HARRODSBURG - The hiring freeze adopted by the Harrodsburg City Commission caused a rare public dispute among commissioners Tuesday that ended with a 3-2 vote not to replace a departing police officer.
Police Chief Ernie Kelty asked commissioners for permission to hire a new officer to replace one who is leaving the force. Kelty's request came in spite of a hiring freeze adopted with this year's budget and in place until at least October.
City Clerk Lorene Hembree said the city will not receive substantial income from payroll and insurance premium tax payments until mid-October and the commission is scheduled to review its finances then.
"We have to justify hiring in the new fiscal year,'' said Commissioner Eddie Long.
But Commissioner Jack Springate, the elected official charged with overseeing police, fire and communication departments, strongly disagreed.
"Are we going to neglect the safety of the people of Harrodsburg?'' Springate asked.