Spencer talks budget, alcohol ordinance and concerns on potential of election fraud

  • Fiscal Court
    Fiscal Court

    Pendleton County Clerk Rita Spencer was present to answer questions and have a discussion with the court about her office’s proposed budget for 2020-21. While she is an elected official and chosen by voters to run the county clerk office, the finances of her office is overseen by fiscal court.
    There were several questions as the personnel and payroll costs for the county clerk office. With two recent or upcoming retirements, it was assumed that the labor costs would decrease as less experienced workers will move into the positions left vacant by the retirements of seasoned employees. Linda Longworth retired in July of 2020 and Darlene Faulkner is tentatively scheduled to retire on June 1, 2021.
    District 4 Magistrate Rick Mineer had several questions on the topic including questioning Spencer on whether the employees taking the duties would have their hourly wage raised “just because the funds are there.”
    Spencer assured him, “No, that’s not how it works.”
    Presently at $3.128 million for third quarter, Spencer’s office is projected to be at $36.9 million for the fiscal year.
    Mineer’s line of questioning was a result of the cost to the county for the employees of the court clerk office.
    “The reason I ask is that it costs the county about $92,000 for benefits of the employees of the clerk’s office,” he offered.
    He pointed out that the excess fees that are returned to the county come in at about $70,000 which would leave the county having to pick up the $20-30,000 difference.
    “If every thing holds true to the way we got it,” said Mineer.
    He  moved onto questioning about the alcohol licensing going through her office but she offered some pushback on the voting machines used this year. Without the CARES funds, that cost would have had to be picked up by the county. In a response from a magistrate, she did joke that the machines were not from Dominion, the company that has made headlines for voting irregularities using the company’s machines.
    “I have been following all of that, and it has been very interesting. I am familiar with the Premier and Dominion machines, and I know what they are talking about. I don’t know. There are too many coincidences for me to be a little unsettled about it,” she said.
    Fields posed the question, “You couldn’t say for sure that it could be done?”
    She answered, “I’m saying that it probably could be done.”
    Plummer brought the information from a retired Army colonel who raised questions on the Beshear/Bevin race and voting irregularities in it.
    “What’s very interesting to me is if they are targeting these big cities like Fayette and Jefferson counties, they are tremendously Democratic cities, and if it’s true what I have seen where the votes were flipped from Bevin to Beshear, it’s very possible that 2018 might have been a little bit skeptical,” she said before adding “I don’t know.”
    She went on to praise the Pendleton County Election Board while cautioning that if a county does not have a strong election board, she could see a company come in and do some of the things being talked about.
    “I have to commend everyone who put on this election. And not me. We had all of the employees, the processing committee, the board, Mike Moore, the judge--it worked smoothly along the way,” she said.