A group of residents from District 1 of the Louisville Metro Council are raising concerns about the effect of Councilwoman Judy Green’s possible removal from office.
The Metro Ethics Commission ruled Green deliberately violated the code of ethics in two separate cases, but the embattled councilwoman still has many supporters. A new group dubbed Concerned Citizens for District One made up of residents and people outside the district say they are determined to keep citizen’s interests from being forgotten during the controversy.
Resident Kathleen Parks says she supports Green, but constituents’ concerns about neighborhood development, youth employment and increased crime are being lost amid the furor.
“Our focus at this particular juncture is the disenfranchisement of District One in terms of our voting rights. We voted in our elected official and we’re concerned about the process that’s taking place in terms that’s going to impact District One,” she says.
Green is the first city official in Metro Government to receive a public reprimand and censure from the ethics panel in connection with two separate charges. If the recently formed council court expels her from office, Green would be the first elected official ousted since merger.
If removed, state law allows for Green to appeal and run again after the expiration of her current term in 2014. But it’s unclear if she can resign and then run again in next year’s primary contest.
However, Parks says the group’s focus is bigger than Green’s pending expulsion trial and residents are organizing to make sure district issues are still being addressed.
“We feel that our voices are not adequately being heard at this particular time. And so we feel like these issues have gotten lost as a result of the ethics investigation,” she says. “It’s as if we voted in our elected official and it’s if those votes are being lost in the process.”
In 2005, Parks applied for the appointment after former Councilwoman Denise Bentley stepped down to take a job in Frankfort with then-Governor Ernie Fletcher. Asked if she would be interested in applying for the seat if it were to become vacated, Parks says she’s been approached by other residents but hasn’t considered it.
The council has set the removal trial for September 12.