Revisiting a 2016 car accident that came up at the previous County Board of Commissioners meeting, Bill Lackey, Fleet Manager for Fayette County, defended himself and his role at Thursday night’s meeting.
At the May 10 meeting, Commissioner Steve Brown sought to discuss County Administrator Steve Rapson’s use of a county vehicle that was in an accident, his non-disclosure of the accident to the full Board, and actions taken following the accident. Lackey and his handling of the accident were also implicated by Brown.
Ultimately, County Attorney Dennis Davenport advised that Rapson has a contract describing his responsibilities and not holding him to the same policies as all county employees, and any motions by Brown regarding the accident that ran counter to the contract would have been null and void, so no action was taken.
Lackey did not come to the podium to speak during the public comments part of the discussion at the May 10 meeting and was asked to wait. He returned at Thursday’s meeting to have his say during the end-of-meeting public comments section.
“I’m not here tonight to beat a dead horse,” Lackey said, adding his reason for speaking. “There were some statements made at the last meeting that would give the implication that I’ve been involved in some wrongdoings or underhanded things.”
Lackey confirmed that Rapson did not fill out the standard paperwork or appear before the safety committee, of which Lackey is a member, because Davenport advised that county policy was not applicable.
Countering Brown’s claim that Rapson had not been held accountable, Lackey said his interpretation was that “he is holding himself accountable. He forfeited four days, which is consistent with what our committee would have recommended in terms of disciplinary action.”
As for Brown’s questions about using replacement parts from a county vehicle, Lackey said the parts came from a surplus vehicle with a bad engine, and that the decision led to savings of over $900 for the county. He also disputed Brown’s assertion that county workers did the repairs.
“These continuous statements that fleet staff made the repairs are completely false. The only involvement the fleet department had with the repairs of this vehicle was getting three estimates to assure that we complied with our procurement policy,” he said, showing receipts for an outside body shop that did the work.
Lackey took exception with Brown’s assertion that residents would lose pride in their government over the handling of the accident.
“Frankly, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t be proud of this government, I certainly am,” he said. “That’s one of the main reasons I’ve hung around for 30 years.”
Brown did not respond to each of Lackey’s points, but did maintain that the Board of Commissioners should all be kept in the loop.
“I think there needs to be a direct channel of communication, that when something happens in an area where we are ultimately accountable, where we all hear about it.”