November 15, 1994
Subject: County Judge/Executive's Expense Allowance
Written by: Gerard Gerhard
Requested by: Hon. Steve Tribble
Syllabus: Where statute directs that an expense allowance shall be received by the county judge/executive, paying agency cannot accede to the request of the county judge/executive that such payment be instead made to the county treasury.
OAGs cited: None.
Statutes construed: KRS 67.722, 177.320.
OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
The following question, in substance, has been presented:
Where a statute expressly directs that an expense allowance for performance of duties and fulfilling responsibilities in the administration of the local county road program shall be received by the county judge/executive, may the allowance be paid instead, upon the request of the county judge/executive, to the county treasury?
KRS 67.722 provides:
The county judge/executive shall receive an annual expense allowance of three thousand six hundred dollars ($3,600) for performing his duties and fulfilling his responsibilities in the administration of the local county road program. Payment shall be made quarterly in the amount of nine hundred dollars ($900) per quarter, the first such payment to be made for the quarter ending March 31, 1978.
The specific command of the statutory language quoted above is that the county judge/executive shall receive an annual expense allowance for performing and fulfilling his duties and fulfilling his responsibilities in the administration of the local county road program. No authority is granted for the county judge to waive such payment or to direct a paying agency to make the payment to another as the county judge/executive may direct. Surely it will be recognized that a governmental agency, in making disbursement of governmental funds, is bound by the express language of the statutes. Stated another way, a paying agency cannot lawfully make a payment from governmental funds except in conformity with statutory direction.
In the matter here involved, the expense allowance is paid by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to county judge/executives based upon KRS 67.722 and KRS 177.320.
No statutory discretion is provided for the Cabinet to accede to the request of a county judge/executive, that the payment statutorily mandated to be received by the county judge/executive shall instead be sent to the county treasury. It follows that the Cabinet may not lawfully do so.
Gerard R. Gerhard
Assistant Attorney General