HAZARD – The Perry County Fiscal Court this week appointed former Magistrate Randy Bailey as the county’s new pro tem judge.
Judge-Executive Denny Ray Noble had intended to appoint his wife, Brenda, to the position of pro tem, but noted during a meeting of the fiscal court on Tuesday the county ethics commission ruled against Mrs. Noble’s appointment, a ruling he said was fair considering the county’s ethics ordinance which states that county officials’ spouses are prohibited from most service in county government.
“I feel like they were fair with that ruling,” Noble said. “It plainly states that you can’t do that, and I want to thank the ethics board for the ruling.”
Since Noble took office in the late 1990s, he said he has appointed only one paid pro tem, and has since opted to perform the county judge’s job without a deputy. But the position now requires more time than he can afford by himself, he added, and hiring a pro tem on a part-time basis would allow his office to have more of a presence in the county, while also ensuring that someone will be available to fill in for the county judge in the event of an absence.
“There’s a lot of meetings that I can’t attend and I don’t have the time,” Noble said. “Sometimes we’ll have three (meetings) at one time, and I can’t get to them all.”
Noble suggested the court appoint Bailey, who served on the fiscal court until 2006 when he lost a bid for re-election. Noble said Bailey could attend meetings or serve on different boards, preside over fiscal court meetings, and perhaps work to attract new businesses to the county.
“In this position, there are a whole lot of duties,” Noble said. “If I go into the hospital for a month, somebody has to be here. I need to have somebody in my place that I can trust.”
Noble added that he had talked to Bailey prior to Tuesday’s meeting, and he would be agreeable to the appointment, but he would also require compensation for any work that he did complete for the county.
Magistrate Earl Brashear suggested a salary of $10 per hour on a permanent part-time basis, to which Noble suggested the salary not exceed $20,000 annually. The pro tem would also be responsible for keeping track of the hours he works for the county.
Magistrate Ronald Combs made the motion to appoint Bailey as pro tem, which was seconded by Frank Hurley. The court’s appointment was unanimous.