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New Mayor Greg Fischer is officially in office. He took the oath Monday. After his speech and a short prayer, fireworks were launched downtown (in the daytime) and the City Hall bells were rung. The fanfare was topped off with a short (two block) parade.

From WFPL:

Lousiville has not grown as fast as many peer cities, and Fischer acknowledged that in his speech. He said without an educated workforce, Louisville will not be able to compete with those other cities.

“The future of our city, the relevance of Louisville as a thriving 21st Century City is what’s at stake here. We will set our sights high,” he said.

Fischer then touted the economic benefits of a healthier population.

“We’re at the top of too many of the wrong lists when it comes to the health of our residents: rates of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer,” he said. “Poor health not only decreases the quality of life, but also drives up the cost of health care for employers.”

Click here to read more and listen to Fischer’s entire speech.

Also taking the oath were newly-elected and re-elected city and county officials, including Metro Council members. Members of Congress and the General Assembly were on the stage, as were the presidents of Spalding and U of L.

Former mayoral candidate Jackie Green was in the audience. Green ran as an independent, but dropped out of the race to support Fischer shortly before the election. I talked with Green afterward. He said “Our work is cut out for us,” but then lamented the fact that Fischer did not talk about sustainability in his inaugural address.

“Other cities are aggressively pursuing sustainability,” said Green, re-iterating his campaign talking point that Louisville must embrace environmentally-friendly policies in order to properly grown and succeed in the future.



Welcome to 2011. In case you haven’t heard, Greg Fischer will be sworn in as mayor today. Here is a story about what outgoing Mayor Jerry Abramson‘s departure may mean for the city.

I’ll be covering the swearing-in ceremony. You can follow along on Twitter.

Tickets to the breakfast and gala to celebrate Mayor-elect Greg Fischer’s inauguration are no longer available. 2,300 free tickets to the breakfast were given out. 1,700 tickets were sold for the evening gala. The mid-morning prayer service and the inauguration itself are still open to the public.

Monday’s inauguration breakfast will be held in the Kentucky International Convention Center downtown. The room is being decorated with city vehicles (police boat, TARC buses) and replicas of various landmarks (Metro Hall, Churchill Downs). Black carpets will be dotted with yellow tape to look like streets. Louisville Magazine’s correspondent told me the setup reminded him of this movie.

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer has made what could be the final staff announcement of the transition. He has ordered a performance audit of the Public Works Department “to insure (sic) it is operating at maximum efficiency and effectiveness.”

From the Fischer team:

Fischer also announced that he will conduct a national search for new directors for the Department of Public Health & Wellness and Metro Animal Services — and he rounded out his administration by announcing that remaining departments heads, along with their assistant directors and executive assistants not affected by last week’s personnel announcements, will remain in their roles.

Fischer announced that the Public Works Audit Team — led by Dave Vogel, Vice President of Customer Service Distribution Operations for Louisville Water Company — will conduct the top-to-bottom review of the department, which has an $83 million budget and 728 full-time employees. Vogel will be on loan to the Mayor’s Office for up to six months while he and his team conduct the review. Public Works Director Ted Pullen will remain in his role while the review is being conducted.


Fischer today also announced that directors and assistant directors in related agencies, such as the Louisville Zoo or the Parking Authority of River City, will remain in their roles, as will most of the existing personnel in the Mayor’s Office not affected by last week’s personnel announcements.

No word on whether Fischer will explore extending the city’s urban services to the old county. Metro Council President Tom Owen was planning to form a committee to explore the idea, but said he decided to wait until Fischer took office before pursuing a reworking of city operations.

Fischer previously announced eight new appointees. His team will also hire a new Economic Development Director to replace Bruce Traughber, who is leaving on January 3rd.

A Metro Animal Services update, from LEO:

Wayne Zelinsky, the interim director of Louisville Metro Animal Services, will be retained by Mayor-elect Greg Fischer until a national search for a full-time replacement has been completed.


Fischer’s decision to retain Zelinsky contradicts what the then-candidate told LEO Weekly in mid-October. In an interview conducted on the campaign trail, Fischer was asked if Zelinsky would be retained as interim director.

“No,” Fischer said. “We plan on doing a national search for that job.”

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer named eight appointments for his administration.

Here is the story.

Here are the details from the Fischer team:

  • Ellen Hesen as Chief of Staff, who will manage interactions between all city departments and the mayor’s office. Hesen, 52, of Louisville, is currently General Counsel for Gov. Steve Beshear. She also has served as General Counsel for the state auditor and was a former Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet for Health Services. Hesen earned a JD from the University of Louisville School of Law and has held several positions in private sector law firms. She lives in the Highlands.
  • William E. Summers IV will serve in the Fischer administration for six months as senior advisor to the Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer.  Summers is currently Deputy Mayor for Mayor Jerry Abramson. He will help ensure a smooth transition between governments,  provide counsel to the new administration, and share the significant institutional knowledge he has from his more than two decades of experience in the city government.
  • Pat Mulvihill as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs and General Counsel. Mulvihill will manage relations between the state and federal governments and between the mayor and the Metro Council and serve as General Counsel to the Mayor. Mulvihill, 40, was a member of the Greater Louisville Merger Transition Task Force and Co-Director of the Merger Transition Office. He is currently a litigator and legal advisor with the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office and has previously worked at several Louisville law firms. He has been the legal representative for several city government agencies, and he earned a JD from the University of Louisville. He lives in Audubon Park.
  • Sadiqa Reynolds as Chief of Community Building. Reynolds, 38, will oversee numerous agencies including the Department of Health & Wellness, Housing & Family Services and cultural attractions, such as the Louisville Zoo and Louisville Science Center. Reynolds is a former District Court Judge and has been on the board of the Home of the Innocents, Maryhurst, Habitat for Humanity and the Bates Community Development Corp. She earned a JD from University of Kentucky and lives in Glen Oaks.
  • Ron Weston as special assistant to the Mayor and as a member of the Intergovernmental Affairs team. Weston, 62, is a current state representative from Southwest Louisville and was the first president of the Louisville Metro Council. He will join the Fischer administration in a part-time role and, along with others to be named later, will manage relations between the state and federal governments and between the mayor and the Metro Council as well as special assignments as they arise. He lives in Fairdale.
  • Steve Rowland as Chief Financial Officer. Rowland, 58, was the former Chief Financial Advisor to Jefferson County Government from 1990 to 1998 and worked under four governors in the Office of Policy and Management. He is currently a co-owner of SKP Properties, which manages apartments and homes. He earned a BA from Eastern Kentucky University and lives in Pewee Valley.
  • Kellie Watson as Director of Human Resources. Watson, 36, is currently executive director of the Office of Human Resources Management at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. She is also acting director for the Office for Civil Rights and Small Business Development in the Cabinet. She also is a former executive director of the Louisville Metro Government Human Relations Commission. She earned a law degree from Vanderbilt University and has been involved in the Louisville Urban League Young Professionals, Jack and Jill Inc. and the Ignite Louisville program through Leadership Louisville. She lives downtown.
  • Adria Johnson as acting director of Housing and Family Services. Johnson is currently that department’s assistant director and was hired into Metro Government in 2005. She has significant private sector experience, including at Brown & Williamson, LG&E and Humana.
  • Fischer also will be naming a new director of Economic Development in the future, following this week’s announcement that Bruce Traughber will leave his position as Director of Economic Development for a job with the University of Louisville’s NUCLEUS program.

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer announced his plans for the inauguration today. He also answered a few questions about the transition team’s review of current city department heads and said an announcement about a few vacancies may come sometime next week.

From WFPL:

One of the most persistent questions Fischer has been asked since the election is how he will structure his administration. He has been talking with the more than 100 high-level employees he could directly replace upon taking office, and he says there will be some openings and replacements announced soon.

“There’ll be enough folks that you’ll be able to see a nucleus of folks coming in that represents the Fischer administration, but in terms of an exact number right now, that’s a little premature on that,” he says.

The Courier-Journal reported this weekend that a handful of the at-will employees (department heads, etc) are not seeking to retain their jobs under Fischer.

The inauguration committee will be led by Christy Brown and Old National Bank vice president Tommy Elliot. The honorary chairs are former Representative Ron Mazzoli, former Mayor Dave Armstrong and former State Senator Georgia Powers. The complete list of inauguration team members is at the bottom of this post, after the jump.

Fischer’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says the team is hoping to raise 150 thousand dollars to finance the inauguration activities, and those donations have to come from individuals. The donations will pay for:

  • A breakfast at 7:30 that’s open to the public (free tickets are required and are available from the transition team)
  • An interfaith celebration at 9:30 (no tickets needed)
  • The swearing-in ceremony itself at 11:00 and the parade that will follow
  • The inaugural gala at the Convention Center. Tickets for this are $100.

Fischer has declared the following Saturday a day of service. Volunteers can sign up to help with various projects through the United Way.

The complete inauguration planning team:

Read the rest of this entry »

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer unveiled his transition team Wednesday. Here is the WFPL coverage, and here is a list of the team members:

Ron Weston

Merv Aubespin
Vice Chair

Doug Cobb
Vice Chair

Mary Gwen Wheeler
Vice Chair

Gabriela Alcalde 

Bill Altman

Muhammad Barbar

Bill Bardenwarper

Erica BeasleyNicole Candler

Middletown Mayor
Byron Chapman

Tommy Clark

Ann Coffey

Shively Mayor
Sherry Conner

Jose Neil Donis

Jonathan Dooley

SteVon Edwards

Bill Finn

Jon Goldberg

Eric Gunderson

GJ Hart

Margaret Handmaker

Gill Holland

Nikki Jackson

Vince Jarboe

Lee Lewis

Tomiko McDaniel

JK McKnight

Rishabh MehrotraLynnie Meyer

Larry Michalczyk

Charlie Moyer

Yung Nguyen

Kent Oyler 

Djenita Pasic

Ben Richmond

Vidya Ravichandran

Greg Roberts

Ann Smith

Rev. Frank Smith

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl

Ron Weston is an outgoing State Representative and former President of the Metro Council.

Merv Aubespin is a retired Courier-Journal associate editor.

Doug Cobb is a three-time Kentucky Entrepreneur of the Year.

Mary Gwen Wheeler is a senior advisor to Mayor Jerry Abramson on education.

Gabriela Alcalde is the former director of the Louisville Metro Office for Women.

Bill Altman is the chair of the Louisville Metro Board of Health and a VP at Kindred Healthcare.

Dr. Muhammad Babar is an attending physician at Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare

Bill Bardenwerper is on the board of directors for the Home Builders Assocation and helped write the Cornerstone 2020 plan.

Erica Kellem-Beasley is a board member for the Louisville Urban League Young Professionals

Nicole Candler owns Nic Creative Public Relations

Byron Chapman is the Mayor of Middletown.

Tommy Clark is the city’s disabilities director. He spoke to WFPL recently.

Ann Coffey is the president of Women 4 Women.

Sherry Conner is the Mayor of Shively.

Jose Neil Donis publishes Al Dia en America.

Jonathan Dooley is the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1447.

SteVon Edwards works for the Metro Health Department as an obesity prevention specialist.

Bill Finn is business manager for IBEW Local 369.

Jon Goldberg is on the Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts board.

Eric Gunderson was on the Louisville Arena Authority.

Margaret Handmaker was on the U of L Foundation Board.

GJ Hart is the President of Texas Roadhouse.

Gill Holland is a film producer, developer and Louisville Public Media board member.

Nikki Jackson is the Secretary of the Kentucky Personnel Cabinet.

Vince Jarboe co-founded the Southwest Dream Team.

Lee Lewis is on the national political committee of the Sierra Club.

Tomiko McDaniel is a UAW Local 862 member.

J.K. McKnight founded the Forecastle Festival.

Rishabh Mehrotra is chair of the Health Enterprises Network board.

Lynnie Meyer is the chief development officer at Norton Healthcare and former president of the Center for Women and Families.

Larry Michalczyk is an adjunct faculty member in U of L’s Kent School of Social Work.

R. Charles Moyer is the dean of the U of L College of Business and is on the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority.

Yung Nguyen is president of IVS LLC and he founded Lac Viet Academy.

Kent Oyler is a so-called serial entrepreneur.

Djenta Pasic owns Brainswork USA.

Vidya Ravichandran is president of GlowTouch Technologies.

Ben Richmond is president of the Urban League and is also on the Bridges Authority.

Greg Roberts is the president fo the Muhammad Ali Center

Anne Smith is the director of Ministries United South Central Louisville

Reverend Frank Smith is president of the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition. He has spoken to WFPL several times recently. On one occasion, he called out Fischer’s former rival Hal Heiner for his ad calling for an end to the JCPS student assignment plan.

Mary Ellen Wiederwohl is the former president of the Junior League of Louisville.

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