BY PATRICK CROWLEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BURLINGTON - When Ken Lucas was elected Boone County judge-executive six years ago, he hired Jim Collins as his county administrator.
Mr. Lucas is now the 4th District congressman-elect and he's once again turning to Mr. Collins, this time to handle constituents and the day-to-day operation of his office.
Mr. Collins said Wednesday he has agreed to run Mr. Lucas' main Kentucky congressional field office. The location of the office has not been determined, he said.
"I have a great amount of respect for Ken, and we worked well together in Boone County," said Mr. Collins, a former Florence city councilman.
"Since the election, he's talked to me several times, hoping I would do this. It's nice to be wanted, and I've agreed to take the job," he said.
Mr. Collins, a Democrat, has been in the job market since the Nov. 3 election, when he lost the Boone County judge-executive race to Gary Moore. Mr. Moore plans to hire his own county administrator. "I'm excited," Mr. Collins said. "I'll be learning something new. And while I'll still be dealing with administration and dealing with constituents, it will be on a much different level than what I've been doing in Boone County."
Mr. Lucas could not be reached to comment.
Mr. Collins is the second staff member Mr. Lucas has named.
Virginia resident and native John Lapp, who spent much of the last year in Northern Kentucky running Mr. Lucas' campaign, has been hired as chief of staff. Mr. Lapp will also handle press relations for Mr. Lucas.
Mr. Collins said Mr. Lucas will eventually have a staff in Kentucky of five to eight people. Tentative plans call for having field representatives on both ends of the 22-county 4th District, which runs along the Ohio River from Ashland in the east to Oldham County near Louisville in the west.
Mr. Lucas doesn't have a lack of applicants to choose from. He has been deluged with resumes from people looking for jobs.
Meanwhile, Mr. Moore met Tuesday with Newport City Manager Jim Parsons. Mr. Moore is talking to Mr. Parsons about assisting the new administration with transitioning into office, or possibly even becoming county administrator.
Mr. Collins said he will stay on through the end of the year, working with interim county Judge-executive Larry Burcham.
Mr. Burcham was appointed to office this summer by Gov. Paul Patton after Mr. Lucas resigned to spend more time on his congressional race.