Nov. 13, 2013 —
“I’m highly upset. Everyone in this county pays these health department taxes. I have a commitment not only to the City of Olive Hill, but to the people of western Carter County to oppose this,” said Fankell.
“I’ve asked the Fiscal Court for a full investigation of the health department budget,” the mayor added.
Citizens on the western side of the county also were taken aback by the news. The public response to the board’s decision has been overwhelmingly critical.
“They really need to re-think this. Olive Hill has had enough economic downfalls. A lot of people can’t afford to drive all the way to Grayson for health care, not to mention the people who work in that office who will be laid off,” said John Steagall, owner of John’s Garage in Olive Hill and an officer of the Chamber of Commerce.
Another component of this issue that has sparked much debate is that it seems very few persons were aware of Monday night’s special meeting or that closing the Olive Hill branch was being considered at all.
Thornberry confirmed Wednesday that notices regarding the special meeting had not been sent to the news media.
“The meeting was called on such short notice that the information was posted on a bulletin board here,” said Thornberry.
Kentucky Open Meetings Law requires that news outlets be notified at least 24 hours in advance of meetings conducted by a public agency.
The Little Sandy District Health Department is a public agency because of its taxing authority.
In Thornberry's response letter to County Attorney Patrick Flannery regarding this issue, she draws reference to a clause in KRS 61.823, which states that media organizations must submit a request for notification in writing.
Thornberry goes on to say, “As of the date of this writing, we have not received any written requests of any media organization wanting that notice; therefore we deny any wrong doing in violating any Open Meeting Law.”