Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

August 1, 2012

Jail dispute has not been our finest hour


Journal-Times

Aug. 1, 2012 — Sir Winston Churchill was a sterling example of eloquence when he described England’s fight to survive World War II as the nation’s “finest hour”.

That noble description is far removed from what has been happening in Carter County in the controversy over the proposed regional jail authority.

The judge-executive and the three magistrates voting with him to advance the jail proposal have given few, if any, of their reasons for supporting the plan.

The two opposing magistrates have complained about having no credible information on which to base decisions.

The judge-executive has been reluctant, even resistant, to allow public comment, much less debate, on the issue.

In turn, he has reacted in kind to rude comments and disruptive conduct from visitors at the meetings.

Fiscal Court’s jail consultant from Western Kentucky, an experienced corrections professional, has been insulted, accosted and offended by evil things said and written about him.

This soap opera reached a new low last week when someone in the audience called him an SOB and the county jailer publicly referred to those supporting the regional jail as “snakes”.

That certainly made a wonderful impression on the consultant’s sons, ages 6 and 8, who were in the audience.

And why haven’t our jailer and the Boyd jailer admitted that their primary concern is keeping their jobs?

To his credit, the Boyd jailer did acknowledge the consultant had been a good jailer for several terms.

But the worst offender has to be the person who wrote on Facebook that the consultant was lower than pond scum.

Can you imagine how his wife and children felt when they saw that and then their home address on the same site?

So why is it that Carter Countians don’t seem to know how to disagree without being disagreeable?

Why must a public issue turn into a nasty, personal fight?

A longtime resident once said that turning the other cheek in Carter County too often means that you’re actually looking for a bigger club to use to bash your opponent.

In our view, there is enough blame to go around for everyone.

Fiscal Court should have been more open in hiring the consultant and in having public discussion of a regional jail.

On the other hand, citizens opposing the jail project should not have resorted to vicious, personal attacks.

It’s time for adults to get past the name calling and get down to a rational discussion of the issues.

County government is serious business, not a side show.