Fireworks fly during fiscal court meeting
PRESTONSBURG — There was yet another round of verbal sparring in the long-running feud between the fiscal court and the jail last week, when Jailer Roger Webb and Lois Marshall, wife of Judge-Executive R.D. “Doc” Marshall and an administrative assistant in his office, squared off over overdue raises for jail deputies, during Friday’s regular meeting of the Floyd County Fiscal Court.
During his jail report on Friday, Jailer Roger Webb asked the court to address the need of several jail employees to have their probationary and one year raises put into place.
Judge Marshall initially stated that the matter of the jail employee raises would be discussed in closed session, though when questioned about the use of executive session, relented to discussing the matter in the open forum.
Executive session allows for the court to discuss matters of pending litigation and individual personnel matters behind closed doors. The matter of raises for jail employees appeared on the surface to be one of policy, wherein jail employees are due incremental adjustments after periods of probation and again after one year of employment, and not a matter of individual personnel decisions that would justify the use of executive session.
What touched off the confrontation between Lois Marshall and Webb was when Deputy Jailer Michael Fishbaugh said he had asked Marshall about the raises, and her response had been that “there wouldn’t be any raises.”
Lois Marshall then stood up in court and said, “I’m sorry, I’ve never seen you, sir.”
After a short discussion, the court decided if in fact the raises were due to the employees, they should be enacted. The motion was made by Magistrate Hattie Owens and seconded by Magistrate Warren Jarrell. All of the magistrates and Judge Marshall, though only symbolically, voted aye for the measure to adjust the jail employees wages.
Judge Marshall then spoke to Deputy Fishbaugh, “I don’t think you were speaking to Mrs. Marshall.”
Moments later, as the jail deputies left the courtroom, Lois Marshall followed them into the hallway and a heated discussion ensued. Marshall stated emphatically to the deputy that he did not speak to her. “I don’t do payroll,” Marshall said.
Deputy Fishbaugh, retreating toward the back, saying simply, “I wouldn’t have made it up, ma’am.”
Marshall then stormed back into the courtroom, exclaiming, “I’m sick of people lying about me.”
Court proceeded relatively quietly afterwards, though voices raised again after the court had adjourned, as Lois Marshall and the Jailer Roger Webb continued to debate the statements of Jail Deputy Michael Fishbaugh.
Marshall suggested that Webb had goaded the deputy into bringing her up in court as yet another shot fired in the feud between the jailer and the administration. “Why would they have brought me into it?” asked Marshall. “I don’t have anything to do with it.” Marshall was hired by the court last spring to work as an administrative assistant for the court.
Webb replied that Marshall would have to get a statement from the deputies, that he didn’t have anything to do with their statements during the court meeting. Webb asked if Fishbaugh had told Marshall that the jailer put him up to bringing up Marshall’s name in court. “No,” said Webb vehemently, “because he can’t say it. I didn’t tell none of them to come over here.”
Webb said his staff is welcome to come over and ask about their raises without any goading from him.
“That’s right,” Lois Marshall said. “That’s the purpose of this court, but its not the purpose of this court to sit in here and pass blame on somebody who has nothing to do with it.”
“The truth doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s the lies that tear us apart.”
Webb reiterated that Fishbaugh’s statements were his own thoughts. “I have no influence over it, or who he spoke to.”
Ella Clay, finance officer for the court, said Tuesday that she did not have a copy of the jail’s policies regarding their payscale, and that she isn’t aware of how and when jail employee raises are applied. Clay indicated that other county employees are not given as many raises as the jail staff.
Clay, who handles the county’s payroll, said jail employees had not come to see her to ask about raises, but added that it’s not typical for employees to ask her about such matters. “They normally go to their supervisor first, which would be Roger, and then he would come to me.”
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