Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)

December 5, 2012

Sparks resigns; Olive Hill Council names Kenny Fankell new mayor

By Leeann Akers - Managing Editor

Dec. 5, 2012 —     Olive Hill City Council held a special meeting Tuesday night to accept the resignation of Danny Sparks, who was serving his third term.

    Sparks was arrested Wednesday by officers with the FIVCO Area Drug Enforcement Task Force (FADE) after a weeks-long investigation. He was charged with marijuana trafficking within 1,000 feet of a school, a felony, after having been detained near Olive Hill Elementary.

    FADE officers also found an open container of alcohol in Sparks' vehicle, which is a violation.

    As he was escorted to the Olive Hill police station to be interviewed, Sparks said the arrest was "a big mistake" when asked for comment. He later submitted a written letter of resignation from his mayor’s post.

    Sparks was detained with another man, who refused to give his name to media at the scene. FADE officers confirmed the two men had a personal relationship, but declined to elaborate.

    In the mayor’s absence Thursday, the Council voted for Councilman Kenny Fankell to preside at a special meeting, which addressed the second reading of the property tax ordinance.

    The rate will stay the same as the 2012 rate of .1941 per hundred dollars. The ordinance was the only item listed on the agenda that was distributed to the media on Wednesday afternoon. The meeting concluded swiftly and members declined to comment.  

    City Clerk Cheri James told the Journal-Times on Friday that the Council didn’t plan to do anything until its legal counsel, George Hogg, returned from vacation.

    Sparks had submitted a letter of resignation following his arrest. However, although copies of the letter were circulating in Olive Hill, the location of the original document is unknown.  

    The document was presented to the Council before the meeting, but not read aloud. A copy of Tuesday's resignation letter was obtained by the Journal-Times, and differed from the first. In it, Sparks said:

    “Due to present circumstances, I feel it is in the best interest of the City of Olive Hill, City Council Members, my friends and most of all my family that I tender my reignation at this time. The  resignation to be effective upon acceptance by Council or at the time of its next meeting.”

    Council voted unanimously to accept Sparks’ resignation and then appointed Fankell to serve as mayor for the remaining two years of Sparks’ term.    

    “The first thing I plan to do is sit down with all the department heads after the first of the year and closely look at the budget,” Fankell said.

    No appointment was made to fill Fankell’s Council seat for the balance of his current term and for the new one starting Jan. 1.

    Sparks will appear in Carter District Court for arraignment on Monday, Dec. 10, at 9 a.m.

    Leeann Akers can be reached at or by phone at 474-5101.