New deputy judge-executive position would be ‘political cronyism’

Published 4:10 pm Thursday, January 10, 2019


Contributing columnist

The consequences of the November election are already beginning to shake out. Newly minted Boyle County Judge-Executive Howard Hunt wants the fiscal court to fund a new position to the tune of $40,000. This would create a deputy judge-executive and it appears to be a full-time position.

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This is an appointed position under KRS 67.711. It does not require a job posting but must be approved by the fiscal court. Mary Conley currently acts in this position, in addition to being the county treasurer. She has the institutional knowledge and experience which one would think Hunt would want, what with him being new and all. According to a couple of folks in the know, Conley receives about a $1,500 stipend for her extra duties.

Hunt has put forth the name of Steve Knight for this position. According to the Boyle County Republican Party website, Knight is the secretary for the organization. He also owns a local small business.

I can’t imagine what Hunt was thinking when he announced this proposal. Does he not trust Conley? Does he owe Knight this position since Knight’s wife was Hunt’s campaign chair? How is an additional $40,000 fiscal outlay going to improve the fiscal court or the duties of the judge-executive? Will the citizens of Boyle County see an additional $40,000 worth of benefit? I doubt it. It’s political cronyism at its best and just another day in Kentucky politics.

Goforth’s gun bill

State Rep. Robert Goforth (R-East Bernstadt) has filed to run for governor against our current regime carpetbagger, Matt Bevin. Goforth says he will govern without talking down to the citizens of Kentucky the way Bevin does. Bully for him.

He also filed a bill that would allow guns in places where they are currently banned like schools, bars, government buildings and businesses that post “no guns allowed” signs. His gunslingers would be those who possess a CCDW — Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons — license. What could possibly go wrong?

In order to qualify for a CCDW, one must be 21 years old, a U.S. citizen of the commonwealth, not under indictment, free of mental defect and not a fugitive from justice. Additionally, the person must complete 8 hours of safety training and hit a stationary, paper silhouette 11 times out of 20 shots fired. This is an abbreviated list of the actual qualifications. The qualifications are actually extensive, which makes me feel better about those who hold a CCDW.

I am not anti-guns. If you want to sport shoot or hunt with your weapons, I fully support you in your endeavors. If you own guns and store them in a manner that keeps them safe from children, you are one of the good ones.

But how do we distinguish the responsible gun owners from those who are careless and untrained?

I was in a chiropractor’s waiting room a few years ago when an older gentleman and his wife came in. He had a revolver on his hip, held there by what appeared to be a shoelace. It wasn’t even concealed. I still wonder why he felt the need to bring his six-shooter to the chiropractor. Did he have any training with that gun? Was he planning to shoot up the place?

I think Goforth is playing to his base and possibly trolling for NRA money for his gubernatorial campaign. Why would anyone think having MORE deadly weapons is the answer to anything?

According to a study released in 2006 by Michael D. White at The John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, professionally trained law enforcement officers hit their targets approximately 25 percent of the time when engaging a suspect. Where do the other 75 percent of the bullets go? Is that a ratio we are willing to accept for our children in schools, or when we are out with friends? And what about the business owner’s right to keep their workplace weapon-free?

I hope my District 54 representative Daniel Elliott and state senator Rick Girdler vote against this bill. It’s a bad bill and really bad idea.

G. Elaine Wilson Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.