Fairness forum, hearing scheduled by court
Woodford Fiscal Court voted 8 to 0 Tuesday, Nov. 26, to hold a public forum and a “committee of the whole” meeting of the court to discuss a Fairness Ordinance proposed by Magistrate Liles Taylor (Dist. 1). The public forum will take place today, Thursday, Dec. 5, at 5 p.m. in the third-floor circuit courtroom and the committee of the whole meeting Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. in the fiscal courtroom before the court’s regular meeting. The motion was recommended by Judge-Executive James Kay, who read from prepared remarks about what he called “civil rights legislation” before the vote. “We were elected to make tough decisions before and on behalf of this community. We’re also elected on being transparent, open and honest with the people of Woodford County …” Kay said. Kay said he discussed the matter with County Attorney Alan George and that “the best course of action was to proceed with full community input.” The Dec. 10 meeting will serve as a committee hearing and could pave the way for the measure to receive a first reading that evening, Kay said. The measure is modeled after one passed Oct. 1 by the Versailles City Council and is designed to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the areas of housing, employment and public accommodations. It would be administered by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission. “Are we going to have ample opportunity to discuss the actual ordinance … at the meeting that you scheduled for the fiscal court before the next fiscal court meeting?” asked Magistrate Mary Ann Gill (Dist. 7). “I do have a lot of questions about the ordinance itself, but I think it would be better, in the name of transparency, to have that done in an open meeting.” Kay responded both meetings were open to the public, but said he’d consider other options. None were offered. Gill asked George, “In your 38 years (as assistant county attorney and county attorney), have we used this process with other ordinances in this manner?” Kay said he could answer that question, and the committee of the whole meeting he recommended was also used when the court considers the proposed budget. George said Kay’s proposal was consistent with the court’s past actions, in part because a first reading wasn’t scheduled that evening. Taylor’s motion that George prepare the ordinance for a possible first reading Dec. 10 passed unanimously, as did another to amend the interlocal agreement between the county and two cities to include gender orientation and sexual identity in the list of protected classes. (The two city councils would have to agree to the change for it to become effective.) Salute to homemakers Elizabeth Coots with the Woodford County Extension Office spoke briefly at the start of the meeting about the work of the county’s Extension Homemakers. She said the nearly 100 members in six local clubs raised money for college scholarships, the Senior Citizens Center, Secret Santa and other programs. Coots said with an hour of volunteer work in Kentucky worth $21.42, their efforts had saved the county $127,052.73 in fiscal year 2019, to which the room applauded. An oversized (and fictional) check was then presented to Kay. Credit cards for treasurer payments The court unanimously approved a motion allowing the treasurer to accept tax payments via credit card, which Treasurer Sabra Garmon said the sheriff’s office and county clerk’s department already accept. A “convenience fee” will be passed on to the person making the payment, according to Garmon. Election costs The court unanimously voted to approve paying the county clerk’s office $19,500 for the cost of precinct officers for the Nov. 5 election. Poll workers were paid between $205 and $240, depending on their duties and the amount of training they’d had, for the 12-hour-plus shifts. Emergency management Emergency Management Director Drew Chandler told the court a grant request to the state Division of Emergency Management to offset the costs of the county’s mass notification system and a new computer was approved. Appointment Kay’s nomination of Larry Moore to be reappointed to a four-year term on the Northeast Water District Board passed unanimously. Judge-Executive Coyle The meeting began with Kay asking for a moment of silence for his predecessor, the late John Coyle, who passed away a year and a day before the court’s meeting. Kay called him “a dedicated family man, a leader with integrity, an amateur poet and humorist and a lovable and joyful soul.” At the end of the meeting, George, Coyle’s longtime friend and friendly sparring partner, said this time of year may have been Coyle’s favorite. “I miss his company, I miss his counsel. He is omnipresent. I appreciate all he did for me and the county, and … I want his family to know we’ve been thinking about them especially this week,” George said.