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This manual has been prepared for the purpose of con-
solidating into a single compilation the current duties and func-
tions of all offices and courts permitted by constitution and
statutes in the state of Kentucky, All of the offices included
are not in existence in each county; however, it was necessary
to include each office authorized so that a complete abstract of
Kentucky county governments would be available,
The arrangement of offices in this manual has been to
classify the offices according to administrative, recording, ju-
dicial, taxation, law enforcement, and service divisions. The
chart of county governmental organization is indicative of the
manner in which offices are filled and courts, boards, and com-
missions composed, showing also the relationship of one office to
To increase the use of the individual office abstracts,
an alphabetical index of duties and functions is included in this
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(1) The fiscal and governmental affairs of each county in Kentucky, as
authorized by the constitution of 1891, are administered by the fiscal
court, composed of the justices of the peace and the county judge who is c
the presiding officer, or three commissioners, in certain counties, who
together with the county judge constitute the fiscal court (Const. of
1891, sec. lhh). The majority of the members of this court Ettttittte
a court for the transaction of business (ibid., sec. lh2).
(2) The county judge is elected in the county every four years (see of-
fice of County Judge) and a justice is also elected every four years in
each justice*s district (seo office of Justices of the Peace; Const. of
1891, see. 99)· The clerk of the countyhtttzt actt—as clerk ofrthe fis-
tal—eourt (Carroll*s Kentucky Statutes, 1956 ed., sec. 1855). Two regu-
lar sessions of the court are held oath year at the county seat, but the
county judge may callspecial terms (ibid., secs. 1858, 1859).
(5) Unless otherwise provided by law, the fiscal court exercises the cor-
porate powers of the county (ibid., scc. 185h). It has jurisdiction to;
appropriate county funds authorized by law to be appropriated; erect and
keep in repair necessary public buildings; secure an adequate jail and a
confortable, convenient place for holding court at the county seat; erect
l and keep in repair bridges and other structures; regulate and control the
fiscal affairs and property of the county; cause correct accounts and rec-
ords to be kept of all receipts and disbursements of the public funds of
the county, having all accounts of county officers audited; make provi-
sion for the maintenance of the poor and provide a poorhouse and farm for
the maintenance of the indigent sick and for hospitalization for such per-
sons; provide for the good condition of the highways of the county; appro-
priate funds to secure immigration into the county and advertise its re-
sources (ibid., sec. 1880). In addition to these duties other statutes
authorize the fiscal court to; offer bounties for each crow killed in the
county (ibid., sec. 18hOf-1); levy and collect a poll tax and ad valcrom
tax to pay`Eff the existent current indebtedness (ibid., sec. 1882); pro-
vide for the support of the blind (ibid., sec. l895aYlC); appropriate
money to carry on extension work intagticulture and home economics in the
county (see office of County Agricultural Agent; Carroll, op. cit., sec.
h656g-2); provide for crippled children (ibid., sec. 55lm-9); buy and sell
land for the county (ibid., sec. 927); create county health districts (ibid.
secs. 205ha-l, et seqT)?—maintain sanatrriums for the treatment of tubercu-
losis (ibid., sec. 206la-5); acquire and construct armorios (ibid., sec.
271la-128TY establish and maintain playgrounds and a recreatitE—Eystem
., (ibid., sec. 5909a-2); issue bonds to finance indebtedness (ibid., sec.
18575; contract for the reclamation of swamp lands (ibid., sEET`2hl5); and
publish the financial condition of the county annualty (ibid., sec. 1886).
(L) The fiscal court makes the following appointments in each county; the
county treasurer (ibid., sec. 929); a person to fill a vacancy in the of-
fice of county judgE—(ibid., sec. 5758-1); one member of the county board

County Court Clerk (I, II)
of health (ibid., sec. 2055); the county auditor (ibid., sec. l8hO); a
" person or baE§Tas receiver of the tax (ibid., sec:~lB55) and one member
of the county budget conmnssion (ibid.,MEEEZ 185lc-2). In addition, the
statutes provide that the fiscal Eburt may make the following appoint-
ments, which, however, are not mandatory: a commissioner to sell bonds
issued by it for erecting and repairing public buildings (ibid., secs.
A 1375, 187h); commissioners to examine all contract proposalswfor pur-
chasing stock in turnpike road companies (ibid., sec. h759); an inspect-
I or and weigher of grain for grain warehouses*Yibid., sec. LTQB); road
commissioners (ibid., sec. h507a—l); a playgroEHd—and recreation board
(ibid., scc. BQOOETQ); a county livestock inspector (ibid., sec. 65c-18);
a”cEmmissioner of the poorhouse (ibid., sec. 5925); and two members of the
county library board (ibid., sec.m§5Ed-1). The appointment of the county
road engineer is approved by the fiscal court (ibid., sec. h525).
(1) The county court clerk in each county is elected from the county
at large for a four—year term, with vacancies to be filled by the gover-
nor. The clerk must be twenty-one years of age, a resident of the state
for two years and of the county for one year preceding his election. Ho
is compensated on a fee basis (Const. of 1891, secs. 99, lOO, 152; Carroll's
Kentucky Statutes, 1956 ed., secT`l720). _——_ _`*—_—-———
(2) Upon the expiration of his term or upon removal, the county court
clerk is required to deliver all books, records, and other papers belong-
ing to his office to his successor or such persons as the county court may
direct (ibid., sec. 57h). He must write up proceedings of the court each
day (ibidTT—see. 578); list all steps in each case within thirty days after
the clbse`of each term of court (ibid., sec. 579); administer oaths in or
out of court, touching any matte1*inTwhich an oath may be legally admin-
istered (ibid., soc. 580); keep office within two hundred yards of the
courthousE—EnH hold it open and accessible at all reasonable times (ibid.,
sec. 580); and, after termination of county court sessions, make out a
list of claims against the public treasury and forward same to the state
auditor of public accounts (ibid., sec. 559).
(5) By virtue of his office the county court clerk is also clerk of the
fiscal court and he is to attend all sessions of that court and report all
proceedings (ibid., sec. 1355).
(L) The county court clerk is required further to; certify and affix seals
to soldiers' claims or to any power of attorney concerning same, free of
charge (ibid., sec. 582); keep a record of persons testifying in court upon
legal summons (ibid., sec. §B§); record all license fees collected or paid
( to the circuit cbdrt (ibid., secs. @252, et seq.); keep an alphabetical
l cross index of all sesveyahces recorded in his office (ibid., sec. §l§);
advertise yearly a list of all unrocordcd deeds in his bfficc and state why
same were not recorded (ibid., sec. §l2); preserve all papers connected
ij]13 -E`]-Y

County Court Clerk (II)
with the county court (ibid., sec. 1069); prepare all ballots, et cetera,
= for voting purposes (ibid]T`secs. lh55, et seq.); return all unused li-
censes and stubs for thE`provious year to the state game and fish com-
, mission (ibid., sec. 195hc-50); issue marriage licenses and record same. V
(ibid., SEEET 2106, 2108-1); make a biennial report to the county judge
1 of all law books received on public account (ibid., sec. 2h29); and safe-
- guard all books for which he is responsible under bond (ibid., sec. 2h50).
(5) Additional duties require the county court clerk to keep a medical
. register of all physicians in the county (ibid., scc. 26ll); administer
official oaths (ibid., sec. 575h); record all—instruments of writing ac-
_. knowledged or proved before him as required by law (ibid., sec. 511); rec-
. ord all settlements made by the county treasurer (ibidTT`sec. 955); re-
ceive applications for automobile licenses, distributE`registration plates,
and report and remit to the state tax commission for same (ibid., secs.
2579g-Ea, 2759g-62); record wills (ibid., sec. h86h); and seemthat records
_ ` are not taken out of the county exceptnin great emergencies or by court
, order (ibid., sec. 577). He must not be interested in contracts with the
· V county (ibid., sec. l@Ji). _,
· (6) The county court clerk acts as clerk of the board of tax supervisors
(ibid., sec. hl2l), and he keeps and makes copies of orders of appointment
` ofrtak supervisors (ibid., scc. hll6). He records and indexes the report
of the sheriff pertaining to sale of property for taxes (ibid., sec. hl6Q);
certifies to the county tax commissioner each year a complete statement of
all conveyances for the preceding year (ibid., sec. h2h0); makes an account
_ · of all public moneys received by him up tE“the first day of each circuit
~ _1 ‘ , court session (ibid., sec. h2h2); enters in a well—bound book all moneys re~
ceived (ibid., seET`h2h5); keeps e minute book of chattel mortgages in which
to cnterwabstracts of all pledges, mortgages, or liens upon personal propcr—
, ty (ibid., sec. 525b-B); furnishes a list of mortgages and liens to the coun~
' - ty taE`Ebmmissioner (ibid., secs. h05la, h05lb); reports to tho state tax
commission on the Ssrstsr real estate (ibid., sec. hllhi-lh); certifies the
· tax on all distilled spirits, forwarding—a—bopy to the sheriff for collec-
— tion (ibid., sec. hl08); makes out original bills for each person required
6 to pay poll tax (ibid., sec. h259i); and, before September l, makes and
certifies to the county tax commissioner a complete statement of all pur-
chase money, notes, mortgages, and other obligations or liens for money duo
the county (ibid., sec. hO5la).
(7) The county court clerk is authorized to grant all licenses as agent for
the state where business is proposed to be conducted in tho county, except
_ as otherwise specially provided (ibid., sec. hl90); this includes transient
merchants, pedlars, and other miscellaneous operators (ibid., secs. h?lhd,
ct seq., h2l5, et seq. h2l6, h2l7b, et seq., h2L5a, ot EEQTQ h22h, et seq,).
he is also to forward stubs of licenses granted to th lff· state auditor of pub-
ml f lic accounts within two days and the receipts for them once a month, at this
time collecting his five per cent commission (ibid., sec. hl95). The clerk

 _ 7
~~ County Judge (II,I[I)
W receives listings between July l and October l of mineral, oil, and gas
_ rights and makes out tax bills for same, assessing a twenty per cent pen-
,. alty for non—compliance of owners, and turns over the bills to the sheriff
· for collection (ibid., sec. MOBQ). He also; makes a recapitulation of the
__ tax supervisors**wbrk (ibid., sec. hl2Ba-l); makes out a bill for assess-
ment of omitted papers (ibid., sec. hl2l-5); on or before January l, re- A
i ceives from the county t€x—€ommissioner all tax schedules except those of
intangible property, filing and preserving same for five years (ibid., sec.
_ hllhi-15); and makes out annually a book of tax bills and stubs Ikirthe
. use of the sheriff or collector (ibid., sec. h259a). The county court
clerk may appoint deputies to assistxhim (ibid., sec. 572). He is also a
member of the county building commission (ibid., sec. 188la-1).
(l) The county judge is elected for a term of four years and is a conser-
vator of the peace, commissioned by the governor. He must be at least
, twenty-four years of age, a citizen of Kentucky, and a resident of his
_ county for two years preceding his election (Const. of 189l, secs. 99,
100, 1hO). "‘“""°"""`
= (2) The county judge is judge of the county court (ibid., sec. lhO; see
` County Court); of the quarterly court (Const. of l89l,"sec. 159; see Quar-
` ¥EEW]7CEurt); of the fiscal court (CenstT_EErdEEH:“EEc. lhh; see FiscHl_—
Court); and of the juvenile court (Carroll's IE5;E1cky Statutes, l§5ZYYil.,
. sec. §5le—2; see Juvenile Court). The cougtyrjbdge is é“mEHEEr of the
county budget commiEsioH_(CErrbll, op. cit., sec. l85lc—2; see County Budg-
et Commission), end the board of healtHw(Carroll, op. cit., secTY?TT;?7§5$
Cbunt57i¥ETFd"of Health). He may call special ternE?7§Yfthe county court
(EET cp. c1?Q"§6¤. 105e).
` V (5) The county judge, as presiding judge of the quarterly court, keeps
a docket, order book, and execution book, and fixes a rule day for the re-
turn of executions and other process, although he may appoint a clerk for
that court (ibid., sec. lO55).
0 A (L) As judge of the fiscal court, he may call special terms of said
court (ibid., soc. 1858). He appoints the county read engineer, by and
with thembbnsent of the fiscal court (ibid., sec. MBQQ).
(5) He may also appoint three or more tex supervisors, one from each
magisterial district of the county, who meet as a beard (ibid., scc. hll5);
guards for prisoners (ibid., scc. 20hh); a person to act as—jailer when the
jailer or sheriff cannbt`abt (ibid., secs. 225l, 2252); one or more commis-
sioners of the poorhouse established by the county court (ibid., sec. 5925);
‘ a special commissioner, who makes settlements with fiduciaried (ibid., scc.

‘ Circuit Court (III, IV)
1062); a county indexer, with the consent of a majority of the circuit
judges, in counties having a population over 75,000 and constituting a
. separate judicial district (ibid., sec. 908); three members of the county
— library board (ibid., sec. 958d-1); probation officers (ibid., sec. 55le-
5); from six to ten persons to serve as an advisory board”t8 the juvenile
court (ibid., sec. 55le-19); in counties having a city of the first or
second class, a stenographer for the juvenile court (ibid., sec. 55le-17);
with the school superintendent, three or five members of the county chil-
drens' bureau (ibid., sec. 551L-16); inspectors for inspection warehouses
(ibid., sec. 2l88)?`procossioners of land for the county (ibid., sec.
2567); a public administrator (ibid., sec. 5905); and a manager of the
workhouse (ibid., sec. h868). __`_—
(6) Additional appointments which the county judge is authorized to make
include; patrols for each patrol district of the county (ibid., sec. 5780);
three persons as a board of water cormdssioners (ibid., secsT·958g-1, -2),
who shall appoint a legal advisor, elect a chairman, secretary, and treasur-
er, and appoint a superintendent of water districts (ibid., secs. 958g—h,
-18, -21); a board of viewers where ditches, drains, et75;tora, are to be
constructed (ibid., sec. 2580-2); a board of drainage commissioners (ibid.,
secs. 2580-7, 2380b-l2);¢i Crmtauiua police commissioner (ibid., sec."52Ha—
` 2); three commissioners to divide the county into justicesT“districts (ibid.,
secs. 1079, lhhh); a physician to vaccinate the poor (ibid., sec. h6lh);
three commissioners to assess damages in railroad condemnation proceedings
· (ibid., sec. 855); one or more deputy surveyors on the recommendation of the
i county surveyor (ibid., soc. L675); and personal representatives, guardians,
`Q trustees, committees? curators, and other fiduciaries (ibid., sec. 1057).
(7) He may also appoint a judge pro tempore (ibid., sec. l0h9), and may
fill temporary vacancies in the majority of ¤OEE¥§*¤rri¤ss (ibid., secs.
151, 1526, 1527, h0h2a-6). Except in counties having a city of the first
or second class, the county judge is a member of the county building com-
mission (ibid., sec. 188la-1).
(1) The present constitution established the circuit court in every coun-
ty and gives the general assembly power to divide the state into a number
of judicial districts (Const. of 189l, secs. 125, 128). The circuit judge,
the presiding officer d27HT$—clrcuit court, is elected for each judicial
district (ibid., sec. 129).
(2) The circuit court is a court of record and has original jurisdiction
over all matters both in law and equity, which jurisdiction is not exclu-
sively delegated to some other tribunal. It also has jurisdiction in all
cases where the title to land is involved or in which it is sought to en-
iforce a lien upon or to subject land by provisional remedy to the payment
of debt (Carro1l's Kentucky Statutes, 1956 cd., soc. 966). The circuit
court has—cEgniEaneE—8f—a11—persbnZ1`actions involving over $50 (ibid.,

Circuit Court (IV)
secs. 1051, 1086) and over criminal actions where the fine upon conviction
exceeds $20 (ibid., sec. 1095). It has appellate jurisdiction over all
. judgments in civil actions where the amount involved is over $25, over all
judgments granted by the county courts where the amount is more than $50,
(ibid., secs. 978, h502a-1), and over judgments of the justiccs* courts in
fdrcible entry and detainer proceedings (Civil Code, sec. M65). Further
jurisdiction extends over actions of the board of tax equalization (Carroll,
, cp. cit., sec. 2992); judgments of the public service commission (ibid.,
` scc. 5952-hh); and judgments against defendants in criminal actions in the
lower courts for imprisonment or fine of $20 or more (Criminal Code, sec.
562). The general assembly has power to change the jurisdiction of the cir-
cuit court (Const. of 1891, scc. 126).
(5) The circuit court also has jurisdiction of violations of the common
carrier laws (Carroll, op. cit., secs. 201e-12, -15, -21, -22); exclusive
jurisdiction of inquestE`EEH€erning the mind or mental faculty of persons,
appellate j risdiction from the county court in cases for the restoration
of persons to sound minds (ibid., secs. 216aa-68, 216aa-101), and juris-
diction concurrent with the~EEEnty court in the care and custody of idiots
and lunatics and their estates (ibid., sec. 2lh9). The circuit court also
has jurisdiction of claims upon thE"treasury (ibid., sec. 5hOa-2), and,
concurrent with the quarterly and justices* courts (police), of violations
of the local option laws (ibid., secs. 255hb-79, 255hc-52), and of the of-
fense of vagrancy (ibid., EEE? M758—5). It further has power to postpone
_ judgment and probate persons charged with crime (ibid., sec. 979b-5).
(M) Additional duties of the circuit court are; to license newspapers to
publish advertisements which by law are required to be published (ibid.,
sec. 15); to order delivery of fugitives from justice over to state_dEmand-
ing their return (ibid., sec. 1927); to appoint guards for prisoners (ibid.,
sec. 20Qh); to ordEr*Eut the militia on occasion (ibid., sec. 2711a-1h5sS;
and to render commitments to houses of reform (ibid., secs. 2095c-1, et seq.).
(5) The circuit court is empowered to sell land belonging to societies,
such as charitable and religious societies, which have been dissolved, when
the land has been granted to public uses for the purpose of re-investment
in similar property (ibid., sec. 52h). The circuit court meets three times
a year in the county (Const. of 1891, sec. 151). Special terms may be
called by the judge (Carroll, op. cit.,secs. 971-12, -15). Circuit courts
in county containing cities of_thE_E€cond class have jurisdiction over con-
demnation proceedings by such cities (ibid., sec. 5905).
(6) The circuit court is authorized to appoint: elisors to act in place of
sheriff (ibid., scc. 1597); an attorney pro tempore to act for the common-
wealth atterney (ibid., sec. 120) and in vacancy pending election (ibid.,
sec. 1528); guardians ad litem for persons under disability (Civil Cdde,
sec. 58); two physicians to examine alleged insane persons (Carro1lT~ep.
cit., sec , 216aa-76); and committees for the care and custody of the_pEr-
(sons and estates of idiots, lunatics, and others incompetent to manage their
own affairs (ibid., sec. 21h9).
V HRS-211-12

Circuit Court (IV)
Circuit Judge Q
(7) The circuit judge is elected every six years in the judicial district.
E He is a conservator of the peace and must be at least thirty—five years of
age, have been a practicing lawyer for eight years, and be commissioned by
the governor (Const. of 1891, secs. 129, 150). The circuit judge, as pro-
_ vided by statute, is empbwered to call special terms of court and to order
( _. grand and petit juries to be empanelled whenever necessary (Carroll, op.
· cit., sec. 971-15). He may further appoint a court reporter for the judi-
_ · Elal district (ibid., sec. h657) and a master commissioner for each county
. A ~ , in the district for a term of four years (ibid., sec. 592). Where the mas-
ter commissioner does not act as such, themcircuit judge appoints a receiv-
er (ibid., sec. h09). The circuit judge is a member of the judicial coun-
_ cil (ibid., sec. 1126a-1), and he appoints three persons as jury conmis-
e » sione?s¤(ibid., sec. 22hl) and two or more examiners in the counties of his
j district tE”take depositions (Civil Code, scc. 559). A majority of circuit
judges may appoint an official interpreter in single county districts with
V a population of more than 75,000 (Carroll, op. cit., sec. 1019c-1).
Commonwealth Attorney
(8) The commonwealth attorney is elected in every judicial district every
six years. He must be at least twenty-four years of age and have been a
practicing attorney for four years (Const. of 1891, secs. 97, 100). His
compensation is by salary and such percentage of fines and forfeitures as
( y may be fixed by law. His office, however, may be abolished by the general
. assembly, in which event, the duties of his office are to be discharged by
the county attorney (ibid., secs. 98, 108).
(9) It is the duty of the commonwealth attorney to attend each circuit
` l court session held in his district and prosecute all violations of criminal
and penal laws therein. He must attend to all civil cases and proceedings
. in the circuit courts of his district in which the commonwealth is inter-
ested, but in civil cases the governor may employ counsel to assist him
(Carroll, op. cit., sec. 118). ln his absence the circuit judge may appoint
an attorney_tE—aEt in his place (ibid., see. 120).
` (10) Other powers and duties specified by statute are to; advise the col-
lector for the commonwealth in regard to delinquent collecting officers
(ibid., sec. 122); file a statement in writing setting forth the reasons
fEr_his dismissing an indictment or entering a nolle prosequi (ibid., sec.
125); investigate all unsatisfactory judgments in his district iYTTavor
of the commonwealth (ibid., sec. 150); prosecute delinquent attorneys and
those failing to pay thblr clients money collected (ibid., secs. 102, 105);
represent the commonwealth in inquests concerning insanity (ibid., sec.
21éaa-71); and prosecute suits instituted by the state auditEr*for collec-
_ tion of taxes due the state (ibid., sec. hle9). He is also to enforce the
,"~ game and fish laws (ibid., secj_l95hc—l8); to assist the forestry depart-
_ ment in the enforcement of its regulations (ibid., scc. 2007i-25); to prosc-
cute violations of sanitation laws (ibid., sec. 2060b-11); and to represent
the state board of health in cases whiEh'ccme under his jurisdiction (ibid.,
21 1