Two scandals over one government position

Melanie Roberts
Melanie Roberts
Larry Ethington
Larry Ethington
Bullitt County Courthouse
Bullitt County Courthouse

Shepherdsville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

SHEPHERDSVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Two scandals, one position:  that's case for part of Bullitt County government. In fact, one leader has been so frustrated that he resigned on July 9.

It all centers around the Bullitt County Drug Task Force; more specifically who should be hired in an administrative assistant's position.

The flack over that caused the current director to abruptly resign effective immediately.  That left the task force with two open positions, and it couldn't come at a worse time, as summer is usually a prime time for drug activity and is also a major time to apply for federal grants,

"In an attempt to make a move as classless as the hiring of the new administrative assistant, effective close of business on Friday, July 09, 2010, I quit," an e-mail from now-former Bullitt County Drug Task Force Director Blaine French sent to county leaders read.

"All of you all need to make a public apology to the 50 plus applicants who went through the sham hiring process of this position.  One applicant drove from Michigan to be interviewed," his short, two-sentence e-mail read.

The resignation was accepted at Friday's meeting of county leaders, who were stunned by his resignation.

The board wanted a former county employee Janet Miller to have the job, citing her experience and that county guidelines suggest that workers laid-off by the county should be given precedence.

Judge-Executive Melanie Roberts must sign off on who is hired, before the name goes to the board.  She said she told French that she would submit the name of Miller, but that he should go ahead with the interview process incase the board didn't sign off on it.

The position pays $10.50 an hour, and the fight over it caused French to resign.  Larry Ethington was named to director's post in an executive session meeting Friday, at least temporarily.

"It's a challenge and I'm looking forward to it," Ethington said.

He has several years of police and drug-fighting experience in Bullitt County and is ready to begin.

"I don't really foresee any changes.  We're just going to combat the drug problem and be very aggressive in what we're trying to do which is take drugs off the street and try to help people who do have a drug problem," Ethington said.

County leaders will meet in about a month to decide if Ethington will permanently stay in that position.

If so, he's already requesting a pay raise from the roughly $37,000 a year the county pays for that position.

Meanwhile the administrative assistant's job will likely be filled by Miller.  That position opened up a few months ago after the former one was fired for reportedly selling confidential information... an act that could result in jail time.

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