Knott County swears in new judge-executive

HINDMAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Last week, Governor Beshear appointed the grandson of former governor Bert Combs to take over as Knott County Judge-Executive.

37-year-old Zach Weinberg took the oath of office at the Knott County Judicial Center Monday morning. Governor Beshear tapped the Knott County businessman for the judgeship last week.

"I just appreciate the support that Governor Beshear has had in me to appoint me to this position, and I look forward to working with the Knott Countians," he said.

Weinberg will serve the remainder of former Judge-Executive Randy Thompson's term, which runs through 2014. Thompson is serving a 40-month prison sentence on a federal vote-buying conviction.

County officials say they are excited to have a new judge.

"I think Zach Weinberg will do a great job," said tourism director Teresa Huff. "He's young and he's going to have a lot of ideas, and we're all willing and eager to work with him."

Taking the reigns of county government will not be easy in a county that just last month approved deep cuts to its budget and continues to face diminished returns from the coal severance tax.

Weinberg says he has spent the last ten years in the real estate and natural gas industries. He says that business background will help him in his new job.

"You know I think you have to run the county somewhat as a business, and to provide the best service that you can," Weinberg said.

Weinberg says he will do what he can to move the county forward. He says one of his chief goals is establishing greater transparency in county government.

Magistrates say one of Weinberg's first duties will be to perform an audit of county departments.

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