In many Eastern Kentucky County courthouses, judge executives are hiring a whole new staff. The new Breathitt County Judge Executive Jason Richardson says because of a merit system created by the fiscal court, he can't fire county employees. That leaves many relieved that they don't have to look for a different job this new year.
"We have employees that have been here for 20 years. That's a benefit to the county and citizens in the county to keep those employees that know what's going on," Richardson said.
"The merit system, it's great. I'd hate to be in the position that in 4 years, I could be without a job," said Crystal Deaton, 911 Coordinator.
Richardson says while he can't fire all county employees, he can put replacements in four positions including the deputy judge, treasurer, secretary and emergency services director.