Process to fill circuit clerk vacancy underway

Kathy Hardy

Kathy Hardy

The death of Lewis Circuit Clerk Kathy Hardy has created a vacancy in the elected office that will be filled in the coming weeks through a process spelled out by state law.

Hardy died in a two-vehicle collision early Sunday at Black Oak that also claimed the life of Arica Jarrells of Vanceburg.

County Attorney Benjamin Harrison said there are several steps to be followed in filling that position.

The first of those steps was taken Monday when Circuit Judge Robert Conley appointed Greenup County Circuit Court Clerk Allen Reed as Special Clerk in Lewis County.

Reed will serve in that position until the next step in the process is completed.

In order to be qualified to serve as a Kentucky Circuit Court Clerk, an individual must take an examination administered by the Kentucky Administrative Office of the Courts and receive a passing grade of 70 percent or higher, Harrison said.

“State law (KRS 30A.150) states that when there is a vacancy in the office of the circuit court clerk, the chief judge of the judicial circuit (Judge Robert Conley) shall appoint a qualified successor who shall serve until an election is held pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution,” Harrison said.

The 20th Circuit Judicial District is comprised of Lewis and Greenup counties.

“The Administrative Office of the Courts will prepare a special examination to be administered to such person or persons designated by Judge Conley responsible for filling the vacancy and will be administered to prospective candidates for election to fill the unexpired term,” he added.

Because there are fewer than 134 days between now and the next primary election (May 21, 2019), state law (KRS 118.115) requires each political party to choose their nominee for to fill the vacancy.

“Only a qualified individual (one who passes the exam) may be nominated by the parties” Harrison said.

Those nominees’ names will appear on the November 2019 ballot.

Harrison said choosing the nominee for circuit court clerk will be by the same process used to choose nominees for PVA last year following the retirement of Anthony Silvey.

“To sum up, the Administrative Office of the Courts will schedule a special examination. Judge Conley will then choose one person, or multiple people, to take the test,” Harrison said.

“Prospective candidates for the office may take the exam as well,” he added.

“Judge Conley will appoint someone who has passed the special exam and that person will serve until the November 2019 election,” he said.

“Each party will choose its qualified nominee for the November special election, and then, on the November ballot there will be a race for Lewis Circuit Court Clerk,” he said.

The Circuit Clerk’s Office in the Lewis County Justice Center was closed Monday (3/25/19) and Lewis District Court for Tuesday (3/26/19) was canceled as was Lewis Family Court for Thursday (3/28/19).

Hardy had served as Lewis Circuit Clerk since 1994 and was a deputy clerk under Bruce K. Swearingen prior to that.

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