Thesecond meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government was held on Wednesday, September 26, 2001, at 10:00 AM, in Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Steve Riggs, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Members:Senator Albert Robinson, Co-Chair; Representative Steve Riggs, Co-Chair; Senators Charlie Borders, David Boswell, Ernie Harris, Alice Kerr, Ernesto Scorsone, Elizabeth Tori, and Johnny Turner; Representatives John Adams, Adrian Arnold, Scott Brinkman, Ron Crimm, J. R. Gray, Charlie Hoffman, Stan Lee, Reginald Meeks, William Scott, Brandon Smith, Roger Thomas, and Jim Wayne.
Guests: Janet Hall and Shane Peck, Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction; F. J. Finn and Richard Tanner, Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association; Carroll County Sheriff Charles Maiden, Kentucky Sheriff’s Association; Jefferson County Sheriff John Aubrey; Jefferson County Deputy Sheriffs Mike Hettich and Less Russell; Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt; Franklin County Sheriff Ted Collins; Denny Nunnelley, Kentucky Association of Counties; Bert May, Kentucky League of Cities; Jack Couch, Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts; Wade Helm, Kentucky Conservation Committee; and Mike Ridenour, Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
LRC Staff: Jamie Franklin, Donna Gaines, Mark Mitchell, Joe Pinczewski-Lee, Alice Carter, Jan Harris, Rebecca Mullins, and Cheryl Walters.
Upon the motion of Senator Scorsone, seconded by Senator Boswell, the minutes of the August 22, 2001 meeting were approved.
The first order of business was review of Kentucky Administrative Regulation 815 KAR 4:010, relating to annual inspection of passenger elevators. Chairman Riggs recognized Ms. Janet Hall, General Counsel for the Department of Housing, Buildings and Construction, to explain the regulation. Ms. Hall introduced Mr. Shane Peck, with the Division of Elevator Inspection, who was available to answer specific questions from the committee.
Ms. Hall explained that the regulation raises the fee for inspection of elevators in order to maintain the quality of the inspections. Chairman Riggs asked what the fee was previously and why it was being changed. Mr. Peck said the fee was $55 and it was being raised to $100. Chairman Riggs also asked if safety improvement were going to be made as a result of the regulation. Mr. Peck replied that improvements were going to be made to escalators.
Representative Wayne asked how long it took to inspect elevators. Mr. Peck answered that it takes 45 minutes for an elevator and two to three hours for an escalator. Representative Wayne also asked how much it cost to inspect an escalator. Mr. Peck said about $100.
Representative Smith stated that he noticed in some elevators, there were not certificates of inspection posted. Mr. Peck replied that in the past some certificates had been stolen and the certificates had been put on file in the main offices of a business, but that they were being put back into the elevators.
Regarding the safety of escalators, Senator Tori asked how many accidents were reported monthly. Mr. Peck stated that most of the accidents occur at the Greater Northern Kentucky airport, which is one or two each month. He noted that around the holidays, there are about 15 or 20 accidents that occur, which are usually the fault of the person, not the escalator. Out of those accidents, most are children.
There being no further discussion, Representative Crimm moved, seconded by Representative Wayne, to approve 815 KAR 4:010 as submitted. The motion carried by voice vote.
The next item of business was a presentation on the role and duties of the office of magistrate and commissioner. Chairman Riggs recognized Mr. Richard Tanner, Executive Director of the Kentucky Magistrates and Commissioners Association (KMCA). Mr. Tanner introduced Mr. F. J. Finn, Mason County Commissioner and President of the KMCA .
Referring to information included in the members’ folders regarding the qualifications of magistrates and commissioners, Mr. Tanner stated that the only difference between the two is how they are elected.
Regarding the duties of magistrates and commissioners, Mr. Tanner explained that the sole focus of magistrates and commissioners is to function as the legislators in the fiscal court. He said the fiscal court appropriates county funds, 50% of which is to provide for the incarceration of prisoners. He also said home rule grants further powers to fiscal courts, which include carrying out governmental functions necessary for the operation of the county. Mr. Tanner noted that magistrates and commissioners do not have administrative duties. The county judge/executive has those duties. He said the fiscal court also has discretionary powers, which include regulating and controlling the fiscal affairs of the county.
Regarding the maximum allowable $50,833 per year compensation for magistrates and commissioners, Mr. Tanner stated that the Attorney General has ruled that only full-time magistrates and commissioners may receive that level of compensation. He noted that these officials are full-time all of the time when dealing with the public.
Mr. Finn next addressed the committee. He told the members that there were six issues that the KMCA had for the upcoming 2002 session of the General Assembly:
1. Tax reform, in regard to the occupational license tax and the insurance premium tax. Mr. Finn stated that cities and counties should work together. He said KMCA will support the recommendations of the Advisory Committee on City and County Relations regarding this issue;
2. Water. Mr. Finn stated that KMCA supports good and clean water for all residents of Kentucky;
3. Election costs. Mr. Finn said the amount given to counties needs to be $750 per precinct instead of $300;
4. Solid waste. Mr. Finn told the committee that legislation is being prepared which will be fair to everyone. He noted that the bill will have no unfunded mandates;
5. Smart growth. Mr. Finn stated that the KMCA promotes “home rule” for planning and zoning; and
6. Mandates. Mr. Finn stressed that the KMCA is opposed to unfunded mandates.
Regarding the Attorney General ruling that only full-time magistrates and commissioners may receive the maximum allowable $50,833 per year in compensation, Senator Robinson asked when the Attorney General made that ruling. Mr. Tanner replied that there have been many rulings since 1999. Senator Robinson requested that staff find out the exact date when that ruling was made. Mr. Tanner noted that there is only one county in the state that pays the maximum compensation to magistrates and commissioners and that is Jefferson County.
Chairman Riggs commented that the list of magistrates and commissioners’ salaries included in their folders is incomplete. Mr. Finn said he would provide a more complete list to the committee.
Representative Crimm asked if justices of the peace have any duties. Mr. Tanner said they can perform marriages. Mr. Finn added that most counties do not pay justices of the peace who have no duties. He said if they are not fiscal court members with court duties, they do not get paid or receive insurance benefits.
The last order of business was a presentation on the role and duties of the office of sheriff. Chairman Riggs introduced Sheriff Charles Maiden, President of the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association, Colonel John Aubrey, Jefferson County Sheriff, and Sheriff Kathy Witt, Fayette County Sheriff.
Sheriff Maiden began by telling the committee that one of the Association’s concerns was KRS 64.140, relating to the advancement of funding to sheriffs for expenses, in which it states that “in no event shall it exceed $30,000 per month.” He said the sheriff’s office does not get enough money from the state to run the office. He said the amount should be $60,000 per month instead of $30,000 because he winds up having to borrow money every year in order to run his office. Sheriff Maiden asked that the statute be changed.
Chairman Riggs asked who sets that rate. Sheriff Maiden replied that the Department for Local Government sets that rate. He said the Association is asking that the formula be changed.
Senator Harris asked who came up with the $60,000 figure. Sheriff Maiden stated that it was just a figure the Association came up with and that it should be sufficient.
Representative Wayne commented that a cost-of-living clause might need to be added to future legislation.
Colonel Aubrey next addressed the committee. He told members that in the last session, SB 326 was approved by both Houses of the General Assembly. It increased from $5 to $12 the amount of criminal case court costs to be paid to sheriffs due to increased security costs in the courthouses around the Commonwealth. Although SB 326 was signed into law, the biennial budget bill, HB 502, also contained a $4 million appropriation to the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for courthouse security. The conference committee on HB 502 took the sheriffs’ $7 increase and gave control of it to the Finance and Administration Cabinet for the sole purpose of increased courthouse security. As a result, the sheriffs did not see any of the increased court costs despite the fact the sheriff has the statutory duty to provide the security for every courtroom in the Commonwealth.
In addition, Colonel Aubrey told the committee that the Association had two other issues of interest. First, the implementation by law enforcement agencies of employment contracts between new hirees and employers. He said the officers are leaving before the local governments can recoup their training costs. He said it takes about three years to recover this expense. Colonel Aubrey said his department provides 16 weeks of training, a uniform, etc.
Secondly, Colonel Aubrey stated that 33 pieces of paper are processed in Jefferson County that sheriffs file. He said the fees for processing these paper are anywhere from $3 to $20. Colonel Aubrey stated that there needs to be a standardized fee schedule.
Representative Brinkman asked how his office was funded. Colonel Aubrey replied that 82% of his budget comes from tax collection and the remainder is from fee collection.
Representative Meeks asked if the officer is trained by one agency and then pulled away to another. Colonel Aubrey replied yes, that once the officer is certified, he can go anywhere. He said he would like for them to stay long enough so his department could get a return on their investment. Representative Meeks asked if this movement was going on in all counties. Sheriff Maiden replied yes.
Representative Gray commented that the committee should look into changing KRS 64.140 that relates to the advancement to sheriffs for expenses. He said a sheriff should not have to borrow money to run his office.
Senator Borders stated that he had a concern that deputy sheriffs could not carry concealed weapons. He asked Sheriff Maiden if this was true. Sheriff Maiden replied yes. Senator Borders commented that he would like that issue to be addressed.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m.