First-term magistrate resigns

Published 3:53 pm Thursday, December 1, 2016

A conflict in state retirement programs forced first-term magistrate Matt Brinegar to resign from the Clark County Fiscal Court this week.

Brinegar, a career firefighter with Winchester Fire-EMS, retired this week as well.

Brinegar said he investigated the situation when he filed to run for the office in 2014 and was told his fire department retirement would not be a problem if he opted into the fiscal court retirement. As his retirement neared, he said he was told differently and would have to step down from the Fiscal Court.

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“I checked on every way to be able to retire from the fire department and not resign from the fiscal court, but there was no other way to do it,” Brinegar said. “Two years ago when I was elected magistrate, they asked me if I wanted to opt-in to the insurance.”

Brinegar said he spoke with the state retirement board, which gave its approval, but he said he didn’t get it in writing.

“I really am sorry this happened,” he said. “(Retirement) is something I’ve looked forward to for 20 years.”

Brinegar submitted his letter of resignation to Gov. Matt Bevin’s office on Tuesday. According to state law, the governor is responsible for appointing a magistrate to fill the remaining two years of Brinegar’s term.

Brinegar served as chairman for the fiscal court’s pay grade and classification committee, which has been developing a plan to develop salary schedules for all county employees.

“My main thing was to try and take care of the employees,” Brinegar said. “If we don’t have good employees, you don’t have good county government.”

Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham said Brinegar has been an excellent magistrate.

“He’s not a very boisterous personality, but he has ideas he brings forth,” Branham said. “In his quiet way, he goes about his business advocating for his district and the citizens of Clark County.”

Brinegar was one of five first-time magistrates elected to the fiscal court in 2014. In divisive votes, Brinegar often voted with Branham and magistrate Sheila McCord in the minority.

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About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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