When I took office in January of last year I knew the county was facing a great challenge. We had a lot of deficits to overcome and Fiscal relationships that needed to be repaired. Since January of 2015 myself, along with every other elected official and various leaders, begin to work together to see Jackson County try to become a better place. We immediately looked at the job situation here and saw so many out of work and needing work that we begin to search every angle to attract potential businesses to come here. With the help of local companies such as PRTC and Jackson Energy and many others we have saw an incline in job growth in Jackson County. Teleworks alone has hired over 200 people in the last year thanks to the fiber network that PRTC offers. Jackson Energy helped me produce a brochure that highlighted the potential our County has to offer and we are still working together to promote economic development here at home. The Fiscal Court has a good working relationship with the Sheriffs Office in which we were able to help secure 4 much needed Police cruisers through USDA grant money. The Fiscal Court has also been able to support and help in different ways the construction and furtherance of the Veterans Memorial in McKee. We have also helped our Ambulance service at different times with different issues and they now are on the way to updating their fleet of Ambulances. The park at Flat Lick Falls has saw major improvements and is an ongoing project that has had as many as 200 visitors in one weekend. We are excited to what the potential of this park is. I began to look at our local Boards and decided to put some new faces on some of them and they have worked out well. The Fair Board has instituted many activities that have brought our communities out and together for nights of fun with things such as Free Friday Flix and Hometown Halloween. The road department has worked well too. We were able to resurface several roads last year that needed it and have more to do this year. There’s never a shortage for the need of blacktop on our roads. When Kentucky was faced with it’s first ever Republican Presidential Caucus, we worked together with the Clerks office to educate and encourage all that would to vote. I feel we have made strides in the right direction.
With all that being said, last week I got some bad news. We had a report that there was a possibility of some fraud within County Government. I begin discussing this with the County Attorney who called in the State Police on the matter. They began an investigation and that investigation is still open and ongoing today. We were advised to take action on the matter and did so last Friday July 22nd at a special called meeting of the Fiscal Court. We went into Executive session and discussed the matter and then came out and voted to Suspend the County Treasurer with pay. The Court then appointed Shay Hacker to be Temporary Treasurer until further action is taken. I have had several people ask me why suspend with pay? We asked advice form our insurance providers staff attorney on the matter and he advised us to suspend the treasurer with pay to offset the possibility of a lawsuit against the county because the investigation is still open and ongoing and no other actions have been taken. Another question I have been asked is ” Did we fire the Treasurer and then hire her back?” and that is also incorrect. This is the only action that has been taken so far. I can’t comment any further on the case at this time because of the investigation but the Fiscal Court along with my office has been completely cooperative with State Police and will continue to be during this investigation. I ,along with the Fiscal Court, was completely shocked with the information we received. We are working to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.
On a brighter note let me remind you of what you as a community have accomplished this last year. McKee / Jackson County is now a State Certified Trail Town. Many people worked day and night to see this happen and my hat goes off to you. Last year several Citizens came together to form the first Jackson County Wagon and Saddle Club. This group is doing great things and bringing in many visitors into our county and I applaud them for what they have accomplished in so little time. We received a Pride award for the most volunteers in the State picking up roadside litter. This is another great accomplishment that deserves recognition for our citizens. The list goes on and on and the people here are what makes us who we are.
I know we still have a mess to clean up and I ask that you be patient with us and work with us as we seek the best for our County. I believe it’s a working progress and I am trying my best to do what’s right and what needs to be done, and with your help I believe we can do just that. The one thing I said that we needed in local Government was more transparency and I have tried to do that. I will keep you updated as we go along but in the meantime please keep us in prayer, it truly makes a difference. Thanks, Judge Gabbard