscal court clerk.

Afterwards, present court clerk Melody Traugott’s reappointment was confirmed, as was the reappointment of all county employees at their present salaries.

The 2019 holiday list, including one added by the late Judge-Executive John Coyle for employee birthdays. Along with the typical holidays, county workers will be able to take off the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. Later in the meeting, County

Attorney Alan George humorously noted that it was his idea to let workers off on their birthdays.

Fiscal Court meetings will continue to take place the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month, begin at 5:30 p.m., and run under the parliamentary procedures of Robert’s Rules of Order.

The county’s budget for fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30 of that year, was accepted. It had been prepared by a Louisville accounting firm and reviewed by the state Finance and Administration Cabinet.

Kay’s nominations of David Prewitt for a four-year term on the Board of Adjustment, Justin Carroll and David Price to the Extension District Board for three-year appointments, and Debra Shockley for a two-year term on the Board of Architectural Review.


Budgets for the county clerk, the sheriff’s office and the maximum pay for the deputies and assistants in those departments will be taken up at a pre-court meeting on Jan. 22. Kay said he had permission from the state Department of Local Government to set aside the Jan. 15 deadline and that he believed the new court needed time to properly review them. Kay also said those matters would have been easier to take care of had Gov. Matt Bevin appointed him before his term began, as George had requested. Bevin never responded to George’s letter sent three days after Coyle’s Nov. 25 death, nor did he make an interim appointment as required by state law.

Emergency management

Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler said the county’s insurer, the Kentucky Association of Counties, will pay for a new back-up generator for the Emergency Operations Center and Big Sink ambulance station, less a $500 deductible. A low bid of $46,935.95 by Glenwood Electric, Inc., of Walton, was unanimously approved, with Gill abstaining because it’s her brother’s company. Referring to earlier questions from magistrates about Glenwood Electric, Kay joked, “There’s your reference.”

Detention Center

During Jailer Michele Rankin’s turn before the court, Carl asked her how many inmates were presently in the Woodford Detention Center. Rankin said there were 130, 32 of whom are working in various public service jobs around the county. Nearly two-thirds of them are from other areas, she said, which is a plus for the jail’s balance sheet.

Huntertown Road sidewalk

Gill told the court that the final right of way for the long-anticipated Huntertown Road sidewalk, a project she’s spearheaded, was obtained earlier in the day.


The court unanimously approved paying $390 for a year of firewall protection for county offices from Customware, Inc. of Frankfort.


At the end of the meeting, when magistrates issued closing remarks, Merrill, a teacher at Woodford County High School, thanked his new colleagues and others. He said he’d worked with some of them before as a teacher and that it was nice to work with them “adult to adult.” Merrill then said, “So thank you judge.”

Kay, who graduated from WCHS, responded, “Thank you Mr. Merrill,” and attendees, many of whom had not known that Kay was a history student of Merrill’s, had another chuckle.


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