By: Jeff Jobe,
CEO/Owner Jobe Publishing, Inc.
Barren County should step up, come together, and help find a suitable home for the nine county-owned horses.
The horses have endured a difficult few years being moved back and forth around the county and also being nursed from neglect back to health. Their future is uncertain because we have failed leadership.
Without a doubt, the magistrates have every reason to be upset with Judge/Executive Michael Hale. He kept information from them regarding the settlement of the court case in which the horses were given to the county. He has known since February 8, 2021, and chose to keep the magistrates in the dark. When asked why Hale actually told them it wasn’t his job to tell them.
It was amazing to see Hale fill the room with deception, telling me I should have asked the magistrates and telling them they should have asked him. Yet, he refused to give them details even when asked and ignored my phone calls, messages, texts, and emails.
He did this after an April 2020 meeting in which he said the case was still active, the county had to care for the horses until it was settled, and never discussed again for two years until Hale became so brazen to ask for a brand new horse trailer.
Hale has fostered an environment in which county employees were not to discuss the horses with anyone. County employees used to be very forthcoming, respectful, and honest. We should have leadership who has nothing to hide and not place a few of them in awkward situations. They deserve better.
Hale has authorized some $44,000 in tax dollars outside the magistrate-approved budget and has assigned at least one $50,000 salaried, full-time employee to care for them daily.
What I like least is that Hale has misreported the truth by not disclosing to the magistrates that he took one of the horses home with him, yet would not allow the families of two young ladies who cared for them when at the state park to help with them. They offered to take three each to their family farms and care for them free of charge, but this was refused. Yet, Hale is claiming he has adopted one horse. He has kept the magistrates and county in the dark for a year or more.
Hale claims to be hosting a petting facility for disabled children, certainly a noble goal. Yet no votes were taken, nor discussions held, to assure liability insurance policies were altered to cover the county in the event a child or employee might be hurt.
All these things are so sadly true, but the absolute worst thing Hale is attempting to do is demonize the magistrates and myself as being, “Hell-bent on hurting these beautiful animals.”
Nothing could be farther from the truth. For weeks, or since the moment Hale tried to get the county to buy him a horse trailer, the magistrates have been trying to get straight answers.
Let me be perfectly clear: if not for the work of this newspaper, we wouldn’t have a clue what the county has spent. We wouldn’t even know where the nine horses are being kept. Hale did a video and said the horses were at the park and told my magistrate they were at the park.
But Hale was not honest. His personal attacks on magistrates and myself simply for asking questions is insulting and is showcasing a very inept leader.
However, even with all this, I believe some group should step up and help coordinate an effort to find the horses a good home.
If a group of people is willing to help, not associated with any political candidate or party in office now or running, I personally will pledge the first $1,000 cash donation and another $5,000 in free legal advertising and marketing to find them a good home.
Shame on anyone for using these beautiful animals as a means to protect deception and unethical leadership.
Jeff Jobe is founder and CEO of Jobe Publishing, Inc. His commentary reflects his personal views and does not reflect the views of personal or professional associations and affiliations. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read his previously published commentary at www.sckentucky.com