If I were the new attorney general, I would perform a forensic audit in every county and start with Pike.

I’m sure saying that makes a lot of people want to shake their head and think I’m a fool, which won’t hurt my feelings because I care not one bit about that stuff. But if you think about it, what I say may makes sense, just don’t tell anyone.

From 1999 to 2015 Pike County received anywhere from $4 million to $12 million a year in coal severance money. This year we will get less than $1 million. The local lawmakers lived high off the hog. They hired their buddies, family members and others who promised to vote them back into office while they squandered that money away.

Over the last 21 years and even more, there was never any concern about the landfill, the Solid Waste department, the legal and safe operation of the county’s vehicles. There was no safety or accountability measures for the employees who were supposed to be out working each day taking care of the county.

What the county taxpayers did see was excessive amounts of money spent on frivolous nonsense like studies to determine if a new city could be formed, or if coal could be turned into liquid — hair-brained ideas that went nowhere.  

Those examples are a tip of the iceberg. Previous judges have hired photographers to showcase everything they did to look good to the public while robbing us blind when the camera was off.  I wish the camera was on during the corruption so the crooks can be in jail.

Previous magistrates hired people to drive them to conventions where they brought family members who got hurt and sued the county for their injury. It’s criminal.

Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones is left holding the bag for all the misgivings of his crooked predecessors. He instituted safety regulations and is actually requiring all employees who drive a county vehicle to have a valid drivers license, unlike in the past.

Jones is addressing the landfill, the shoddy vehicle problem, the accountability issue with employees and a host of other issues that were never addressed and, to some, he looks like the bad guy.

Jones is doing this with less that $1 million of coal severance money. Which begs the question, if it can be done now, why wasn’t that done in the past? And where did that extra money go? An audit may tell us where that money went and who needs to go to jail.

Jones is doing less with more. He also has good people doing their jobs so the supplements from the court are lower. Sheriff Scott has new vehicles; quality, trained deputies and is fighting more crime now than ever with less money from the court. Getting the crooks out of the sheriff’s department helped.

Jailer Brian Morris is actually generating money and is asking for less money than ever before. He increased safety, and has better protection to keep drugs out of the jail. These two guys have created fiscal responsibility within their departments, which lowers the burden on the fiscal court and the taxpayers, all while out-performing their predecessors.

Jones and his team are cleaning up the mess that was left for him over the last 20 years. He must have his head examined for taking this job, but he is damned determined to fix this county and, so far, he’s on the right track.

Thanks for reading the News-Express.

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