Fiscal Court tables road crew hire, standards

Published 11:28 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

A potential hire for the Clark County Road Department remains just that, after the Fiscal Court voted to table a vote on relaxing the job requirements for some positions.

The Clark County Fiscal Court had discussed removing the requirement of high school diploma or GED for some county position as a way to fill vacancies, but took no action. The road department committee discussed it as well, but had not made a recommendation to the Fiscal Court.

Wednesday, Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham proposed a first reading of an ordinance to relax the requirements in favor of an experienced candidate.

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“We think this would help us recruit employees to the Clark County Road Department for public service,” Branham said. “We’ve had a terrible time recruiting employees and hiring employees to operate the equipment.”

Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos, who serves on the road department committee, said procedure would not allow the Court to vote without a recommendation from the committee.

“There was not much discussion, but there were concerns,” Konstantopoulos said. “The committee hasn’t made a recommendation.”

“I think you’re wrong,” Branham said. “I don’t think we have to take committee recommendations.”

County Attorney Brian Thomas, reading from Roberts Rules, said matters could be taken from the committee with a motion to dissolve the committee in question.

That step never came, though.

“We’re at the 11th hour,” Branham said. “I want this fiscal court to take on the responsibility we were charged with. Snow could move in this weekend.”

Magistrate Robert Blanton said he was concerned about giving prospective employees a year to complete their GED, as well as altering the standards for one position or one hire.

“I don’t disagree with the new policy, but it should go through the committee out of respect,” Magistrate Joe Graham said. “I’d like to give them a chance to work it out.”

The court ultimately voted 4-2 to table the matter until the Dec. 28 meeting. Branham and Magistrate Pam Blackburn, who also serves on the road department committee, voted no. A special meeting of the road department committee is a possibility.

The road department presently has seven employees with one off for a medical issue. Branham said Road Department Supervisor Kevin Wilson told him he’d like at least 11 employees on hand to deal with snow.

After the meeting, Branham said he was feeling a sense of urgency to hire operators for the road department with snow forecast for the weekend and possible changes in how the state will clear rural secondary roads of snow.

Branham said there is a possibility the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet may clear rural roads less often when it snows, going from every eight hours to every 16. KYTC Director of Maintenance John Wilcoxson was quoted on local television saying it would be more efficient to shift plowing to daylight hours.

The change would only apply to “C” roads, which in Clark County would include road like White-Conkwright, Flanagan Station, Combs Ferry, Kiddville, Schollsville, Wades Mill, L&E Junction and Ford roads, Branham said.

Whether the county road department could clear those roads will be investigated, he said.

Still, there may not be enough employees at the county road department to take on that work.

In other action Wednesday, the Court:

— approved the budget, monthly advance, maximum salaries and special bond for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office for 2017. Sheriff Berl Perdue Jr. said the budget increased 3 percent to include some raises and new computers for all cruisers.

— approved the maximum salaries and budget for the Clark County Clerk’s office for 2017. County Clerk Michelle Turner said her budget was essentially the same as 2016.

— hired a full-time maintenance worker for the Clark County Road Department.

— appointed Pam Reffitt and reappointed Randy Todd to the Clark County Extension Board for three-year terms.

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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