Justin Pruitt

Justin Pruitt

CATLETTSBURG Parks and Recreation head Justin Pruitt moved up in the county Tuesday, after being appointed by the Boyd County Fiscal Court to the newly created County Administrator position at the governing body’s noon meeting.

Akin to the duties of a city manager, the county administrator will handle the day-to-day operations of the county departments, according to Judge-Executive Eric Chaney.

While certainly not as sexy as Friday’s announcement about the KYOVA Mall property, the position marks a new direction for how the county government operates.

Traditionally, the judge-executive handles the day-to-day tasks in the counties, but Chaney said that has led to a break-down in communications, an issue Chaney readily admitted was partially his fault.

“I’m here, there and everywhere, going wide-open from daylight to sunset to 2 a.m.,” Chaney said. “This will help with the day-to-day and help the overall operation.”

Commissioner Larry Brown observed that the move is part of a push toward getting county departments to make more autonomous decisions. Chaney said in the past, the judge-executive would go out with road crews to inspect slips in the roads.

“I don’t know the first thing about moving dirt,” he said. “But that’s the way it was always done.”

Brown said Pruitt has proven himself to be someone who can “get things done.” Commissioner Keith Watts said “putting the right people in the right places” is key for an effective county government.

Chaney said Boone County created a county administrator as well.

“Their judge-executive said it was the best thing they’ve ever done,” Chaney said.

That’s not the only personnel change on the horizon — the sheriff’s department could be looking at some wage hikes, if a study on the matter pans out. Sheriff Bobby Jack Woods reported to the fiscal court a hazardous duty retirement — a proposal brought up by Watts — would cost the county $400,000.

Hazardous duty retirement was eliminated in 2012, which worked out to officers having to spend five more years on the job before drawing their pension. Woods said currently that’s not too big of a problem — but there’s an even bigger one looming ahead.

According to Woods, Carter and Greenup counties have increased the pay for their deputies, making Boyd one of the lowest start-out pays around. Carter starts at $16 per hour, which rises to $18 after several years of service, while Greenup is now starting at $17 per hour, Woods said.

Right now, Woods said the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department starts at $16.50. The sheriff said if something isn’t done, he could start losing deputies.

“I think we need to get ahead of this and do a study to see if we can get them up to $20 per hour,” he said.

Here are some other moves at the Boyd County Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday:

• The county approved a new paver — the old one could do “circles on a good day,” Chaney quipped.

• The fiscal court approved a $415,941 from HARP Enterprises to replace the voting machines.

• Community comment got lively, with one Westwood man coming to raise cane about the conditions of the roads. The gentleman had appeared about six weeks prior, asking for the roads to be fixed. He asked the court “to put that new paver to use” over in Westwood, after reporting that the only work that has been done is some roadside mowing and having a pothole filled in with gravel. After extended back and forth between the man and the court, Chaney promised they would address the roads as soon as possible.

• Another man appeared at community comment, asking for the county to do something about creating a noise ordinance to address his neighbor, who is playing music non-stop. Woods said he’s been out there, but the way Kentucky law is written, he cannot arrest for blaring the music at all hours of the day and night. The man said “he’s at his wit’s end” with the situation. Other neighbors chimed in as well, stating the neighbor doesn’t care about how much of a nuisance he’s being.

• The fiscal court unanimously approved bids for supplies for the road department, office supplies and janitorial supplies.

• Unanimously approved a proposal from Bulls Eye Media for a tourism website for the county. It would be a year-to-year contract running about $4,500 per year.

• Unanimously reappointed George Bullion to the Summit-Ironville Fire Department Board.

(606) 326-2653 |

henry@dailyindependent.com

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