Governor will appoint replacement for Harlan Co. magistrate seat

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

He was an educator for thirty years with Harlan County Schools and spent more than a decade as a Harlan County magistrate. Jim Roark's funeral was held Wednesday.

Roark died on Sunday. Those that worked with him on the Fiscal Court said he was a tireless leader.

"He was dedicated to the job," said Paul Caldwell, former Harlan County Magistrate.

Caldwell served with Roark for many years. He said the county is losing a hard worker and a concerned citizen.

"He worked really hard to get water all over his district when he got elected. There wasn't water down toward Coldiron and Pathfork," said Caldwell.

"He was a tremendous team player who took Harlan County's issues at heart," said Joe Grieshop, Harlan County Judge-Executive.

Now the focus turns to filling Roark's district five seat.

Vacancies in many other county offices are filled by the judge-executive. But the Harlan County Attorney's Office points to Kentucky Revised Statutes, which say that a vacancy by a magistrate will be filled by the governor.

"I'm sure there are a lot of individuals that will want to be considered, and the rest of us on the Fiscal Court will just have to wait and see who the governor picks," said Grieshop.

Grieshop said for now the Fiscal Court will go about their business and continue to honor a man, whose contributions will be missed.

"The whole Fiscal Court deeply misses him," said Grieshop.

Grieshop said Roark's position will be on the ballot in the next general election.

Some of the projects Roark worked on in recent years include a new school in Wallins and improvements to Highway 119.

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