The office of County Attorney was first made a constitutional office under the Kentucky Constitution of 1850. The present Constitution requires the election of a County Attorney every 4 years.
The County Attorney serves as legal counsel for county government. As such, The County Attorney attends meetings of the county governing body (i.e. the fiscal court) and conducts the legal business for that body. The County Attorney attends to legal actions involving the fiscal court including bringing such actions in the courts of the Commonwealth as the fiscal court may direct. In addition to advising the fiscal court, The County Attorney also serves as legal adviser to various other county officials and officers.
The County Attorney is responsible for the collection of delinquent real and personal property tax bills if he or she has entered into a contract with the Kentucky Department of Revenue to do so.
The County Attorney assists persons seeking appointment of a guardian for adults who have become disabled and are not able to manage their personal and/or financial affairs and is required to assist the court in the presentation of evidence at the required trial on the question of disability.
The County Attorney represents the Commonwealth in the prosecution of all traffic, misdemeanor and juvenile actions in the District Court. In providing services to the public (as opposed to the county or state), the County Attorney assists businesses or merchants in prosecuting theft cases arising out of the issuance of “cold checks” and seeks to collect restitution for victims in those instances.
Kentucky law provides that the County Attorney shall not be prohibited from engaging in the private practice of law. Boyd County Attorney Phillip Hedrick devotes substantially all of his time to his public duties and does not maintain an active private law practice.