Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

July 25, 2012

Jail ordinances pass on split vote


Journal-Times

July 25, 2012 — Wednesday’s special meeting of Carter Fiscal Court again was marked by anger and controversy but two ordinances to form a regional jail authority with Boyd County passed on identical votes of 3-2.

Magistrates Clifford Roe, Clarence Fankell and Ronnie Greenhill backed the plan and Magistrates Brandon Burton and Brad Brammel voted in opposition.

“After today, we’ll begin to see the absolute consequences that will come forth from these two ordinances,” said State Rep. Jill York as she addressed the crowded meeting room before the votes took place.

“Right now it feels like a bad idea, it feels like a rush to judgment, it feels like something we can’t afford in the years to come,” York continued.

Emotionally-charged discussion continued from various members of the gallery which had to be relocated from the Court’s regular meeting room to the former circuit courtroom. Speakers invoked impassioned references to the founding fathers, political ethics, and to laws that define the role and function of local governments.

When specifically confronted about Fiscal Court actions that appear to be in conflict with the Constitution, Judge-Executive Charles Wallace simply replied, “I don’t care.”

Vince Lang, executive director of the Kentucky County Judge-Executive Association, was on hand at Wallace’s request.

“Fiscal courts have hard decisions. The input of the public is important. A situation like this is really tough,” said Lang, addressing the heated crowd.

Despite his encouragement of public participation, Lang finally conceded that authority in the statues is given to the Fiscal Court to make decisions regarding jails.

The meeting was immediately adjourned after the votes were cast with no further discussion permitted by Wallace.

Many citizens stayed, however, to show their support of County Jailer R.W. Boggs and other key figures that have led the opposition to the proposed regional jail.

“This is far from over. Carter County is far from lost. I won’t sleep; we’ll continue to fight this thing,” proclaimed Boggs after the meeting.