PARIS — Bourbon County Jailer Tony Horn, who recently served 90 days in jail, wants to become the next county judge-executive by unseating Donnie Foley, who's held that position for three terms.
Horn was sentenced in Bourbon Circuit Court on misdemeanor charges of official misconduct stemming from allegations that jail staffers tampered with documents related to an inmate's death. But Horn said he did not expect the jail time and charges to affect his campaign.
"I'm honest," said Horn, 61. "And I'm running on honesty."
Foley, a Democrat, criticized Horn and said the cost of the county's insurance probably will increase because of a legal settlement involving the death of jail inmate Daniel Trimble. Foley said Horn has put the county in a "bad financial situation."
Never miss a local story.
Horn was indicted in September 2008 on two counts of tampering with physical evidence, a Class D felony, and two counts of first-degree official misconduct, a misdemeanor.
The tampering charges were filed after Horn was accused of ordering the destruction of e-mails about Trimble, who committed suicide in February 2008. Horn also was accused of sending a fabricated document about Trimble's suicide watch to the Department of Corrections. The official misconduct charges stemmed from accusations that Horn failed to report or investigate the disappearance of methadone pills and that he allowed an inmate to be on work release without a court order.
The jury did not convict Horn on any of the charges. Instead, it found him guilty of two counts of a lesser tampering charge: criminal attempt to tamper with physical evidence.
Horn, who is a Republican, said he'd always considered running for judge-executive after his retirement from the U.S. Postal Service.
"The county has given me so much, and I'd like to give something back," he said.
Horn said the county needs to make combining city and county parks and recreation programs a priority so all the young people in the community benefit. Most of the city parks are in flood plains, and the county has more available property, he said.
Foley, 58, said he would be happy to discuss joining the city and county parks and recreation operations. He said the county plans to have five buildings torn down, including an old hospital, near Legion Park, and the property might be used for a new recreation facility.
Foley said he has worked hard as judge-executive for the past 11 years, working 60 or more hours a week.
"One thing I want to do is complete some things I've started," Foley said.
He said that since he's been in office, the county has received $130 million in appropriations and grants for improvement in various areas such as the park system and emergency services.
Paris mayoral race
In Paris, Mayor Mike Thornton, who was in his second term as a city commissioner when he was appointed mayor after the April 2009 death of Don Kiser, is running against a three-term city commissioner in what both agree has been a quiet race.
Thornton, 44, plans to continue the efforts he started after he was appointed, he said.
Janet S. Patton, 54, a city commissioner, said that she has more experience and that growth in the city has been at a standstill.
Thornton said that the city needs a new recreation facility and that he would like to see more jobs at the industrial park. He also said he was excited about road projects under way in the city and county. He said efforts have been made to clean up drug problems in Paris and get rid of abandoned buildings.
Patton said there has not been enough growth in the city. She said she pushed for a Wal-Mart and a shopping center in Paris while she was commissioner. However, growth slowed down after that, and she would like to see it move forward. She also said the city's industrial park needs more business.
Patton said city government should be more accessible to working people. When she was a city commissioner, meetings were held in the evenings. Now, they're held in the mornings.
Thornton said attendance remained about the same since the time change for city commission meetings. He said many city officials are able to attend the meetings now without working overtime.
Thornton said town hall meetings can be held in the evening if there is an issue that warrants it.