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Drug Task Force director resigns; assistant indicted

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By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - A new administrative assistant has been hired for the Bullitt County Drug Task Force.

    However, it appears she will not have a boss to supervise her.

    Blaine French submitted his notice on Thursday that he was quitting as the drug task force director just two days after a Bullitt Fiscal Court meeting.

    At the July 6 meeting, fiscal court members voted 4-0, with Eddie Bleemel not present, to hire Janet Miller as the administrative assistant.

    Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts said that Miller worked in her office while another employee was out on medical leave and would be an excellent person.

    Before the vote, French told magistrates that he had his own recommendation for the job.

    He said over 50 had applied and he spent two weeks interviewing 17 applicants, including one from Michigan.

    On Thursday morning, French sent an e-mail to Roberts stating that after the "classless" hiring by fiscal court, he would resign from his position as of Friday, July 9.

    "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," French said in his e-mail to the judge and magistrates. "One applicant drove from Michigan to be interviewed."

    French said he knew that Roberts was going to recommend hiring Miller, who did interview for the administrative assistant's position.

    He advised the magistrates in advance of his intention to make his own recommendation. However, before that could be done, the court quickly voted without any discussion.

    "It was a sham," said French. "There's a difference between right and wrong and sometimes you have to take a stand."

    French said there is nothing against Miller, although he said she didn't meet all the qualifications in the advertised position, and he felt she could do the job. However, in spending a great amount of time, he selected a candidate who he felt was better suited.

    "That was the final straw," said French. "I was abused. The political thing is a sham."

    He hated leaving the task force because the detectives work so hard, often without pay. The drug task force is also a very important agency.

    However, since early April, French said his office has been without an assistant and he has been handling all the office duties. He thanked county attorney Walt Sholar and commonwealth attorney Mike Mann for offering assistance.

    If the judge felt Miller was the right choice, he said she should have been allowed to come over and assist, even if on a temporary basis.

    "I don't have the fight any more," said French.

    French, a retired Louisville police officer and former detective for the Bullitt County Sheriff's Department, took over in January when Kenny Hardin resigned to run for county judge.

    Directing the task force is a difficult job. French said it was a lot more difficult than he was led to believe but it was something in which he felt things were coming together.

    "I could see the light at the end of the tunnel," said French. "Unfortunately, it was a train."

    Roberts said she had not seen French's resignation early on Thursday but had spoken to Miller about taking the open planning and zoning administrative assistant's position.

    She was going to hire French's choice but she said the director resigned before she had an opportunity to talk with him.

    By mid-afternoon, Roberts said she wouldn't make any changes. Instead, the drug task force board would hold a special meeting on Friday morning.

    The county judge cannot make any hiring decisions. She can make a recommendation to fiscal court, which would then make the final decision.

    The vacancy came about when Christina Leslie Linton, 24, was fired as administrative assistant.

    She was recently indicted by the Bullitt County Grand Jury on the charge of misuse of confidential information.

    According to the indictment, Linton allegedly accepted cash in return for disclosing information that had not been made public. The alleged incidents occurred from Dec. 4, 2009, and April 6, 2010.

    The indictment is a Class D felony punishable by 1-5 years in prison.

    The case was investigated by the Kentucky State Police special unit.

    The drug task force was formed over nine years ago and utilizes officers from the sheriff's department and Shepherdsville police department. The sole purpose of the agency is to investigate drug cases in the county.