STANFORD — In a divided decision, the Lincoln County Fiscal Court voted Tuesday to recommend Brenda Todd as the new interim magistrate for the second district.
Todd is the widow of deceased Magistrate Dexter Todd, who died from complications following out-patient surgery in April.
The court's recommendation will be sent to Gov. Steve Beshear's office in Frankfort, and the governor will then be responsible for making an appointment.
The court was split 2-1 on the decision, with magistrates David Faulkner and Joe Stanley voting yes and Magistrate Johnnie Padgett voting no.
Faulkner, who made the motion to recommend Todd for the position, said it's pretty much an "unwritten tradition in Kentucky" that family members are appointed to fill out the remainder of magistrates' terms if they die.
"April 19 we lost our second district Magistrate Dexter Todd and not only was that a great loss for this court … but it was a great loss for the people and their representation," Faulkner said before making the motion.
Before asking for a second, Judge-Executive Jim Adams made it clear the motion could only be for a recommendation to be sent to the governor and nothing more.
"We don't have the authority to appoint the interim court member," he said.
Stanley seconded the motion, commenting that appointing someone to the seat will allow second-district residents to have representation through the end of the year.
Adams said he disagreed with the characterization of the second district as un-represented.
"Believe it or not, they still have representation. That's my district; that's where I live at," he said. "I was the magistrate there the last four years of the previous term."
Adams called for the vote and Faulkner and Stanley voted "aye" immediately. Padgett paused briefly when Adams asked for any votes against, before voting "no."
"I'm going to stay neutral, as I have said from the very beginning and there will be no vote from my seat," Adams said. "Therefore, the recommendation will be made that Dexter Todd's wife Brenda will be named the interim magistrate.
"As far as notifying the governor's office, I'm going to call and tell them that the recommendation was voted on, and that's as far as I'm going to go."
Faulkner and Stanley had initially announced their desire to have Brenda Todd appointed in May, at which time Adams had said he was opposed to appointing anyone because the Democratic and Republican parties had not chosen their candidates for the fall election.
Appointing someone at that time would have been equivalent to making that choice for one party or the other, since whoever was appointed would have a high likelihood of then becoming their party's nominee, Adams said.
Faulkner said he made the motion for Brenda Todd now because the two parties have chosen their candidates and Brenda Todd, a Republican, will not be running.
Crab Orchard resident Lonnie Pruitt will be the Republican nominee, while Democrats are running former magistrate Bill Dyehouse.
Adams said Tuesday he is still "totally neutral" on the issue because he doesn't think it would be fair to pick one of the 14 people who applied to become interim magistrate.
"They're all quality people. … I can't distinguish, I can't make that decision in all fairness to them," he said. "I've been chosen last before."