Government / Adminstration

Jackson County Fiscal Court

Judge Executive
Shane Gabbard
Magistrate District #1
Danny Todd
Magistrate District #2
Dale Vaughn
Magistrate District #3
Garvin Baker


Jackson County Judge Executive

Shane Gabbard

County Judge Executive Background Information
Kentucky’s Constitutions of 1792 and 1799 did not provide for a county judge. Justices of the peace were the most important local judicial officials during the time these constitutions were in effect. Their duties included responsibility for county administrative matters.

Under the 1891 Constitution, the office of judge of the county court combined a number of judicial, legislative, and administrative duties. Sections 139 and 140 made the county judge the chief judicial officer of the county and quarterly courts. The county judge executive was also made the presiding officer of the fiscal court, the county legislative body.

The Office Today
The 1975 Judicial Amendment to the Constitution, which reorganized the state’s judicial system, stripped the office of the county judge of its judicial powers and responsibilities.

The county judge executive today has the primary responsibility for presiding over the fiscal court and the administrative duties of county government.

The county judge executive serves a four year term and may be re-elected indefinitely.


Shay Hacker



The County Treasurer receives and receipts all money due the county from its collecting officers or from any other person whose duty it is to pay money into the county treasury, and shall disburse such money as authorized by appropriate authority of the Fiscal Court.

The County Treasurer keeps books of accounts of the financial transactions of the county as required by the Uniform System of Accounting prescribed by the State Local Finance Officer:

The County Treasurer is responsible for preparing monthly financial reports for the fiscal court, and quarterly reports for the State Local Finance Officer. Also, the County Treasurer prepares an Annual Statement for the fiscal court, and prepares and publishes an Annual Financial Statement at the close of the Fiscal Year.

Assistant Treasurer

Amanda Holt

Jackson County Attorney

Ross Murray

County attorney

On January the 1st long time County Attorney Tommy Hays will be retiring after 25 years of service to our community. Mr. Hays started as County Attorney on January 1st 1990 and has served Faithfully and well these past 25 years. The office of County Attorney was first made a Constituational office in under Kentucky Constitition in 1850. He or she must be 24 years of age , a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for 2 years, a resident of the county one year prior to the election, and a licensed practicing attorney for two years prior to the election.
In the event of a vacancy it is my job to appoint someone to fill the vacancy until the next election. After much consideration and input from the community I have decided to appoint Ross Murray. Ross has been a longtime resident of Jackson County and served as an attorney for several years. This appointment took place on Tuesday December 29th at the old Courthouse at 1 pm. It is my belief that Mr Murray will serve well as the new County Attorney in Jackson County. He will officialy take over on January 4th. He is excited about the opportunity to serve and we will work with him as best we can. This job is not to be taken lightly as many tough and important decisions are advised under the County Attorney. I feel like he’s the best fit for us and we look forward to working with him.
We would like to wish Tommy Hays our best and hope that he enjoys many long years of great retirement. He has served us well and deserves it.
Thanks Judge Gabbard

The office of county attorney was first made a constitutional office under the Kentucky Constitution of 1850. The present Constitution requires the election of a county attorney in each county for a term of four years. He or she must be 24 years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, a resident of the county one year prior to election, and a licensed practicing attorney for two years prior to election.

In 1976, the General Assembly modified the office of county attorney so that it became part of the unified and integrated prosecutorial system under the direction of the attorney general. Further, the county attorney became an ex officil special prosecutor of the Commonwealth required to perform duties coextensive with the Commonwealth attorney, as directed by the attorney general. While the nature of the office has been changed, the duties remain substantially of the same classification: the prosecutorial function, civil adviser to county government, and miscellaneous duties for the state and county..

Prosecutorial Duties
The county attorney must attend the District Court in his or her county and prosecute all violations of criminal and penal law within the court’s jurisdiction. Further, the county attorney and the Commonwealth’s attorney are required to cooperate in the enforcement of laws and, when necessary, to assist each other in prosecution within their respective courts. They may agree to share or redistribute their prosecutorial duties in the Circuit and District Courts.

Circuit Court Clerk

Doris Kay Ward

Kentucky’s Constitution of 1891 stated that at the general election in 1892 there shall be elected in each county a circuit court clerk and shall hold their offices five years, and until their successors are elected and qualified. In the year 1897, and every six years thereafter, there shall be an election in each county for a circuit court clerk, who shall hold their office for six years, and until the election and qualification of their successors.

Circuit court clerks have offices in all 120 Kentucky counties and are responsible for managing the records of Circuit and District courts. Circuit court clerks are elected officials and serve six-year terms.

In order to qualify for the office of circuit court clerk, a person must be 21 years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident of the county in which he or she is a candidate for one year preceding election.
Circuit Court Clerks are elected officials of the court and are responsible for the custody, control, and safe storage of court records for both Circuit and District Court.

Among the duties of the clerks and their deputy clerks are the receipt of lawsuits and papers for the courts, being present during trials, receiving fines, issuing drivers’ licenses, scheduling juries, handling bond money and operating the tape recording equipment which records District Court proceedings.


Johnny Peters – Constable District 1

Steve Gill – Constable District 2

Bill Buck Abner – Constable District 3

Constables were first made constitutional officers under Article VI, Section 5, of the 1850 Constitution. Section 99 of the present Constitution requires the election of one constable in each justice of the peace district. The number of districts varies from county to county, with no county having less than three or more than eight.
Constables’ qualifications are prescribed by constitutional provision. They must be at least 24 years of age, a Kentucky citizen, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident of the county and district one year prior to election. A constable’s term in office is four years.
Powers and Duties
Constables are peace officers with broad powers of arrest and authority to serve court processes. They may execute warrants, summonses, subpoenas, attachments, notices, rules, and orders of the court in all criminal, penal, and civil cases.

County Coroner

Melvin “Blue” Lakes

In Kentucky, the office of coroner was elective under the first Constitution in 1792. Under the second Constitution in 1799, the governor was allowed to appoint the coroner. In 1850, the coroner’s office was again made elective. Section 99 of Kentucky’s present Constitution establishes the office of coroner as an elected county office with a four-year term.
The coroner must be at least 24 years of age at the time of election, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for at least two years preceding election, and a resident for at least one year in the county of election. The Constitution also requires the coroner to take an oath of office and execute bond insuring the proper discharge of duties.

A coroner must possess a current certificate of continuing education in order to perform a postmortem examination.

Powers and Duties
Coroners and their deputies have the full power and authority of peace officers, including the power of arrest, to bear arms, and to administer oaths.

In performing investigations, the coroner or a deputy may enter public or private property; seize evidence; interrogate persons; and require the production of medical records, documents, or evidence. The coroner may impound vehicles involved in fatal accidents.

The coroner may employ special investigators and photographers in making an investigation and expend funds in carrying out official duties.

Jackson County Clerk

Donald “Duck” Moore

Kentucky’s Constitution of 1850 was the first to mention the office of county court clerk, providing for a clerk’s election in each county for a term of four years. Section 99 of the current Constitution also requires the election of a county court clerk in each county for a term of four years.

Prior to the institution of the unified state court system, the county court clerk served as the clerk of the juvenile, county, and quarterly courts. With the replacement of these courts with the District Court, the clerk no longer has judicial duties, and the name of the office has been abbreviated to county clerk to more accurately reflect the nature of the office.

In order to qualify for the office of county clerk, a person must be 21 years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident of the county in which he or she is a candidate for one year preceding election. The candidate must also procure from a judge of the court of appeals or from a judge of the Circuit Court a certificate that he or she has been examined by the clerk of the court under the judge’s supervision and is qualified for the office. Before assuming the duties of office, the county clerk must take the oath of office prescribed by Section 228 of the Constitution.
The duties of the county clerk fall into the general categories of clerical duties of the fiscal court: issuing and registering, recording and keeping various legal records, registering and purging voter rolls, and conducting election duties and tax duties.
Recording / Keeping Permanent Records of Legal Instruments
County clerks record a number of documents relating to real estate, liens, and use of personal property as collateral. Every county clerk must record all presented deeds, real estate mortgages, and powers of attorney that are properly certified or that are acknowledged or proven as required by law . The county clerk records real estate options; contracts for the sale of real property; affidavits of descent; leases; and maps, surveys, and plats.

The clerk must keep an alphabetical cross-index of the deeds, mortgages, and leases recorded. The clerk is required to record and index instruments containing clauses of a mortgage under the name of the person causing it to be recorded.


County Jailer

Bill Dunn

The Kentucky Constitutions of 1792 and 1799 did not refer to the office of jailer.Article VI, Section 1 of the 1850 version required each county to elect a jailer, and two provisions of the present Constitution refer specifically to the office. Section 99 provides for the election of a jailer in each county. Section 105 permits the legislature to consolidate the offices of sheriff and jailer in any county, provided the office of sheriff is retained and the jailer’s duties are assumed by the sheriff. This provision results from a compromise between two factions of the 1890 Constitutional Convention: one wanting to abolish the office of jailer and the other urging retention of the offices of sheriff and jailer.

The Kentucky constitutional provisions relating to the office of jailer are unique. No other state constitution refers to jailers (Legislative). In most states, the sheriff or a sheriff’s deputy would perform the duties of jailer.

A jailer’s qualifications are prescribed by constitutional provision. The jailer must give bond as required by law, be at least 24 years of age, and have two years’ residence in the state and a year in the county of candidacy. Before assuming office, a jailer must take the oath prescribed by Section 228 of the Constitution and execute bond before the judge/executive.
Powers and Duties
  • Each county jailer has custody, rule and charge of the county jail” and “all persons in the jail”.
  • If there is a residence in the jail, either the jailer or one of the deputies may live in it.
  • The jail must be kept warm, clean, and free from vile odors.
  • Prisoners confined in the jail must have sufficient bed clothing paid by the county.
  • At the time of booking, the jailer must receive and keep in jail any person committed to his or her custody until discharge, unless the prisoner needs emergency medical attention, in which case, the arresting officer must obtain medical attention for the prisoner prior to delivery to the jail.
  • The jailer must treat each prisoner humanely and furnish food and lodging.
  • If a prisoner dies, the jailer must deliver the body to friends, if requested, or have the person decently buried at the county’s expense.


Danny Todd – Magistrate District 1

Dale Vaughn – Magistrate District 2

Garvin Baker – Magistrate District 3

Background Information
In counties with a magisterial form of fiscal court, the most important function of the justice of the peace or magistrate is service on the fiscal court.

The terms “justice of the peace” and “magistrate” are synonymous. However, the office of justice of the peace or magistrate, unlike that of county commissioner, is a constitutionally required office that must be filled regardless of the form of the fiscal court. Although the Constitution mandates their election, justices in counties with a commissioner form of fiscal court have few duties.

Before 1978, magistrates possessed important judicial duties, but the Judicial Amendment to the Constitution abolished the magisterial courts and
stripped magistrates of their judicial duties.

In counties with a county commissioner form of fiscal court, about the only duties remaining are the solemnization of marriages and the acceptance of applications for notaries public. Justices of the peace or magistrates may perform marriages if so authorized by the governor or the county judge/executive.

Occupational Tax Administrator

Teresa Truett

The duty of the Jackson County Tax Administrator is to collect local county tax and enforce the County Occupational and Net Profit License Fee Ordinance as directed by the Fiscal Court.

Occupational taxes are withheld from gross wages earned in Jackson County, and submitted on a quarterly basis. The current tax rate is 1.85%.

Net Profit taxes are collected from the net profits of all business ventures in Jackson County. Public and private businesses, lessors of rental property, farms and farming operations, and independent contractors are all examples of taxable entities. The Net Profit taxes are collected annually and are based on
Federal returns. The current tax rate is 1.85%.

All persons doing business in Jackson County are required by ordinance to complete and submit a questionnaire to the Tax Administrator. To avoid interest and penalty, returns must be submitted by the due date.

Property Valuation Administrator

Paul Rose

The office of property valuation administrator is a successor in Kentucky to the office of county tax commissioner and the office of county assessor. The office of county assessor first became a constitutional office in the Kentucky Constitution of 1850. The assessor was elected for a term of four years and had the power to appoint such assistants as were “necessary and proper.”

The present Kentucky Constitution also provides for the election of a county assessor every four years. However, it includes a provision allowing the General Assembly to abolish the office of assessor. It is apparent from remarks found in the Constitutional Debates of 1890 that this provision was included for the sake of those who favored a system by which the justices of the peace would take over the duties of the assessor.

The office of county assessor was abolished by the General Assembly in 1918 and was replaced by the office of county tax commissioner. The 1968 General Assembly changed the title of “county tax commissioner” to “property valuation administrator,” or PVA, effective December 1, 1969.

Elections and Qualifications
A property valuation administrator assumes office on the first Monday in December, after winning election in November, and continues in office for a period of four years. After completion of the term in office, the property valuation administrator is eligible for reelection.

To be eligible for election, the property valuation administrator candidate must be 24 years old, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident in the county of candidacy one year preceding election.

Powers and Duties
Subject to the direction, instruction, and supervision of the Department of Revenue, a property valuation administrator must make the assessment of all property in the county, prepare property assessment records, and perform other duties relating to assessment as may be prescribed by law or by the Department of Revenue.

Jackson County Sheriff

Paul Hays

As your sheriff, I am charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law in a fair and impartial manner to prevent and deter crime, and when that fails, to apprehend and detain those who are accused or convicted of violating the law. Enforcement of the law must be conducted within the statutory and judicial limitations of police authority. It must ensure the safety and well-being of the community while preserving the constitutional rights of all persons.

Under the first Kentucky Constitution in 1792, the office of sheriff was elective and the term of office was three years. Under the second Constitution, the sheriff was nominated by the county court and appointed by the governor from the court’s list of nominees. The term of office was two years.
Qualifications and Term
The present Constitution requires the election of a sheriff in each county to a four year term. The Kentucky Constitution also requires the sheriff to be at least 24 years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, a resident of the state for two years, and a resident of the county of election one year prior to election.
Powers and Duties
The sheriff’s duties fall into four categories: tax collection, election duties, services to courts, and law enforcement.

A sheriff spends the most time on civil duties, as opposed to criminal or law enforcement duties. The sheriff and three other elected county officials: coroners, jailers, and constables are peace officers who possess law enforcement powers.

Law Enforcement
These powers include a broad grant of authority to make arrests. Any peace officer may make an arrest for example:

  1. in obedience to a warrant;
  2. without a warrant when a felony is committed in the peace officer’s presence;
  3. without a warrant when the peace officer has probable cause to believe the person arrested has committed a felony;
  4. without a warrant if the officer has probable cause to believe that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol or any other ubstance that may impair driving ability.