In Feb. 11 Issue
We were very disappointed this week at the leadership or perhaps the lack of leadership of the Russell Fiscal Court.
The Fiscal Court attempted to take action which would change the status of the legal advertising procedure for the county.
The court was presented a request from the Russell Register to take the legal advertising designation from the Times Journal and direct legal county advertising to the Russell Register.
The legal advertising deiganee is placed with the newspaper with the largest in-county paid circulation.
This action by the court was done without any notice to The Times Journal, without any official documentation from The Times Journal and even against the advice of the county attorney as he asked to allow time to research the matter.
The court, in a five to one vote passed a motion to designate The Russell Register the legal advertising recipient without ever seeing any official documentation from The Times Journal. The only figures any court member reviewed pertaining to The Times Journal was an unsigned copy of a statement of ownership apparently prepared by The Russell Register as it was not signed by any representative of The Times Journal.
Greg Popplewell was the only magistrate voting no with Magistrates Steve Bledsoe, Gary Roberson, Ronald Johnson, and Jimmy McQueary, all voting to make the change without any request for documentation from The Times Journal or any documentation of paid subscription numbers.
The court then proceeded to pass a motion without questioning the fact whether they had the authority to do so or to seek the correct procedure it should or could take.
This clearly indicates to us the lack of leadership from the county judge executive in working with and advising the court and leaves us with great disappointment that the magistrates apparently did not think for themselves or perform their duties in the best interest of the county.
It could be devastating to the county and to the people of this county if legal issues for the county were advertised in an illegal manner.
KRS 424 states the exact manner in which the Statement of Ownership, published and filed with the United States Postal Services, is to be used in determining this legal designation. Using these figures, the USPS statement shows The Times Journal with 4110 paid subscribers and The Russell Register with 2722.
We were also surprised to see a statement from Richard Shivel, Jamestown’s Postmaster, stating the Russell Register has a certain number of paid subscriptions. We certainly stand corrected if we are mistaken, but we cannot understand how Mr. Shivell could verify any number of “paid” subscriptions unless he or the postal service have conducted a complete audit of the Russell Register’s mailing list. We doubt they have.
Greg Wells, Managing Editor of The Times Journal was present at the meeting and attempted to inform the court of the correct way to handle the issue, but this was ignored as it appeared quite obvious to us the issue was politically motivated and certainly not legally questioned.
The Times Journal is prepared to take what action necessary to make certain legal advertisements for this county are handled in a legal and efficient manner.