The recent actions by Marshall County Judge Executive Kevin Neal concerning the attempted removal of Marvin Stokes as Chairman of the county’s 109/Refuse Board, as well as other moves concerning the negotiation of a host agreement for the county’s landfill, have us scratching our heads.
The allegations Neal has made against Stokes appear weak in substantive argument that he has failed to operate in the best interest of the county’s concerns with regard to waste management.
In a series of attempts to rush an agreement with Waste Path to continue operating the landfill last year and more recently an as-of-now failed attempt to have Stokes removed as chairman of the board of the governing body, Neal has repeatedly ignored warnings of the state agency whose role it is to advise in such matters.
Officials with the Kentucky Division of Waste Management have cautioned the fiscal court that delays in the process of reaching consensus on a viable host agreement do not benefit the county’s best interest regarding the disposal of waste.
County Commissioners met with Neal in a closed session last week to determine Stokes’ fate on the board after a marathon hearing in mid-Feb. in which officials with the Frankfort body charged with the regulation of landfills were called to speak on Stokes’ behalf. Each of them reiterated Stokes has been engaged, responsible and proactive in his efforts to negotiate and proceed with needed amendments to the county’s agreement with Waste Path.
Deborah DeLong, one of those speaking in favor of keeping Stokes in his position, alleges Neal has since blocked her emails concerning the county’s host agreement.
When the court emerged from executive session last Tuesday, they chose to vote to take no action to remove Stokes rather than calling for a confidence vote on his behalf. Given that move, we believed at that time the door remained open for the judge/executive’s attempts to remove Stokes. And we were correct in our theory the story was far from over.
Neal is now taking a back-door approach to have Stokes removed from his post, saying in a meeting on Friday that his term has extended beyond its limit, insisting he should have been given notice of the impending expiration.
We’ll give the judge/executive this--he does not give up without a fight. And a fight is well and good when there’s a valid reason for it. As of yet, we and a lot of community members aren’t certain what that reason is.
Judge Neal owes the community a full explanation concerning his repeated attempts to have Stokes removed from the board at a time when something as important as a landfill host agreement is in question. His allegations thus far have done little to convince us this is anything more than politics at play.