Court rejects water board nominee

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By Walt Reichert

A usually routine appointment to a water board brought complaints of politics-as-usual at Tuesday's fiscal court meeting, rejection by the court, and a 'scolding' by county Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger.

Rothenburger nominated Process Machinery President David Miles to a four-year term on the West Shelby Water District Board. He would replace Bob McDowell, of Simpsonville, who has sat on the board for 17 years. McDowell's term recently expired.

But three magistrates - Tony Carriss, Mike Whitehouse and Cordy Armstrong - voted against Miles' appointment and two - Michael Riggs and Betty Curtsinger - voted in favor. Magistrate Hubie Pollett did not vote and Magistrate Allen Ruble was absent.

At the end of the meeting, Rothenburger scolded the court for rejecting Miles. He praised Miles's credentials and said the court missed an opportunity to have someone from a Shelby County industry get involved in local government.

"This is a great quality candidate and you're turning down great names based on politics," Rothenburger said. "I'm disappointed."

McDowell is a Democrat who actively campaigned against Rothenburger in the Simpsonville area in the 2006 judge-executive race. Carriss, Whitehouse and Armstrong are all Democrats.

Whitehouse and Carriss said they were not voting against Miles but did not want to vote McDowell out.

"I need reasons for voting against someone," Whitehouse said. "Just to abandon someone I think is wrong."

Magistrate Michael Riggs sided with Rothenburger, saying the county needs some new blood on its boards.

"When you have somebody on boards for 20 or 25 years it simply means you don't have any change," Riggs said. "When is Shelby County going to get past politics?"

Magistrates voting against Miles also took a hit from court-watcher Katie Sjothun.

"In all the years I've sat here, when the judge offers someone new it's always the same four people who vote it down. It's disgusting," Sjothun said.

When reached for a comment, Miles said he would not have anything to say about the court's action. McDowell will serve on the board until he is re-appointed or until the court approves another name.

EMS deputy director

Another disagreement surfaced during the meeting when Magistrate Cordy Armstrong told the court the Emergency Services Committee would like to recommend Jeff Ivers be named deputy EMS director.

Rothenburger told Armstrong that if the court took up the resolution with a specific candidate named it would violate its own administrative code. He said the job would have to be posted to give anyone the opportunity to apply. He also told Armstrong the EMS service does not currently have the money to pay the salary of a deputy director and would not until the fiscal year starts over July 1.

Riggs said the request was "highly unusual" and since a name had already been brought before the court, he wondered if the position could be filled at all.

Whitehouse also asked if the position was needed since the job had been vacant for eight months. Former Deputy EMS Director Darrell Campbell left the post last year.

The court did agree to a resolution to post the job in July.

The court also set a timetable for distribution of charitable contributions to non-profit agencies:

April 1 - applications will be available

May 23 - final applications are due at the county judge-executive's office

June 3 - fiscal court will review and award grants

In other action the court:

Took first reading on an ordinance that would amend the county's buffer and landscape rules for development.

Discussed the letter-of-intent to annex from the Simpsonville city government

Special meeting

Fiscal court will hold a special meeting Tuesday, March 25 at 10 a.m. Items on the agenda are:

Review and acceptance of jail budget

Review and discussion of Kentucky Housing Corporation letter of support for LDG Development

Discussion of occupational license ordinance