Marshall County Fiscal Court Responds To ‘No Confidence’ Petition
The Marshall County Fiscal Court on Monday responded to a petition circulated by county first responders last week which expressed ‘no confidence’ in Marshall County E-911 Director Chris Freeman. The press release issued by the Marshall County Attorney’s Office states in part, “If and/or when any substantive evidence is properly presented, the Marshall County Fiscal Court will of course address the issue accordingly.”
The release, dated August 31, 2020, begins by asserting “as of the date of this statement, nothing of any evidentiary value (nor even the petition itself) has been presented to either the county judge-executive or fiscal court on this issue.” But Marshall County Commissioners Justin Lamb, Monti Collins and Kevin Spraggs confirmed receipt of and commented on the petition according to an article published by a local media source on August 28.
As of publication, Collins, Spraggs and Marshall County Judge-Executive Kevin Neal had not responded to a request for comment from WKMS sent shortly after receiving the press release on August 31, but Lamb confirmed he received the petition via email from Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire on the evening of Thursday, August 27.
“I anticipate this issue will be discussed in executive session tomorrow [Sept. 1 fiscal court meeting] because it pertains to a county employee and I hope we can all work together to find a solution to this issue,” Lamb added.
Marshall County Attorney Jason Darnall also responded to a request for comment from WKMS, saying when he drafted the response August 28, he wasn’t aware the petition had been sent to all four fiscal court members.
Darnall’s response stated, “I drafted that statement late Friday afternoon before leaving for the day and was not aware that the petition had been emailed to all 4 court members. Sorry for the mixup. Also, not knowing what action the court may be interested in taking in response, it would not be appropriate for me to make comment on it.”
McGuire told WKMS the county’s response issued via Darnall was not sent to him directly, rather he saw it on the fiscal court’s facebook page. He said he sent emails to all four fiscal court members with an explanation of concerns and a PDF of the petitions just before midnight on August 27, the same night he tallied the signatures.
The statement issued by Darnall’s office also references a section of Kentucky Revised Statutes and the county’s administrative code regarding county personnel issues:
“Under KRS 67.710(7), the county judge-executive ‘[e]xercise[s] with the approval of the fiscal court the authority to appoint, supervise, suspend, and remove county personnel…’ Furthermore, under the administrative code adopted by the Marshall County Fiscal Court, a detailed procedure has been outlined with respect to the discipline and termination of county employees."
McGuire noted the responders have not asked for Freeman’s termination; he said they’ve asked for the communications infrastructure to take top priority and for the 911 board to be reestablished so responders once again “have a seat at the table.”
“No one in the petition was asking for his termination. We don’t have the authority to ask that,” he added.
Before noon today, McGuire said he personally delivered a packet of information to Neal’s office including a hard copy of the petition, the correspondence explaining the concerns which was sent via email to all four fiscal court members with the petition, and a log detailing specific incidents of communications issues. He said he’s also filed an open records request for a copy of the county’s administrative code as his office didn’t have a copy because they don’t abide by it.
McGuire said the petition was meant as a first step in communication directly with the fiscal court after multiple failed attempts at direct communication with Freeman. He said if the fiscal court members decide to dig further into the issues, the sheriff’s office will file formal complaints and present “tangible evidence of deficiencies.”
Marshall County Fiscal Court is scheduled for a regular meeting Sept. 1 at 9:30 a.m. in the Marshall County Courthouse in Benton.
This article may be updated as more information becomes available.