Martin residents protest against fiscal court

Aaron K. Nelson anelson@civitasmedia.com

May 6, 2014

PRESTONSBURG — Protesters against the policies and actions of the Floyd County Fiscal Court set up a demonstration in front of the old courthouse on Monday and Tuesday.

Mark McKinney and his mother Phyllis displayed signs lambasting what they claim to be corruption and nepotism among members of the court. They say the only cure would be an entirely new fiscal court voted in on election day, and perhaps even a criminal investigation by the FBI.

“I’m only trying to do what’s right for Floyd County,” Mark McKinney explained.

Their grievances date back over a year, to March 2013, when they say they reached out to county officials to fix a cemetery access road near the town of Martin. The road, they say, was adopted into the county infrastructure under a previous county judge-executive.

At the Jan. 17 meeting of the Floyd County Fiscal Court, the McKinneys took to the podium to air their grievances, beginning with a sarcastic “thank you” for gutting the local sheriff’s department, and then asking why the road had not been repaired after 10 months of requests. They say nearby Hancock Branch had received drainage pipes and repairs, when this cemetery road had been passed over.

Furthermore, they alleged that District 3 Magistrate Warren Jarrell, who oversees the region in question, had dumped gravel in a nearby private driveway belonging to his cousin, and reported that it had been a repair of the cemetery road. At the meeting, this proved to be the fundamental point of contention between Jarrell and the McKinney family, with Jarrell insisting that the gravel was indeed used to fix the road, and the McKinneys brandishing photographic and audio evidence they say supports their claim to the contrary.

The McKinneys’ protest gained no additional participants, but several passers-by stopped to ask more about their objections to the court. One man on his way into the courthouse skimmed the signs and gave them a friendly “Amen” as he passed.

Magistrate Jarrell could not be reached for comment.