Judge Mike Miller

Marshall County Judge Mike Miller, above, heard a report from a Louisville attorney that said he committed a felony and an misdeameanor by listing Goldenrod Kirk as having been laid off as a County employee.

Report says Judge Miller violated law

(August 13, 2013) Benton- A report prepared by attorney Kent Wicker with the Louisville law firm of Reed Wicker PLLC says Marshall County Judge Mike Miller violated two state laws, one a felony and another a misdemeanor when he “caused a false record to be created which would entitle Mr. Kirk to collect unemployment, and he assisted Mr. Kirk in obtaining a benefit to which he was not entitled.”

The report from Wicker was made public in a special called meeting of the fiscal court this morning.

Wicker went on to say in the report, “KRS 519.060 makes it a felony to knowingly make a false entry into a public record. KRS 522.020 makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a public servant to commit an act related  to his office which is an unauthorized exercise of his official functions with the intent to confer a benefit upon another person. We believe Judge Miller violated these provisions.”

Marshall County Attorney Jeff Edwards read the full report in the open meeting and said the report and the charges contained in it had been forwarded to the Kentucky Attorney General’s Office. Edwards said after the meeting Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway’s office would make the determination whether to file charges against Judge Miller.

The other complaint investigated by Wicker was whether or not Judge Miller violated the law by disclosing information to The Lake News from a closed meeting of the court. Wicker said the disclosure was not a violation of state law.

Although Golden Kirk did receive $3,000 in unemployment benefits he refunded the money when complaints were made about his filing for the benefits. Wicker pointed out in the report the County had incurred no draw upon its reserve account or other financial injury.

Wicker also noted that Kirk did not consent to be interviewed for the report and instead referred him to his attorney.

According to Wicker’s report Kirk had served as the county’s dog warden for over 30 years and was in his late 80s. He had been serving in that capacity for $2,000 per month and that some of the commissioners had received complaints from other county employees that he was unable to carry out his duties or safely drive an automobile.
The court asked Judge Miller to suggest a new job description that would come with a 50 percent pay cut.

Kirk didn’t want to take the pay cut and change in duties and according to the report asked Judge Miller if he could collect unemployment if he was terminated. According to the report Miller said he told him he was uncertain because he was a part time employee. Miller asked County Treasurer Emily Martin to contact the Kentucky Office of Unemployment Insurance for advice. She was told the employee would be permitted to file for unemployment regardless of his part time status.
Employees who quit their jobs under the law according to Wicker’s report can not collect unemployment. But the report also said an employee who quits for good cause will not be disqualified from unemployment. The law does say that significant reduction in wages is listed as an example of good cause in the law but Wicker noted in the report the state has not adopted a substantial reduction in salary rule as good cause for voluntarily terminating employment.

Finally in Wicker’s report he said, “Judge Miller instructed Emily Martin to list the reason in the County’s record for Mr. Kirk’s termination as laid off. That reason was false. A “layoff” means that the employee has been terminated because there is a lack of work, and the employer no longer needs an employee to fill those duties.”

Wicker also asserted, “In addition, on February 4, 2013 the County held a retirement party for Mr. Kirk. Judge Miller attended and gave Mr. Kirk a gift. An employee who retires is not laid off.”

In a previous meeting of the court Judge Miller said he did sign a County end of employment form for Kirk that listed him as laid off.

Judge Miller and the members of the fiscal court adjourned and left the meeting with out comment.