Mayor’s Office Offered Council Members Publicity to Help Fund WorldFest

by admin on August 24, 2011

The office of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer promised Metro Council members personal advertisements in exchange for using their discretionary funds to help pay for this weekend’s WorldFest celebration.

Fischer recently announced the annual event was being expanded to three days and a volunteer with his Office of Globalization was soliciting city lawmakers to get the final $30,000. The administration offered to put the names of council members on banners, in print and radio ads if they contributed form their tax-payer funded accounts.

The solicitation further highlights the council’s use of the public funds, which have been under scrutiny for the past year due to allegations made against Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1, who faces removal from office.

From the Courier-Journal:

The city office organizing the event asked Democratic Councilman David Tandy’s office to email all council members and request each to contribute $1,000 from their discretionary funds. In return, council members will get their names listed as sponsors on banners and in print and radio ads for WorldFest.

Kevin Kramer, vice chairman of the council’s Republican caucus, said the individual recognition amounts to paid political advertising — bought with city tax dollars.

“There’s something about it that I find incredibly distasteful,” Kramer said. “ I just don’t think we should use taxpayer dollars that way.”

(SNIP)

Sadiqa Reynolds, Fischer’s chief of Community Building.

Reynolds said council policies related to spending of discretionary money allow for individual recognition of members who dedicate tax money to a project or event.

“The truth of it is, their policy says we may do it,” Reynolds said. “That’s been the history here. If it’s a policy they want to change, then we won’t acknowledge individuals. I’m trying to understand why this is such a big deal.

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