Tribune-Courier News Editor
At the request of Marshall Judge-Executive Mike Miller, an investigator from the office of the Kentucky Attorney General is reviewing the conduct of the Marshall County Refuse Board.
Miller said the investigator is Ken Gillingham and works in the Marshall County Judicial Center.
“Because there have been some things that were said, and allegations made to the press and in open sessions of Fiscal Court, I felt it was time to put things to bed,” Miller said.
County commissioners Terry Anderson and Misti Drew have complained that the Refuse Board had an inappropriate arrangement with a recycler with whom it did not have a contract. They also have said the Refuse Board allowed the recycler to take over $100,000 of scrap metals without compensation. The two commissioners have moved to block the reappointment of Danny Newton and Charlie Edwards to the Refuse Board based on these complaints.
Newton has been reappointed to the board by the city of Benton. Drew has called his reappointment a circumvention of the will of the Fiscal Court.
“I’m with the Judge and want to get closure on this issue,” Newton said. “There have been enough lies told, and no laws have been broken. There won’t be any closure until someone steps up and says nothing is wrong.”
Newton said the Refuse Board hired the recycler to take white goods when scrap metals had no recyclable value and removal of CFC refrigerants was costly. He added the $35,000 earned from recycling last year represented all recyclable goods, not just scrap metals.
Drew said she was hesitant to comment on the investigation because it was requested by Miller and made independently of her fellow commissioners. She added commissioners refrained from requesting an investigation because Jeff Edwards, county attorney, recused himself due to a conflict of interest and left commissioners without legal counsel.
“There are so many gray areas,” Drew said. “Everyone is concerned about the law and ethics. The line is very fine, and any investigator will have a lot of work to do.”
Drew expressed confidence in Gillingham, and called him a capable investigator.
Miller said the scope of the investigation is to determine if any laws have been broken, and how to proceed.
“I don’t feel like any laws have been broken at all,” Miller said. “The Refuse Board made some decisions, and I stand by them.”
Miller said Gillingham has spoken to all members of the Fiscal Court and the Refuse Board. He did not know when the investigation would conclude or any findings would be reported.
Allison Martin, communications director for the Kentucky Attorney General’s office, said it is her office’s policy not to comment on an open investigation. The office declined to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation.