Gov’t Employment Termination: KELLEY V. MILLER (COA10/12/2007)

KELLEY V. MILLER
EMPLOYMENT LAW: GOVERNMENT JOB TERMINATION; COUNTY PLANNER NOT HIRED BY FISCAL COURT BUT JUDGE EXECUTIVE

2006-CA-001451
PUBLISHED: AFFIRMING
PANEL: VANMETER PRESIDING; DIXON, GRAVES CONCUR
COUNTY: MARSHALL
DATE RENDERED: 10/12/2007

COA affirmed summary judgment terminating employment of county planner Kelley in which the trial court concluded that if Kelley’s employment was at the pleasure of the county judge/executive pursuant to KRS 67.711, that official also was vested with the authority to terminate Kelley’s employment, and in the alternative if Kelley’s appointment depended on the fiscal court’s approval, his employment was void ab initio since fiscal court approval was never obtained for his hiring. Thus, it was unnecessary to obtain fiscal court approval for his firing from such unapproved employment.

The functions of county fiscal courts and county commissioners are governed by KRS 67.710 which specifies that a county judge/executive’s responsibilities “include, but are not limited to,” the duty to [e]xercise with the approval of the fiscal court the authority to appoint, supervise, suspend, and remove county personnel (unless otherwise provided by state law)[.] KRS 67.710(7).

Kelley’s job description clearly and repeatedly provides that the county planner must follow the directions of the county judge/executive, rather than those of the fiscal court and confirms that the county planner is appointed by, serves at the pleasure of, and is a member of the office of the county judge/executive.

As the fiscal court is given no role in the county planner’s hiring, firing, or supervision, COA found no merit in Kelley’s claim that his hiring was ratified by the fiscal court. The trial court did not err by entering summary judgment for appellees.

Digested by Michael Stevens

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are inappropriate, offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.