During a press conference on Friday, Bell County Judge-Executive Albey Brock announced Bell County Court Clerk Becky Blevins had retired from her position. He said the county attorney delivered a note from Blevins stating her decision on Thursday.
The decision comes just weeks after a Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge dismissed charges against the clerk.
“She did this rather abruptly and without much warning,” said Brock.
Over the past few months the clerk’s office had been closed at random times without much notice Brock said. The Middlesboro office was closed completely without notice.
“To say that we’re somewhat disappointed in the way that this has went down would be a little bit of an understatement,” said Brock.
Typically, Brock said, there is a smooth transition between the incoming clerk and the outgoing clerk. He explained that he had not spoken with Blevins since the note was delivered.
With the authority given to him by Kentucky Revised Statute, Brock announced Rob Lincks as the clerk until elections are over. Lincks is not running for office.
Brock said he would not appoint an individual who was running for office to the position. He said it would not be fair for him to do so.
“I personally have many friends that are on the ballot for clerk, but that decision is for you to decide,” said Brock. “That’s a decision that the public needs to make, not me.”
As for Lincks, Brock showed confidence in the new clerk’s ability to run the office.
“I have confidence in Rob (Lincks). He will be committed and dedicated to it,” said Brock. “He will get done what needs to get done, and the office will be back open.”
Lincks, who was previously acting at the deputy judge-executive, said he was honored that the judge had enough trust in him to ask him to take control of the office during an important time.
“It’s a huge deal,” said Lincks. “It’s a larger mess than we thought it was going to be. We feel like we will be able to reopen the office the way it used to be.”
Currently, Lincks is recruiting new staff and contacting old staff in an attempt to get adequate staffing levels. There are plans to reopen the Middlesboro office once staffing levels are adequate, according to Lincks.
The state auditor’s office was in the clerk’s office on Friday as well. Lincks said it is state law for the auditor’s office to come in when an office becomes vacant.
Brock did ask the public to be patient with Lincks in the upcoming days.
Anthony Cloud can be reached at 606-248-1010, ext.1125 or on Twitter @AnthonyCloudMDN.