Fayette County Board Member Wade Wilhour is responding to a statement made earlier this week by Fayette County Coroner Bruce Bowen. In Bowen’s statement, he announced he is retiring as the County’s Coroner after 17 years in the position, citing displeasure with the way his budget was handled for 2018. Also in the statement, Bowen writes that “Board member Wilhour told me more than one time “I could easily be replaced” so I will move aside and let it happen.” And, Wade Wilhour released the following statement in response.
I’ll never deny that Bruce has been an excellent coroner. He will be missed, and I would like to thank him for his 17 years of service. I felt I needed to defend myself in the statement made regarding me. Our words matter and so does context, so that is why it’s important to have the full story.
In regards to the statement issued by Coroner Bowen; his statement mentions Wilhour, which is me, Wade Wilhour. Seeing that he specifically mentions my name, I felt it was important to put the statement into context.
It was actually a meeting that I will never forget. Last year, before Mr. Bowen’s re-election, there was a meeting at the courthouse. The purpose of this meeting was to slate Republican candidates for the ballot for the upcoming election. At the time, Bruce had announced he wasn’t going to seek re-election. Jeff Beckman and I were on our way up to the courtroom (which is where the meeting was going to be held) when we were pulled aside. The short version of the meeting is as follows: Mr. Bowen wanted more money if he was going to be put on the ballot as the Republican candidate. Mr. Beckman nor myself had the authority to guarantee Mr. Bowen an increase in salary. It was not the time or the place to discuss such a matter, in my opinion. As for the statement Mr. Bowen made in saying that I told him he was replaceable; I said it then and will still say it today. I told him in that very meeting that he in fact was replaceable, and in the same sentence, I said that I was also replaceable. I also said that all leaders should look at themselves as being replaceable. If we believe we are irreplaceable, we have failed at being good leaders.