Fiscal court hears that computers were ‘wiped clean’

Posted January 30, 2019 at 3:15 pm

During its second special call meeting in as many weeks last Thursday, January 24, the Clinton County Fiscal Court learned that when the current administration took office, they found that the county owned office computers had had all of the important information and files removed.

Using the common phrase for removing all information from a computer’s database, Clinton County Judge/Executive Ricky Craig reported to the Fiscal Court that all of the computers had been “wiped clean” by the previous administration.

To rub salt in that wound, Craig also reported that the county had received a bill from Albany Tech for performing the service of removing all of the data on the computers, and had to secure the services from yet another tech firm to recover at least some of the date from the system.

This led to a discussion among court members as well as some differing opinions on how to handle the bill at hand.

Assistant County Attorney Gary Little was asked his opinion on the matter. He questioned whether it was the judge at the time that had the information erased and said he couldn’t understand anyone eliminating software from the computers, but added, “the person who did it had a legitimate bill,” since the company was apparently asked by someone to do it.

“If we were having a trial, I would like to hear both sides,” Little said. “On the face, the county may should go ahead and pay (the bill), but there are questions,” the attorney noted.

Magistrate Mickey Riddle made a motion not to pay the bill, which received a second, also led to discussion before a vote was taken.

Magistrate Ray Marcum disagreed with not paying the bill, but said they should first look at the cost of having the computers restored and let the individual responsible (for having the computers cleaned) pay for both. He noted, however, that on its face, the company’s bill seemed legitimate since they were apparently employed to do the job.

Magistrate Gary Ferguson said he felt the bill should not be paid until the person who actually did the work came before the court to let them know exactly how it happened.

Eventually, the motion was changed to withhold paying the bill until the person from Albany Tech can appear before the court to explain the circumstances and that vote passed 4-2 with magistrates Riddle, Ferguson, Jerry Lowhorn and Johnny Russell voting yes and magistrates Marcum and Terry Buster voting no.

That was just one of the many issues the court dealt with during the busy meeting that saw all of the court members present. The meeting was held to make-up for an earlier regular meeting that had been postponed a week earlier.

The next item of business on the agenda was also somewhat controversial, resulting in another split vote, that being whether or not county road employees should be allowed to drive the county vehicles home after work.

Magistrate Buster said, “I have no problem with it.”

The only county vehicles that would be excluded from the recommendation by the judge would be the county road foreman and animal control officer.

Magistrate Marcum said he had asked the state about its policy toward employees driving vehicles home and apparently they withhold a certain amount ($3) per day off each employee’s paycheck who drives vehicles home to offset costs.

It was also noted by some magistrates that allowing road crew workers to drive vehicles home could cut down on response time when they are called out and possibly save on overtime costs from having to drive to the county garage to pick up work trucks.

Following a brief discussion, a motion was made to not allow any trucks, with the exception of the road foreman and animal control officer, to be taken home after work hours. That motion saw a three-three vote among magistrates, with Riddle, Lowhorn and Ferguson voting yes; Buster, Marcum and Russell voting no and judge Craig breaking the tie with a yes vote to pass the measure 4-3.

A representative with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet then presented the court with the annual Rural Secondary Road Fund amounts and proposal for county road work.

The state has proposed using $467,739 to make repairs to the Wells Bottom Road from the 0 mile marker to the 2.643 marker to U.S. 127.

The county will also receive $112,400 for work on individual county roads most in need of repair.

Magistrate Buster also questioned the representative about the need for white lines on the sides of the road on Hwy. 558, county judge Craig asked about the need for more guardrails and magistrate Marcum asked about putting up signage through the mountainous area from the Tennessee line to Wayne County warning heavy trucks to take an alternate route.

The transportation official noted that on the guardrail issue, the state has a prioritized list of areas they have to adhere to and also noted the cabinet was currently working on a GPS system in regards to directing heavy work trucks through the areas that Marcum was speaking about.

Following a recommendation by judge Craig, the court voted unanimously to amend the policies and procedures establishing two positions in the county road department, one being a head mechanic position and the other a head welder position.

It was noted that those positions do not require the employees to hold a CDL license. One person in the audience questioned whether those positions should be required to hold a CDL since they would be responsible for making repairs to the trucks. However, Craig said that neither of the employees would actually drive the vehicles.

Earl Claborn, Veteran Services Officer, then introduced himself to the new court, as well as handing out information on how the organization had assisted veterans over his past 13 years in that position.

Claborn said that although the number of veterans in the county when he began had fallen from 810 in 2006 to 490 currently, benefits awarded to help those veterans over the years have increased, with the county receiving over $419 million in benefits for veterans.

Judge Craig also noted the problems the county was having with key deposits for use of the Community Center. He said many of the keys to the facility had not been returned and that forced him to have all the locks changed to the building since there were so many keys floating around.

Following a brief discussion, the court voted to keep the $25 fee for use of the building, but increase the key deposit from $10 to $25, refundable only if the key is returned.

After approving the county sheriff’s settlement by unanimous vote, the judge recommended two new members to the Clinton County Industrial Development Authority to replace two members whose terms had expired at the end of last year.

The court voted unanimously to approve the appointments of Shane Smith and Jerry Witham to the IDA board, replacing outgoing members Penny Jo Stearns and Jim Soma, the latter who had been serving as that board’s chairman.

The court also approved a bus turnaround on the Clear Fork Church Road, but also discussed changing the wording in current ordinances that would disallow the turnarounds when they are no longer needed to pick up and/or drop of school children.

Judge Craig also informed the court that the county credit card had expired at the end of last year and two current banks, Monticello Banking and First and Farmers, are working to get new cards issued for use by county officials doing official business.

Finally, the court approved the sole bid from Striker Company in the amount of $52,710 for three power stretchers for the local EMS.

The county already has $10,000 in place through a grant and is expected to receive an additional $10,000 this year, with the remaining portion of the cost to be paid in annual increments.

The court meeting began with the magistrates unanimously accepting the monthly and quarterly treasurer’s report and approving fund transfers.

All monthly claims and bills were approved with the exception of the one bill that remains in question from Albany Tech in the amount of $155.00.

The meeting was adjourned after lasting just under one hour.

The fiscal court’s first regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 21 at 5 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse and is open to the public.