Since the end of 2009, the Clark-Floyd Landfill has paid a Clark County employee $14,000 annually out of funds owed to the county on the orders of the then-Clark County Commissioners.
The payouts — currently being investigated by two state agencies — bring into question whether county officials were acting legally while circumventing the county council’s fiscal authority.
The commissioners had requested in 2009 that the county council approve a raise for then-Highway Superintendent Jim Ross, whose annual salary since his hiring has been $35,471. When the council declined to approve the raise, the commissioners consulted then-county Attorney Greg Fifer about having Ross paid from landfill host fees, which are paid to the county quarterly by Clark-Floyd Landfill Corporation, said former Commissioner Les Young.
“[Fifer] said that that would be fine, and everything was legal, so that’s what we did,” Young said. “We still think, and I still think it was legal. We wouldn’t have had to do that if the county council would have done the right thing and given the man a raise. After all, he was doing three times the amount of work [as the next employee].”
But Jack Coffman, a current county commissioner who served on the county council at that time, doesn’t see it that way.
“I would have felt like that there was some betrayal there, to circumvent the county council’s decision,” Coffman said.
Fifer e-mailed Robert Lee, the owner and president of Eco-Tech and the Clark-Floyd Landfill Corporation, and Mike Harris, a project engineer with engineering firm Jacobi, Toombs & Lanz, on Nov. 6, 2009, to explain the commissioners’ desire to pay Ross out of host fees the landfill corporation pays to the county, which owns the landfill property.
“The county commissioners have now determined that they would like to pay an additional $14,000 per year to their county highway superintendent, Jim Ross, from their share of the landfill funds,” Fifer wrote. Fifer copied Young on the e-mail, but neither of the other commissioners. The other two commissioners at the time were Ed Meyer and current Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore.