LANCASTER — Several residents spoke Monday during Garrard County Fiscal Court’s meeting in favor of retaining Economic Development Director Nathan Mick at his current salary level.
Three of the county’s five magistrates have voted down two efforts to pass the 2012-13 budget, which includes Mick’s salary of $68,500, saying it is too much money for the county to spend. At a special meeting last week, Magistrates Joe Leavell and Fred Simpson said the Industrial Development Authority rather than Garrard Judge-Executive John Wilson should supervise Mick.
Lancaster resident Harlan Bratton said before Mick worked to bring more businesses in the county, he and other area farmers had to go to Lexington to get many of the items they need to conduct business.
Bratton individually challenged Leavell, Simpson and Magistrate Betty Holtzclaw — who also twice voted down the proposed budget — asking them what they had done for their community.
“I love this county,” Holtzclaw said. “I’m trying to do the right thing.”
Simpson and Leavell again said they do not have a problem with Mick’s work but do have issues with the amount he is paid as well as Wilson supervising him. Mick recently ran for the Republican nomination for 36th District state representative against Lancaster farmer Jonathan Shell, and Wilson endorsed Mick for the position. About one week before the election, Leavell raised issues about Mick’s salary, and Wilson alleged the move was politically motivated. Mick lost the election.
Former Lancaster Mayor Don Rinthen said Mick does everything required of his job as well as duties that go beyond his job description.
“Nathan had a hand in every aspect of our county’s growth during my four years as mayor,” Rinthen said. “His salary is up there, but you are not going to get quality people paying peanuts. You’re only going to get what you pay for.”
Magistrates will again attempt to pass a 2012-13 budget at a special meeting, for which a date has not been set.
Lancaster City Council will decide during a special meeting today whether to contribute $10,000 to the IDA to help pay for Mick’s position.
The IDA has pledged $10,000 toward Mick’s job and would be willing to supervise him if the magistrates required, said Jim Minteer, vice president of the IDA.
In other business, Fiscal Court unanimously voted to change its regular meeting time to 6:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month. Holtzclaw made the suggestion, saying the 9 a.m. meeting time made it inconvenient for citizens to participate without taking time off from their jobs.