Part One of a Series
By Eugenia Jones
We recently chatted with McCreary County Judge Executive Jimmie “Bevo” Greene about the state of the county during the challenging year of 2020 and the plans he has for moving forward in the remainder of 2021. In a series of articles beginning this week, we’ll share Judge Greene’s thoughts concerning his administration’s accomplishments during a difficult year. We’ll also introduce Judge Greene’s staff-a team of individuals Greene considers to be dedicated public servants and faithful employees of the County. In this issue, Judge Greene reflects on Fiscal Court and the Judge’s office in 2020.
“To say that 2020 was a year like no other we have seen in recent times is an understatement,” Greene declared. “The Pandemic imposed serious issues on County Government, but we learned to adapt and cope.”
Greene says technology came to the forefront with the advent of ZOOM and other avenues of conducting virtual meetings-instead of conducting meetings in-person.
“Dealing with the virus caused us to be shorthanded at times and have a loss of expected revenue from the state and occupational taxes,” Greene noted. “However, I feel like with the dedicated public servants and faithful employees of McCreary County, we did quite well under the circumstances.”
Greene said it was a group effort between the offices of the Sheriff, County Court Clerk, Circuit Court Clerk, PVA, and County Attorney that made the difference. He also credited the McCreary County Water District, the health Department, and Senior Citizens Center with playing a hug role in the success of McCreary County during the struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greene believes there is a silver lining from having to do so many things virtually instead of relying on “in person” transactions during the pandemic.
“Many forms of business learned they could locate anywhere and still function by
Internet,” Greene observed. “This opens many different possibilities. We will continue to strive to explore all options to provide opportunities for our citizens and those who might choose to start a business here.”
Magistrates (Bill Hale, Roger Phillips, Bobby Strunk, and Randy Maxwell)
Judge Greene is complimentary of the County’s magistrates.
“Your magistrates take good care of their Districts and doing the business of running County government,” Greene said. “They made the most of their road resurfacing monies.”
Greene pointed out all of the magistrates obtained their required forty hours of training even though it had to be completed virtually, and each magistrate served on two boards.
“They are willing to volunteer their time to serve the citizens of the county in any way they can,” Greene stated. “Even with the restrictions we faced, we were still able to have fourteen Fiscal Court meetings and several press conferences dealing with the Pandemic.
The magistrates also voted to secure a new jail contract. Inmates are now taken to a new facility in Knox County as opposed to Leslie County. By securing the contract, the county saves approximately 45 minutes of drive time. This, in turn, saves money and liability.
Judge Greene’s Deputy Judge is Nathan Nevels. Nathan also is the Economic Director for McCreary County and serves on the Trail Town committee, Community College Education Foundation and attends tourism meetings. He works closely with the Industrial Development Authority Board (IDA) and Kentucky Wildlands iniative. Nevels applies for grants and updates the County’s website and the McCreary County Fiscal Court Facebook page. The website and Facebook page promote the county and share job opportunities. Nevels has also worked with Litter Abatement and our local school system to coordinate and help in trash pickup.
Peggy Lawson is the office’s executive secretary. She also is the Solid Waste Coordinator and handles the tracking and payment for housing inmates at Knox County.
“Peggy saves us thousands of dollars on our inmate medical bills,” Greene noted. “In addition, she assists in the preparation and dissemination of reports, changes to administrative regulations, executive orders, and resolutions.”
Finance officer Randy Jones administers county payroll and personnel benefit programs, issues checks for all funds, maintains time sheets, insurance, and vacation and sick leave records. Randy is also active in preparing the budget and is the County Personnel Officer.
Treasurer Geraldine Laxton makes sure specified monies go into their respective funds and makes daily deposits. She prepares and present reports of the financial condition of the county and assists with budget preparation. She also serves as the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) Clerk.
“Our office, along with Michelle Perry, Brenda Blevins, and the Sheriff’s Department helped deliver numerous groceries, medicines, and senior meals during the Pandemic,” Greene stated. “We also helped to coordinate Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and the monument dedication ceremony for Medal of Honor recipient Wilburn K. Ross at the Courthouse.”
The judge’s office also coordinated and was actively involved with ARC, AML, and USDA grants that helped local businesses, schools, and manufacturers. Judge Greene’s office applied for and received grant funding available through CARES and FEMA.
In order to find opportunities to better McCreary County, the Judge’s office was also busy networking by serving on Boards and attending virtual meetings. The Judge and representatives of his office met numerous times with State and Federal leaders so McCreary County’s voice could be heard.
(Next week, the Judge will discuss tourism, county maintenance, animal control, the county park, and litter abatement.)