SHEPHERDSVILLE - The muddy situation relating to the county parks and recreation department and the newly-created parks board appears to be getting much clearer.
And within the next month, it might be crystal clear.
Bullitt Fiscal Court seemed inclined to repeal the ordinance which created the parks board following a discussion Tuesday morning.
The need for some clarification resulted from a meeting of the Bullitt County Ethics Commission.
County Judge Melanie Roberts recommended June Daugherty serve as the unpaid director of the parks board, a five-member body.
However, the question arose over possible conflicts since the parks board had the power to oversee programs, solicit funds and grants and to sign contracts.
With Daugherty serving as executive director of the Bullitt County Family YMCA and with that agency serving as program manager of the current recreational programs in the county, ethics members felt uncomfortable.
As reported in a recent issue of The Pioneer News, board members wanted some clarification on the actual role of the parks board and the duties the director would be filling.
Under the ethics board interpretation, it would be a conflict.
County attorney Monica Robinson said the parks department is a county agency and is funded by fiscal court.
The parks board was meant to be an advisory group but, under statute, would have other powers, said Robinson.
She admitted that there appears to be some confusion.
A simpler solution might be to abolish the parks board and then form a committee which would only be an advisory group for fiscal court. Robinson said the same parks board members could even be appointed to the committee.
Robinson said fiscal court could also opt to abolish its parks and recreation department and turn over the control to the parks board. It could also elect to fund that board.
Keith Griffee, chairman of the ethics committee, said there was no question that the members wanted Daugherty in the position of director. Its only concern was when a contract might be signed with an agency to operate programs, it would appear to be a conflict if Daugherty and the YMCA were involved.
Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh said when she joined fiscal court, she was of the opinion that either the parks board or parks and recreation needed to be abolished.
However, after talking with former parks board chair Steve Larimore, she learned of the differences.
Magistrate John Bradshaw said he must have missed the discussion when he voted for the ordinance creating the parks board. The previous board was formed by resolution in 1971 and Robinson said that was not sufficient and an ordinance was needed.
When that was done earlier this year, Bradshaw said his intent was to create an advisory board which would report back to fiscal court with ideas. He said there was no intention on his part to create another agency to be able to go out and generate funds and to run programs.
Robinson said the magistrates were advised on the various options but she admitted that the entire situation could be confusing.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Bradshaw.
Robinson said there would be no problem changing the setup or repealing the ordinance.
Jim White, one of the parks board members, said that he felt it was only an advisory agency. He was surprised to read about the powers the members possess.
He didn’t feel Daugherty’s participation as director would be any conflict since she didn’t have a vote.
White, a longtime businessman who has been involved in youth programs for years, said she is an asset to the board and to the county.
Daugherty said she was first asked to be a parks board member but that would be a conflict, in her eyes. She said it is critical to have the parks department as it is still responsible for maintaining county facilities, such as the pools and green space.
White said whatever board is set up, it must provide vision for the future.
Ashbaugh requested Robinson draft the paperwork needed to abolish the parks board. The county judge can then work on setting up a committee to provide suggestions and ideas to fiscal court.