The Hardin County Commissioners Court convened for a regular meeting on Tuesday, December 27. Outgoing Sheriff Ed Cain and Tax Assessor-Collector Shirley Stephens are both retiring and were recognized for their years of dedicated service to the citizens of Hardin County.
Cain served Hardin County for 20 years as sheriff. Commissioner Ken Pelt was asked to read Resolution 37-16 and began by saying “Ed and I came into office the same year and I think he would agree that Hardin County is a different place today than it was when we came into office. Hardin County was changing from a rural county to a suburban county with all the problems that go along with it plus a few that were created by the county itself. I think these challenges have been met. I think Hardin County did modernize and they prepared for the future. We have a great court, we had a great court and I think Hardin County is ready to proceed forward. Ed we wish you the best”
The commissioners thanked Cain for his distinguished service and wished him well in his retirement. County Judge Wayne McDaniel presented Cain with a county flag with the new county seal, an engraved keychain, and a certificate for 20 years of service to Hardin County.
“I would like to thank the good Lord first of all and the people of this county for allowing me to serve as sheriff for 20 years and what an honor and privilege it’s been,” said Cain.
Judge Charles Brewer was asked to read Resolution 38-16 regarding the retirement of Tax Assessor and Collector Shirley Stephens. Stephens served Hardin County citizens for 31 years and 10 months; 18 years of which was in the role of Tax Assessor and Collector. Judge Brewer said of Stephens, “I’ve known Shirley my whole life; 50 years. She is a great lady.”
“I would like to say it has been my pleasure to serve the citizens of Hardin County as the Tax Assessor-Collector for the past 18 years. You know as a child growing up some want to be a fireman, some want to be a policeman, but you never heard one say I want to be a tax collector. But I do believe it was the hand of God that brought me to this point and to serve the citizens. I’m certainly thankful for the opportunity,” said Stephens.
The Court recognized county employees for years of service milestones. Debbie Yancey with the Tax Office was recognized for 30 years of service. Tom Hughes with the Maintenance Department is celebrating 15 years of service. Christine DeMary worked with the Juvenile Probation Department and has retired after 10 years of service.
Ashley Baer, Deputy Clerk in the Tax Office as well as Corrections Officers Brandon Wolcott, Bobby Jackson, and Lee Smith were introduced as newly hired personnel.
Dana Hogg, District Clerk, discussed Resolution 39-16 which is opposing change to current statutes regarding care, custody, and control of records held by the county and district clerks and any actions that would result in those records being centralized within any other entity. Hogg continued to say that the Office of Court Administration (OCA)began making arrangements for the county’s eFile documents to be made available online to the public. When eFile began, it was just to file documents that would be kept for 30 days and then they would be dumped. However, they kept the documents all this time. According to Hogg, they want to control them and be able to sell them. She stated that she would be concerned about sensitive information that should not be put out there and some documents are under non-disclosure orders. The commissioners voted and passed the motion to adopt this resolution.
The meeting adjourned with additional well wishes for Ed Cain and Shirley Stephens.
After the meeting, Cain discussed his retirement saying “It’s a very moving time for me. It’s a bittersweet time for me. It’s the right thing to do. I’m going to miss a lot about this job. I’m certainly going to miss the people I see every day.” The fact that no one in his department was hurt really badly or shot in 20 years is what he says is the best thing overall. “I’m responsible for them so I don’t want anything to happen to any of them.”
Regarding the transition from his leadership to that of Sheriff-Elect Mark Davis; Cain said it has been very smooth. “Mark and I are not only friends, I supported him and I still support him,” he said. The one piece of advice he shared with Davis was to “listen, be sympathetic, and be compassionate. Take care of your employees.”
Cain has expressed a zero tolerance for drugs during his time as sheriff. He says that although drug usage in Hardin County has not been stopped, he believes that his department has done a good job. “Mark Davis was a part of that not only in our department years ago in narcotics but he has the same attitude toward it and I think it will continue. He’ll continue to fight narcotics in our county. But you know that’s going to take the help of the people. That’s one great thing we’ve had in Hardin County; the citizens don’t want that (drugs). They’re going to continue to back law enforcement.”
Cain says he is looking forward to spending more time with his family now that he is retiring. He became a little emotional as he talked about his family. “That’s the hardest part of this job in law enforcement. For 30 years my family put up with it. My wife and I have been married for 35 years. She put up with a lot.” For now, Cain says he will “get his feet firm on the ground and take a deep breath.”