Commissioners seek criminal investigation of unemployment claim

(Filed June 11, 2013)
By Loyd Ford
Editor and Publisher

Benton- Today after an extended closed session during the regular fiscal court meeting the commissioners along with Marshall County Judge Executive Mike Miller agreed to seek a criminal investigation of an unemployment compensation issue by a special investigator of the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. According to Judge Miller the investigation stems from a complaint filed with the state’s Unemployment Insurance cabinet by Commissioner Misty Drew.

According to Judge Miller Commissioner Drew said during a recent meeting of the court that she filed a complaint with the office seeking to overturn a claim for unemployment compensation by Goldenrod Kirk the former part time dog warden for Marshall County. Miller said Kirk worked 30 hours per week for the county in his position as dog warden but when the court voted to hire two part time animal control officers Kirk’s job was going to change and he did not want to continue.

Miller noted that unlike the two newly hired animal control officers who are part time county employees Kirk did not receive retirement benefits or other benefits a full time employee would receive during the 30 years he worked for the county. (Note: This story has been updated to correct an error in fact. This story originally said the two animal control officer were full time. They are in fact part time.)

Miller said Kirk asked him if he could file for unemployment compensation and he told him he did not know but he did check with the county treasurer and learned that two other full time employees had received unemployment compensation after having resigned their positions at the county’s shelter. He said he was told by the treasurer that since the other previous employees had received unemployment she did not know of any reason that Kirk could not file for it as well. Miller said one of the former employees at the shelter received approximately $6,000 in unemployment compensation.

Miller says that in the meantime Kirk has returned the two months of unemployment compensation he received to the Unemployment Insurance cabinet and has also retained an attorney.

According to Judge Miller he asked the commissioners to allow County Attorney Jeff Edwards to simply convene a Grand Jury and let a Marshall County Grand Jury look at the evidence. He said the commissioners instead opted to have the investigator handle the investigation.

Although the commissioners met for about one hour in private to discuss the matter they did not discuss the issue in the open meeting. Judge Miller simple asked if they wanted to seek an investigator through the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office and they nodded in agreement with out taking an official vote.