In the little town of Walton in northern Kentucky, the 3,635 residents don’t have to go far for entertainment. The monthly city council meetings will do just fine. Of course, if good government is the priority, entertainment is not a good thing.
In last months race for the six-member council, Robert McDonald and Olivia Ballou tied for sixth place with 669 votes. A coin flip is the usual solution to those situations. Ballou won.
That created another problem. Ballou’s husband has a new job and they are moving out of town. Ballou said that she would not take office, but she changed her mind. She said she would take office until her family moved. Walton then needs to either appoint another council member or hold a special election, depending on its laws.
Undoubtedly, Ballou relishes the opportunity to serve her community. Since she’s leaving, she will barely have time to get up to speed on municipal matters. That means another person will have to spend the first few months learning what it means to be on the city council.
If only that was all Walton had to worry about, then it would not be a problem.
The six new members of the city council were scheduled for a swearing in on December 10. Five of the six members showed up. The Kentucky Enquirer explains why one of the new members was missing:
Absent from the swearing in was Gabriel Brown, the second highest vote earner in the election. Brown was being held in the Boone County Jail that night. He was serving his sentence for possession of marijuana and operating a motor vehicle under the influence Nov. 8 in Henry County. Brown was fined and sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was reduced. Brown entered the Boone County Jail Dec. 3 and is scheduled to be released Dec. 15.
As unusual as that is, most residents won’t be too concerned about Brown’s marijuana possession and driving under the influence. That is because there is a bigger problem with the mayor who also took office on Dec. 10. At least he is out of jail…for now.
The Dec. 10 council meeting was also Phil Trzop’s first meeting as mayor. Since being sworn in last month, Trzop was arrested on a charge of alleged abuse of public trust in relation to his role as the general manager of the Boone County Water District. If convicted of the felony, Trzop could face five to 10 years in the state penitentiary and would be barred from holding political office. Trzop has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Let’s remember that the election was less than six weeks ago. Walton has already had three major disruptions in its process. None of the three is completely played out either. It won’t take much for the four other council members to set standards of respectability above what has been seen in the last few weeks.
The next time that you feel frustrated with your city or county government just be thankful that you don’t live in Walton. The circus has set up permanent shop at the city council.