Since I filed for election as McCracken County Judge Executive many people have asked many questions about the position.  They typically start out “Hey Judge” and then the question.  And so is born this continuing “Hey Judge” column addressing questions regarding McCracken County government.  Today:

“HEY JUDGE” What is a Judge Executive?

Although it is called “County Judge/Executive”, and the person elected to the position is called “Judge”, he or she has no judicial responsibilities.  The Judge Executive (JE) is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the county.  The position is established by section 144 of the Kentucky Constitution.

The JE is elected to a four-year term and serves as the head of the executive branch of the county’s government, but also is an ex officio member of the county’s Fiscal Court, the legislative body, having an equal vote with the county’s three Commissioners.

Before the Kentucky Constitution of 1850, the primary county administrator was the “justice of the peace” who did have judicial, legislative, and executive powers, until Kentucky government was reorganized into three separate branches in 1975.

The powers and duties of the J.E. are found in Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 67.710, and generally the J.E. “…shall be responsible for the proper administration of the affairs of the county….”

The statutory duties include, but are not limited to:

  1. Execute all ordinances, resolutions, contracts and laws applicable to the county.
  2. Prepare and revise administrative procedures for county operation to be approved by the fiscal court.
  3. Inform the fiscal court of county operations.
  4. Require all officials, except city government, whose offices use county funds to make an annual financial report.
  5. Prepare, submit to the fiscal court, and administer an annual budget.
  6. Advise the fiscal court as to the county financial condition and needs.
  7. With the fiscal court approval, appoint, supervise, suspend, and remove county personnel.
  8. With the fiscal court approval, appoint and remove members from boards, commissions, and administrative positions.

A most important duty, not expressly stated, is to serve as the county’s ambassador to other governments; state, federal, and city, and maintain positive relationships for the common good.

Next “Hey Judge” segment:  What are the top priorities for McCracken County?

Craig Clymer

McCracken Circuit Judge, Retired