In Feb. 12 IssueBy John ThompsonNews-Register Reporter
Many counties in Kentucky have a deputy county judge executive as did Russell County in the past but it has been a while - until now.
When County Judge-Executive Gary Robertson took office, one of his first acts was to appoint Chris Ramsey to the position of deputy judge. Ramsey, while not new to the political scene, is new to it in Russell County. Ramsey is a native of Somerset and currently lives in Russell Springs. After graduating high school in Somerset he attended Lindsey Wilson College where he received a degree in Business Administration in 2001.
While attending school, he met his future wife, Marisa Price of Russell Springs. They have been married 10 years and have three children.
After school he became assistant director for the Somerset-Pulaski County Development Foundation.
"My background is in economic development,” said Ramsey. “My role there was in community development, where I would assist in grants and assist in economic development."
Ramsey has also headed up the campaign for a judge-executive candidate in Pulaski County.
Robertson met with Ramsey while campaigning and asked for his assistance in the campaign.
"We talked two hours or more and saw we had a lot in common, a lot of the same philosophies," Ramsey said. "So I helped with his campaign and when he became judge he asked me to come on board and help him."
According to Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) the role of a Deputy Judge Executive is wide ranging but still limited.
"Primarily, the role of a deputy judge is to fill in at meetings or whatever the judge-executive determines the deputy judge will do," said Ramsey. "The only two things, according to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is to facilitate a marriage and cannot oversee a fiscal court meeting."
In the event the Judge Executive is unable to head a fiscal court meeting the Judge Pro-tem will head such meeting. Magistrate Ronald Johnson is the Judge Pro-tem for Russell County and would oversee a fiscal court meeting in the case that Robertson was unable.
"As an appointed official I serve at the pleasure of the judge-executive," said Ramsey
Judge Robertson said that the role Ramsey will play will not fully encompass the limits as outlined in KRS.
"There are a lot of different boards and committees that need to be attended. It's not possible for one person to attend them all and we're trying to cover about everything. Sometimes there's even two in the same night," said Robertson. "Plus he's very good with computer things and will be a big help in getting our website going and keeping it updated. That will allow us to let people know what's going on in the county government, what we're working on, meeting agendas and that sort of thing."
Additionally, Robertson said Ramsey will be invaluable in helping do research for him, whether in looking into available programs, possible grant opportunities or KRS statutes research.
Robertson says Ramsey will act as a liaison with the diverse group of committees in the county as well as city council meetings.
"A lot of committees want to talk about issues and this will insure that the office will be kept fully informed of concerns throughout the county," Robertson said.
"What I want to get across to the people of Russell County is I understand I'm not elected. Gary was elected. I'm there to serve," said Ramsey. "I'm here to serve in whatever capacity that will help facilitate the people of Russell County and the administration of Judge Robertson."
"In a nutshell it's hard for a county judge to make a decision without knowing what's going on in all entities. If they don't know, they may make a decision that adversely affects another group," Ramsey said.
An issue sometimes expressed has been whether or not creating a position of deputy judge is a wise use of limited resources.
"There are times that the judge might need to focus on issues that will directly financially impact Russell County and he may have to in Frankfort or anywhere else that might be able to draw resources into the county," said Ramsey, "yet the needs of the people of Russell County will need prompt attention also. Its times like these having a Deputy Judge attend meetings or address people's needs more directly are helpful for Gary and the people of Russell County."