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By DAVE TAYLOR
Landmark News Service
BEDFORD, Ky. – Jerry Powell, who has served as Trimble County clerk for nearly 23 years, was sworn in Friday, Aug. 24, as the county’s judge-executive by Chief Circuit Court Judge Karen A. Conrad.
A 1965 Trimble County High School graduate and former employee of Bedford Loan and Deposit Bank, Powell replaces Randy Stevens, who resigned his position Aug. 15 to take the job of executive director of the Kentucky Council of Area Development Districts in Frankfort.
Magistrate Stephen Stark served as judge-executive until Powell was appointed to it by Gov. Steve Beshear.
He was the odds-on favorite for the interim position. He will serve as judge-executive through the end of Stevens’ term, Dec. 2013.
Stevens said he had asked the governor’s office if they needed local input regarding the appointment, but was told they would be in touch.
“That said to me that they knew of Mr. Powell and they indicated they thought there was a consensus that unless they detected a strong opposition, they probably wouldn’t bother us with having meetings and making recommendations,” Stevens said. “Evidently, Mr. Powell’s 20-plus years of public service probably speaks for itself.”
The transition is the first of its kind in Trimble County, according to longtime observers. Never had a judge-executive resigned in the county’s history, dating to 1836.
Powell’s appointment to the new post left a vacancy in the clerk’s office. Tina Browning, who has served as a deputy clerk under Powell for nearly 20 years, was sworn in to succeed him.
Browning becomes the first woman county clerk in Trimble’s history.
“Jerry was an excellent boss,” Browning said of Powell. “You could not work for any better person. He’s been so good to me over the years. He’s one of the most wonderful people I’ve ever met.”
Powell praised the staff he leaves behind at the clerkís office, saying that all of the people employed in the various offices of the Trimble County Courthouse are like a big family.
He noted the presence of his predecessor, Randy Stevens, as well as former Judge-Executive Jack Couch and State Rep. Rick Rand among the attendees at the ceremony. “All of them have been a big help to me,” he said.
Following Friday’s swearing-in ceremony, Powell said he had considered running for the judge-executive’s office “eight or 10 years ago, and chose not to. I was asked this time if I would be interested in it. To be honest, the first time I said no. I was asked again later, and thought it over and talked to (his wife) Ann and said, ‘OK.’ ”
Powell has no immediate plans for sweeping changes.
“Right now all I plan to do is observe, watch and listen,” he said. “I don’t have an agenda going in to change anything or switch anything around. I just want to watch and observe and see how things operate in the county. It’s just going to take time for me to understand how the office works now, and we’ll deal with things as they come up.”
Powell said he has “plenty of help in the judge’s office with the ladies that work in there. You’ve got four magistrates and Regina Rand as treasurer, and so there are plenty of people to give me advice and help.”