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Silence deafening after court polled on allegation

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE – Vivian Adams took the podium and began her speech to Bullitt Fiscal Court about the pursuit of excellence in government.

     But, by the end of the conversation, talks returned to comments by one magistrate about the operations of another elected official and the re-emergence of the age-old game of boys versus girls.

     During the quarterly nighttime meeting of fiscal court, Adams talked about her concerns over the lack of proper funding for county attorney Monica Robinson’s office.

     That led into a conversation she had at a Lebanon Junction town forum with one of the magistrates.

     During that conversation, Adams said she asked the magistrate why he didn’t favor the proposed budget. She said there was silence, which she took as him having some type of hidden agenda.

     Then the magistrate, whom she would not disclose, mentioned misappropriation of funds to the tune of $43,000 by the county attorney.

     The conversation also mentioned his concern that county judge Melanie Roberts didn’t wanted to talk to the men.

     Adams said these differences must be resolved for county government to move forward toward its pursuit of excellence.

     Her final question to the fiscal court members was whether they would vote in favor of the proposed budget, which keeps the funding level for the county attorney consistent with its present funding.

     Robinson said that the magistrates couldn’t make a commitment because the budget was not up for a vote that night.

     However, she was very concerned about comments made about her office.

     Being accused of a crime, Robinson said she was owed some explanation.

     “You’ve accused me of a crime,” said Robinson. “I deserve to know what it is.”

     She said the comment went into the area of personal slander.

     Robinson said her office has undergone several audits and an investigation into its child support division. Each report came back clean.

     “So nobody knows,” Robinson said to the magistrates. “I would just like an explanation.”

     Robinson said the $43,000 figure was something very specific and she deserved the decency of the court for an explanation on who said it and why.

     Brenda Board, who was close enough to hear some of the discussion at the We the People town forum, said this is something that fiscal court needs to research the facts.

     Magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh said she couldn’t understand why anyone would say that $43,000 was misappropriated without coming forward and having proof.

     “It is time for the people to know the stuff that is going on,” said Ashbaugh, who has made several comments over the past three years about fighting against the “good old boys’ club.”

     She said there is no reason why the women on the court can’t see the budget until the last minute.

     (The county judge is required to give her budget to the court members by May 1. After that point, changes can be made until final approval, which is due by the end of June.)

     “It has to happen their way,” said Ashbaugh.

     Roberts inquired if there were any changes so far on the budget but there was no response from magistrates John Bradshaw, Joe Laswell or Bob Hunt.

     “Are the three men involved in this?” inquired Ashbaugh, who received no response.

     The changes proposed for the budget could come at the June 18 meeting; however, a special meeting has been set up for June 27 for the final passage.