JULIA ROBERTS GOAD
TOLER, Ky. - April was National County Government month, and the students at Southside Elementary received a visit from Pike County officials who explained their role and how it affects citizens of the county.
District 6 Magistrate Chris Harris, Sheriff Charles “Fuzzy” Keesee, Jailer Rodney Scott, Commonwealth Attorney Rick Bartley, Deputy Judge-Executive John Doug Hays,and Kentucky Association of Counties Executive Director Denny Nunnelley spoke to third, fourth and fifth-graders about local government.
Denny Nunley explained KACo has created a booklet to help teachers explain the role of county government. He said the publication is a joint effort of the Kentucky Department of Education, third grade teachers and illustrators.
John Doug Hayes, Deputy Judge-Executive for Pike County Fiscal Court, explained the court handles the budget of the county.
“Does anyone know what fiscal means?” Hayes asked. “Money, the word fiscal refers to money. Fiscal Court, with six magistrates and one judge, takes care of our $34 million dollar budget in Pike County. The county takes care of our roads, collects garbage, and builds senior citizen centers and parks, and it takes money to do all that. We are getting ready to balance our budget, spend only that which you take in. Our Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford will be preparing that budget, and court has to agree, we cannot have a county budget that is not balanced.”
District Six Magistrate Chris Harris explained how the county is broken up into six districts, with a magistrate representing the interests of the people living in each district. He asked questions about the Pike County Courthouse, the county clerk, PVA agent, county attorney, coroner. and how many counties are contained in Kentucky.
Sheriff Keesee described the duties of the sheriff’s department, including arresting people who break the law, collecting taxes providing security for the courtrooms and at sporting events.
Pike County Jailer Rodney Scott said the Pike County Jail houses 330 inmates with a staff of 42 employees.
Scott said he enjoys helping people, and some of those who are jailed will learn a lesson and never return, but some will be repeat offenders.
“We treat them the best as they will let us,” Scott said. “”Our job is to take care of them while they are there.”
Commonwealth Attorney Rick Bartley said he represents the victims in trying to get those responsible to pay for the crimes they have committed.
Bartley said he has been practicing 32 years as a lawyer and encouraged the kids to go to school and college and get good grades.
Denny Nunley told the children he found his career goal at an early age at a school assembly such as the one they were attending.
“In my fourth grade class, Susan Sams father came to our class to explain what he did,” Nunley said. “Lo and behold, he was the sheriff, he had a cruiser and a gun, it scared me to death. But, I knew these people, he was a nice guy. I thought then, ‘When I grow up, I want to be sheriff.’ And I did, 20 years later I was elected as Sheriff in Woodford County. So things you think of now can come true. Whether you want to be a judge or a fireman or a teacher, you can fulfill your dream.”