Fayette County Motion Sickness
If the Democrat commissioners of Fayette County wanted a skilled attorney to act as a consultant to restructure
their solicitor's office and advise their department heads how to avoid costly lawsuits, why didn't they just hire a
consultant on a short term basis to provide training?
One would think that Felice Associates, whose mega human resource contract was renewed 4 months ago
without being on a meeting agenda, could or should be handling such trainings and be all the pro-active technical
assistance that the county would need.
But if added help outside of Attorney John Felice's league really is needed, then why didn't the county just turn
on the Bat Signal SOS properly?
It was quite painful this morning to watch the county commission meeting. That's putting it mildly.
From last week's agenda meeting to this morning's monthly regular meeting, magically, a resolution was
changed. OK, not magically. The commission chairman rewrote the resolution passed last week to change the
mumbo jumbo language, as per the county clerk.
"That is not permitted," called out Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink about the change. Again, this column
reiterates that she should not have to be providing technical assistance to her fellow commissioners. And seven
and one-half months into his tenure on the board, the commission chair shouldn't have to have asked the solicitor
if the resolution needed changed formally at today's meeting to allow prior public input before the vote.
Commission Chairman Al Ambrosini did not even bring copies of the original or modified resolutions with him to
the meeting. He wrote it, then just days ago rewrote it, but still had to ask the minority commissioner during the
exchange what it said.
No kidding! That jaw dropping moment really happened.
And, meanwhile, the change in the mumbo jumbo still means that no single commissioner besides Ambrosini can
direct the interim solicitor without approval from a second commissioner.
"If I deem it necessary to contact a solicitor, I will do that," Zimmerlink countered. Count on her meaning that,
Speaking of the interim solicitor, Ambrosini said, Attorney Ken Burkley "knows what his mission is," referring to
Burkey's job to "develop educational tools and advisory type processes" to enlighten boards to stop civil litigations
against the county.
"There should be no reason to give him extra duties," Ambrosini commented. Restricting either of the other two
commissioners from reaching out for the interim solicitor's legal assistance "will promote the democratic
process" he reasoned aloud.
Well, at least Commissioner Vince Zapotosky bought it.
If it all really was just what it is supposed to be -- i.e., if Burkley is hired as a consultant to decrease the number
of civil lawsuits against the county -- do they really think that Zimmerlink or Zapotosky would divert him from
his task and assign him umpteen other things to do? If it were all in a clearly written contract that his work was
limited to reviewing lawsuits and strengthing the county's ability to divert "bizarre" lawsuits as Ambrosini referred
to them, why did they need to gag two commissioners? Or go through all the notion motions just to limit or
Because Zapotosky, obviously, didn't mind giving up some of his power as a commissioner, as Mrs. Mazza
nicely put it.
And because, too, they likely already know who the future solicitor will be after the interim's work is
conducted... Our guess will be the attorney currently representing a former and sitting commissioner in the
minority commissioner's civil lawsuit, someone Ambrosini knows who quite hasn't passed the bar exam yet, or
someone he knows who's about to retire in the next year from government service.
Some saw this coming from the moment Ambrosini walked into an early 2012 county meeting knowing the
former solicitor resigned and did not share that information with all the commissioners prior to the meeting. More
saw it coming when the two commissioners continued to plow ahead to limit Ambrosini to assign work to the
When Mr. Mazza stood and asked the commissioners if Burkley will consider the current solicitors for
permanent hire when his "interim" period ends, both Ambrosini and Zapotosky quickly answered yes, most
Neither responded to Zimmerlink's comment, however, that a current female solicitor was not invited to a county
meet and greet with Burkley earlier this month. All of us knew what that meant.
"They lied!" whispered the child sitting in the next chair to me.
Yes, honey, they did.
17 Jul 12