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New judge restructures county


Independent Photo || HEATHER ONEY
TAKING AN OATH FOR MAGOFFIN COUNTY:  All of the newly-elected officials were sworn in on Friday, January 4. Seen here, Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matthew Wireman, with his family by his side, was sworn in by District Judge Dennis Prater, with Senator Brandon Smith and Representative John Blanton in the audience for Friday's ceremony. 


SALYERSVILLE – In the first meeting of the new Magoffin County Fiscal Court, the judge-executive rolled out his plans for moving forward.

The Magoffin County Fiscal Court met in special session on Monday, January 7, discussing in large part the organizational details of the county. 

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matthew Wireman introduced the fiscal court, made up of newly-elected District 1 Magistrate Darrel Ray Howard, re-elected District 2 Magistrate Pernell “Buck” Lemaster, and newcomer District 3 Magistrate Joe Bailey, as well as Magoffin County Court Clerk Renee Arnett Shepherd, County Attorney Greg Allen and Treasurer Kila Keeton. 

After brief introductions, Wireman said he believes they have a cohesive group, they are going to abide by all law and make sure the fiscal court meets all standards, while everything will be done for the best of Magoffin County. He vowed that all roads will be addressed.

“I only ask for support, confidence and patience,” Wireman said. “Because Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

He also explained that he issued an executive order Sunday night to ensure no gaps in 911 services until they could hold the meeting. According to Kentucky laws, the terms of employment for all county employees end when the outgoing judge-executive ends, so he signed an order to keep the Magoffin County 911 Center operating until county employees could be hired the next day.

Since no one filed for the office of county surveyor, Wireman appointed Kerry Howard to the position (pending all required documentation is turned in). Howard has served as county surveyor previously and reportedly told Wireman he is interested in doing it, again. 

The fiscal court approved the public official bonds for the judge-executive, sheriff’s performance, jailer, constables and county surveyor. 

Treasurer Kila Keeton reported to the court on the current state of the county’s finances, itemizing how much money is in each fund to date and explaining they have spent 64 percent of the budget for the fiscal year. 

Judge Wireman explained that he had asked an independent CPA to determine the balances and review the fiscal court’s current accounting practices and financial statements. Per his request, the court approved to enter into an agreement with White and Associates, CPA.

The court also approved the new Magoffin County Government Organizational Chart, created by Wireman.

He explained that there will be six departments in total: county road maintenance; finance; facilities, parks and recreation; community services and codes enforcement; emergency management; and economic development, tourism and community involvement.

The county road department will be comprised of the county garage and garage workers, with one road supervisor (Daniel “Roho” Risner for a four-year term), one assistant road supervisor (Larry Hall), one administrative clerk, nine full-time and one part-time general highway maintenance equipment operators. The court approved

Wireman’s nomination for the following to be hired in this department: Charlie Brown, William Bailey, Danny Brown, James R. Hall, Charles Howard, Woodrow Howard, Ricky Jordan, Clifford Miller, J.D. Reed, Andy Rowe and Jerry Sanders.

The department of finance will include a finance officer/director of finance (Josie Bailey). He explained the treasurer falls in line with the fiscal court and is not departmentalized.

The department of facilities, parks and recreation will include one director (vacant), one facility maintenance technician (Mark Howard), and three facility custodians (Bessie Brown, Jessica Isaac and Debra Patrick McCarty). He said this department will manage facilities, including custodial services, managing events, etc. He further explained that the position of director of the community center and assistant to that director will no longer exist.

The department of community services and codes enforcement will be comprised of one director (Ashley Salyer), and three county maintenance technicians and equipment operators (Jeffrey Russell, Tristin Risner and Danny Casebolt). That department will cover the occupational taxes, the recycling center, solid waste, alcohol tax, administrative code, flood plain, permits and fees, and the substance abuse policy. He also noted that there will be no solid waste coordinator.

The department of emergency management will have one director (Robert Prater), one 911 supervisor (Scott Jenkins), four full-time dispatchers (Jonnah Collins, Leslee Helton, Veronica Little and Paula Conley) and one part-time dispatcher (Una May Miller), and will include all emergency organizations (the fire departments, rescue squad, ambulance services), FEMA and grants.

The department of economic development, tourism and community involvement will have one director (vacant) to work with federal, state and local officials, businesses, and other organizations regarding economic development, tourism and community involvement. He explained that the position will remain vacant due to lack of funding for it now, but by creating it he hopes to be able to work with the Big Sandy Area Development District to secure grants to have that position established.

Within the salary schedule approved by the court, Wireman created a deputy judge-executive, for 260 days at $43,000 annually, though he noted that position would remain vacant. 

The county road supervisor will pay $42,000, administrative assistant to the road supervisor $39,120, treasurer (with appointment beginning July 1, 2019) will receive $33,280. Directors of finance and community services will also be paid $33,280 annually, and the executive secretary $31,200. Two vacant positions, the directors of parks and recreation and economic development will be determined at a later date once funding is secured.

Wireman also noted that he was creating an administrative assistant position (vacant) for 120 days at $12,000 annually, the 911 supervisor (260 days) will be paid $31,200 annually, and 911 dispatchers $12 per hour. Facilities maintenance technicians will get $14.50 per hour and all facilities custodians, general highway maintenance technicians, general administrative clerk, and general county maintenance technicians will receive $12/hour.

They also acknowledged the following appointments made by Judge Wireman:
- Deputy judge-exec will remain vacant for now
- Administrative director/director of finance – Josie Bailey
- Administrative assistant/director of community services and codes enforcement – Ashley Salyer
- Judge-executive’s secretary – Nikki Turner
- Director of facilities, parks and recreation – Vacant
- Director of economic development, tourism and community involvement – Vacant
- Community liaison – Vacant

The court approved to authorize the jailer to accept bond release fees, which Wireman explained would add a small amount of money to the jail fund.

They approved standing orders through June 30 to approve payments of utilities, payroll, postage and leases (things that can be paid without coming to the fiscal court for approval).

They agreed to remove Dr. Charles Hardin and Mike Wilson from all bank accounts and add Matthew Wireman to the accounts, as well as authorized Wireman to sign all contracts and documents for ongoing and existing projects.

Through an executive order, Wireman authorized the three magistrates to be able to perform marriages, if they so choose.

In general discussion, the fiscal court talked about county road needs, bringing county water accessibility to all citizens of the county, the possibility of building a jail in the future and enticing more manufacturing jobs to the community.

Wireman said he hopes to coordinate with the road foreman and secure funding for more road signage and stop signs, as well as look into maximum penalties for people who take the road signs.

He said they will be taking an inventory of the county garage, declaring surplus and holding a public auction to clear out the unused and deteriorating items located there.
Judge Wireman said they will be reviewing ethics codes, administrative codes, creating a substance abuse policy, and creating an employee handbook for all county employees.

He asked for the public to submit names for what the industrial park should be named. He explained that the name needs to help bring in factories/businesses to want to locate here and asked the community to call the judge’s office or send him a message with name suggestions.

He said he is also creating a committee on veteran’s affairs, which will be tasked with going through the seven volumes of veterans at the Magoffin County Historical Society and identifying which bridges and roads should be named after veterans that went above and beyond. The seven-member committee will meet once a month to chose a veteran and a road or bridge to be renamed each month. After four years, he explained 48 veterans will be honored in Magoffin County.

He is also creating a committee on economic development and tourism to work with the state economic development board to address local economic development and tourism opportunities.

Wireman said he will also be appointing a community involvement committee to help with community events (Heritage Days, Community Day, etc.) to help those groups make the events bigger and better, hopefully bringing more people to the community.

The fiscal court set their regular meeting dates for 2019 as the third Tuesday of every month at 6 p.m. The next regularly-scheduled meeting is slated for January 15 at 6 p.m.


Heather Oney

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