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Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says layoffs, increases in license fees and several other options are all “on the table” as he drafts the city budget for the next fiscal year.
On WFPL’s State of Affairs Thursday, Fischer discussed: the city budget; Metro Government’s response to recent industrial accidents in Rubbertown and Butchertown; the future of Whiskey Row; and his thoughts on Metro Council discretionary spending. You can listen to the full interview here.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has launched a review of the city’s Planning and Design Services department.
Fischer previously announced audits of Public Works and Animal Services, and he’s planning a review of the economic development department. The mayor says he wants each department to be a model for other cities.
The Planning and Design Services department works on zoning and landmarks, among other issues. The review will look at how the department can better serve developers and neighborhoods. It will be led by an eight person panel that includes representatives from the mayor’s office, the state resource council, home builders and preservation groups.
- Bill Bardenwerper, Attorney
- Tommy Clark, Office of the Mayor
- Tom Fitzgerald, Kentucky Resource Council
- Gabe Fritz, The Housing Partnership
- Chuck Kavanaugh, Home Builders Association
- Gale Lively, Louisville Apartment Association
- Jim Mims, Director, Inspections, Metro Codes and Regulations
- Steve Porter, Attorney
by Graham Shelby
The mayors of Louisville and Lexington spoke together in Frankfort on Wednesday and called for Kentucky’s leaders in business and government to think big and think creatively about the future of the Commonwealth.
Addressing the Local Government Committee of the Kentucky House, Fisher followed up on his State of the City speech and said he takes inspiration from North Carolina’s Research Triangle of Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh.
“Regional partnerships are important. We’re living in a world right now that’s rapidly urbanizing….when we look out twenty years from now…unless Louisville, Lexington, E-town – our geographic cluster is seen as a three or four million (person) population cluster, investments from Washington D.C., international investments will not be as quick to come to our state,” he said.
Fisher said the region already has significant number of businesses in industries like aging care, logistics and automotive manufacturing among others.
Gray said he agreed with Fisher on the principles that should guide Kentucky in the 21st century. “Innovation and imagination and invention – focusing on job creation….We need all the help we can get.”
Later this year, Mayor Greg Fischer will name a new director of Louisville Metro Animal Services. The director will be the fourth person in two years to lead the agency, and the second person to not have the title preceded by ‘interim.’
Fischer told the Courier-Journal he’s determined not to overlook anything as the city conducts background checks of every applicant for the position. Fischer is looking to avoid a repeat of the last few years, when previous director Gilles Meloche (who was found after a national search) stepped down amid accusations of mistreating animals and harassing employees. After Meloche, Wayne Zelinsky was named interim director. He stepped down last week after The Ville Voice uncovered a business Zelinsky and his wife were running. The business promotes adult entertainment.
MetroSafe deputy director Debbie Fox is now leading LMAS. She will serve until a permanent director is appointed.
Louisville Metro Animal Services interim director Wayne Zelinsky has resigned.
The announcement comes weeks into a review of the department ordered by Mayor Greg Fischer.
For more than a year, LMAS has been the target of criticism. Zelinsky became interim director after former director Gilles Meloche resigned amidst allegations of mistreatment of animals and improper behavior. Zelinsky has been named in lawsuits brought by employees, and is also under investigation by the police public integrity unit.
Deputy director of MetroSafe Debbie Fox will be the new interim director of LMAS. She will serve until April, when a permanent director is appointed.
WFPL will have more on this story this afternoon. Mayor Fischer will speak about the matter at a 1:00 press conference.
Below is the announcement from Fischer’s office.
Mayor Greg Fischer today named Debbie Fox as the new interim leader of Metro Animal Services, following the resignation of Director Wayne Zelinsky.
Fox, currently Deputy Director of MetroSafe, will oversee animal control for the city while the Fischer administration conducts a national search for a new full-time director and completes a top-to-bottom review of Animal Services.
Fox will remain in the new role until April, when Fischer plans to name a permanent director for Animal Services. She was named Communications Center Director of Year in 2010 by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.
“Debbie is a solid leader who has been nationally recognized and has a proven track record in customer service,” Fischer said. “I’m confident that she will effectively manage Animal Services during this transition period.”
Last month, Fischer named a committee to audit Animal Services and a separate committee to search for a new leader. The review and search are being overseen by Sadiqa Reynolds, Chief of Community Building for the city. Applications for the Director of Animal Services are being accepted until Feb. 14.
Zelinsky submitted his resignation, effective immediately, this morning.
Here is the story from WFPL:
The embattled director of Louisville Metro Animal Services has resigned.
Wayne Zelinsky had been interim director since Dr. Gilles Meloche stepped down amid accusations of mistreating animals and employees. Zelinsky was also controversial. He is named in two lawsuits and was allegedly operating an adult-themed entertainment business online. Zelinsky resigned after being confronted about the business.
“We advised Wayne [Tuesday] night that we were aware of a website that he had up and running and needed to discuss that with him and he came in [Wednesday] morning and resigned,” says Mayor Greg Fischer.
Last month, Fischer ordered a full review of LMAS and launched a national search for a new director. He said then he would keep Zelinsky in charge of the department, unless the auditors recommended otherwise. Fischer says the search for a permanent director will continue, though he’s not sure about the progress of the audit.
“You know, I make it a matter not to really get in the middle of audits while they’re going on because they start and then you never know what they’re going to find out. They’re hard at work right now. We’ll get a report on it at the end of the first quarter. We’re progressing with the audit, that’s all I know at this point,” he says.
Zelinsky will be replaced by current MetroSafe deputy director Debbie Fox. A permanent director will be named in April.
The Merger 2.0 task force is coming together. The panel is responsible for reviewing the first eight years of merger and recommending changes and improvements to government and the state law that governs merger.
When Mayor Greg Fischer created the task force, he said he wanted four council members on it–two from within the urban services district (old city) and two from outside. Further, he wanted at least one of those council members to be a Republican (Republicans are the minority in the council).
The mayor got just that.
On Tuesday, Council President Jim King (D-10) announced the following appointments to the task force:
Inside the USD:
- Dan Johnson (D-21)
- Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5)
- Rick Blackwell (D-12)
- James Peden (R-23)
Mayor Greg Fischer has released the names of the members of the committee that will search for a new Public Health and Wellness Director. The new director will replace Dr. Adewale Troutman, who is leaving the post for a job in Flordia.
Here are the committee members:
- Sadiqa Reynolds, Chief of Community Building for Mayor Fischer
- Bill Altman, Chairman of the Louisville Board of Health
- Bill Wagner, Director of Louisville Family Health Centers
- Richard Clover, Dean of the U of L School of Public Health and Information Sciences
- Dr. Allan Tasman, University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry
- F. Bruce Williams, Pastor, Bates Memorial Baptist Church in Smoketown
- Kellie Watson, Director of Louisville Metro Human Resources, or her designee.
Sadiqa Reynolds is also leading the review of Metro Animal Services.
Changes could be made to the Ohio River Bridges Project.
Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky, Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are touting a proposed set of changes to the project. The changes would shrink the ORBP, but two new bridges and a revamped Spaghetti Junction would still be in the plan.
The leaders have proposed keeping Spaghetti Junction in its current location, making the east end bridge four lanes instead of six and cutting bike lanes from the proposed downtown bridge in favor of the pedestrian-only Big Four Bridge. The proposed changes could cut half a billion dollars from the project.
Both states and the bi-state Bridges Authority will host a conference next month to find other ways to cut costs. Mayor Fischer says that may satisfy those citizens who have said the $4.1 billion project is too expensive.
“The project is costly as it is right now,” he says. “But some preliminary things have identified at least a half billion dollars or so and I would certainly hope as we pull the best minds in the world together on this thing that we can save more money than that as well.”
Fischer also says tolls should not be placed on the Sherman Minton or Clark Memorial Bridges. The group Say No To Bridge Tolls has called the proposed changes a victory. Members further hope no tolls will be placed on the Kennedy Bridge and that the project will be built in phases. The Bridges Authority previously opposed that suggestion.
As I am sure you are aware, some very disturbing allegations have surfaced in the Louisville Mayoral race involving Democrat candidate Greg Fischer and a quid-pro-quo deal he cut with Independent candidate Jackie Green. According to today’s article in the Leo Weekly, it appears that Fischer’s campaign may have agreed to appoint Green to a high-paying government job if Green would drop out of the race and endorse Fischer’s candidacy. The Leo even included alarming email excerpts between the campaigns evidencing such an agreement. Shortly after this alleged deal was cut, Green did, in fact, drop out of the race and endorse Fischer.
The allegations against Greg Fischer are serious and potentially criminal in nature. As Attorney General, you have an obligation to investigate and prosecute election fraud and public corruption. However, according to the Registry of Election Finance, you have contributed $1000 to Greg Fischer’s campaign. Your financial relationship with Mr. Fischer’s campaign renders you incapable of providing objective leadership on any investigation of these allegations. Therefore, I call on you to recuse yourself from this matter entirely and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this potentially criminal activity.
Green’s campaign manager Tyler Hess has made a few statements to the media.
Jackie was doing this to move issues forward. Greg wanted political capital because he saw Jackie as a threat and our momentum. Jackie had a baby on the way and was going to constant events on his bike and TARC – amazing man…Greg wanted Jackie out of the way and Jackie was an Office of Sustainability. Plain and simple. No two party bashing needed.
And in regard to the controversy over the endorsement, Hess says:
It’s not as much of a “story” as everyone is making it. This must be clarified.
The public is being damaged by this fire storm and are confused (and disgusted).””We must re-focus on the issues.”
The issues must continue to be known, analyzed and changed. Floyds Fork, public transit, etc
LEO Weekly is taking the Courier-Journal to task on how this issue was covered. LEO (and WHAS-TV) published more information than the C-J, and the two papers had differing accounts of how the endorsement was made. LEO published an e-mail wherein Green says there may be room for him and his team in a Fischer administration, exposing a quid pro quo situation.
Questions abound as to why the C-J didn’t include/know about the other emails. At best, it’s perhaps a consequence of “access journalism,” whereby reporters take the information espoused by high-level, hard-to-get-to sources as gospel simply for the sake of possessing that information; and at worst it smacks of the C-J’s editorial board seeking to protect its investment of a likely endorsement of Greg Fischer. When a politician like Green suffers from a sudden bout of Nixonian amnesia — going so far as to tell WHAS11′s Joe Arnold that he can’t even remember his wife’s fucking birthday — questions of impropriety take center stage in the rational voter’s mind.
Here is a statement from Chris Poynter with the Fischer campaign:
Nothing was promised to Jackie Green — and Hal Heiner and the Republican Party know that. This is a ploy to divert the public’s attention because Heiner is down in the polls and losing the race.