Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

December 5, 2012

Olive Hill mayor resigns

Replacement appointed from council's ranks

Mike James
The Independent

OLIVE HILL — The Olive Hill City Council accepted the resignation of Mayor Danny Sparks on Tuesday, six days after Sparks was arrested on drug charges.

In a five-minute meeting the council swiftly nominated and appointed Kenny Fankell to replace Sparks. Fankell will serve out the remaining two years of the term, which ends in December 2014. He was sworn in after the meeting.

The meeting room was crowded, but no one other than council members spoke and the only reaction was applause after the council members voted in Fankel unanimously as mayor. Fankell abstained from that vote.

Sparks did not attend the meeting and his short, hand-written resignation letter didn’t mention his arrest.

Instead, it cited “present circumstances” and said resignation would be best for the city, the council and his family.

“There are a lot of mixed emotions, but we need to move forward and that’s what we intend to do,” said Fankell, who has been on the council for 12 years.

He said he would meet soon with department heads to sort out budget issues and confront the city’s water problems, among other things.

The arrest and resignation won’t seriously harm Olive Hill, Fankell said.

“People are ready to move on,” he said.

FADE drug task force detectives arrested Sparks Nov. 28 near Olive Hill Elementary School after an investigation they said had been going on for several weeks.

He was charged with trafficking in marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school, which is a felony.

 The detectives also found an open container of alcohol in his vehicle, which is in violation of state law.

In a letter obtained that night by the Grayson Journal-Times, Sparks said he had made a bad mistake and failed the trust of the city and its people. That letter was never submitted to the council.

With Fankell moving into the mayor’s office, the council will appoint a replacement member. Fankel said it is unclear when that will happen, but it could be at the next meeting.

MIKEā€ˆJAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.