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Chapter closes on commissioners

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Magistrates sworn in Tuesday

By Marty Finley

Hardin County Clerk Kenny Tabb joked that he will need some time to adjust to the introduction of five more people to Hardin Fiscal Court.

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“I’m going to miss calling four people’s names,” Tabb said Tuesday, rousing laughter from the audience before he took vote count during the court’s final meeting of the year. “I’m going to have to practice over New Year’s calling nine.”

The curtain closed on the commissioner form of government this week after voters overwhelmingly voted in 2008 to return to the magisterial form of government.

During a courthouse ceremony following the meeting, the eight new magistrates were sworn into office.

Commissioner Bill Hay, who did not capture the nomination in the 7th District during the Democratic primary, is leaving office at the end of the month after eight years serving on the court.

Judge-Executive Harry Berry said Hay’s insight and ability to compromise will be sorely missed and he said he hopes Hay continues to be active in the community.

“He can always find the middle ground,” Berry said of Hay. 

Berry also said Hay holds a rare distinction of serving as both a commissioner and magistrate in Hardin County government.

Hay said he respects thoroughly the decision by voters to return to a magisterial form of government and he wished the incoming legislators luck in his departure. Hay, a former educator, said his time in political office was simply an extension of his role as a public servant.

“Hardin County is a great place to live,” Hay said, not because of its leaders, but because of the people they represent.

Commissioner Bill Brandenburg, the longest tenured member of the court, also departs at the end of the month after deciding not to vie for re-election. Brandenburg was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Garry King, who retained his seat on the court in the 8th District, said the moment was bittersweet as he enjoyed serving with Brandenburg. However, he said he knows all of the magistrates elected have the best intentions for Hardin County.

During the meeting, Berry also took a moment to recognize Danny Allen’s years of service to the road department as he transitions to the role of Hardin County jailer, as well as honoring outgoing Jailer Louis Lawson’s 29 years of service to the community.

Lawson, addressing the court, said he considered himself the luckiest jailer in Kentucky because he always had a strong wall of supporters behind him in both his staff and the members who comprised Hardin Fiscal Court.

“Thank you for supporting me throughout the years,” Lawson said.

In addition to an expanded look on Fiscal Court, the chamber they will preside in at the H.B. Fife Courthouse has received some serious renovations.

Berry said the first phase of the project, which was unveiled Tuesday, cost roughly $25,000 and included new carpeting and furnishings to better accommodate the eight magistrates.

The Fiscal Court table is elevated for better access to the crowd and has an arch that will allow those in the audience and HCEC-TV better angles during meetings, Berry added.

In addition, wells have been placed in each seat slot for the addition of laptop computers for the magistrates to use during the meetings, removing some of the paperwork.

Cable connections also have been placed throughout the chamber and Berry said TV monitors and remote cameras will be placed in the room during a future phase.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.