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Fischer’s Inauguration Will Be Larger Than Previous

The festivities for Mayor-elect Greg Fischer’s inauguration begin at 7:30 Monday morning.

To celebrate Fischer’s inauguration, there will be a breakfast, prayer service, parade and formal gala. Katy Schneider helped plan the breakfast. She says there’s quaite a bit more fanfare this year than for previous inaugurations.

“They wanted to make it incredibly special,” she says. “He will be our 50th Mayor. It’s new leadership in this city and it’s really exciting, so they felt like they wanted to do something really, really special.”

All of the events will cost about $150 thousand . They will be paid for through donations and the proceeds from ticket sales for the gala. Except for the gala, all of the day’s events are free, but tickets to the gala and breakfast are no longer available, due to high demand.

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Abramson Says Transition Will Be Smooth, Anticipates Urban Services Extension

Since merger, Louisville’s way of managing services such as garbage collection has been a frequent target of criticism. But outgoing Mayor Jerry Abramson says service delivery could change, if Louisvillians decide they want it to.

The Urban Services District is made up of the old City of Louisville. Residents of that area pay an extra tax to receive urban services. In the rest of Louisville, smaller governments or private contractors provide the services.

Abramson says an expansion of urban services is likely inevitable, and he cites Lexington as an example.

“They have, in fact, had an expansion of the Urban Services District to several of the areas contiguous to the Urban Services District,” he says. “It’s simply a matter of putting a pencil to it.”

Abramson says if the city can provide the services for less, residents may petition Metro Government to opt into the services. The Metro Council nearly formed a committee to explore an extension of services, but decided to wait until Mayor-elect Fischer took office.

Fischer will be sworn in next week, and Abramson expects the following months to go smoothly.

Fischer comes from the private sector and has not held public office before. Abramson  says that will lead to changes, but the day to day operations of the city will not likely be affected immediately. Over time, he says, Fischer will develop his own way of managing the city.

“It takes time to understand,” he says. “It takes time to become a leader from being a manager. We all probably start off as a manager just to make sure we’re managing the government properly. We’ve got it in a structure that’s comfortable for us.”

Abramson says Fischer will inherit a budget that is likely to need little adjustment, as receipts have been in line with predictions so far. However, Fischer will likely have to find millions of dollars to pay for higher pension costs and a settlement with retired firefighters who were underpaid while working for the old city of Louisville.

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Fischer Announces First New Hires

Eight new officers have been named to Mayor-elect Greg Fischer’s administration.

Fischer made the first of several announcements about new staff members Friday, appointing, among others, a new chief of staff, director of housing, chief financial officer and director of human resources. Many of the employees come from state government, while some are already in Metro Government in another context. And some of the new employees will fill positions that currently do not exist. For example, Fischer has appointed a chief of community building.

“We’ll be announcing a new structure for the mayor’s office. Community building is one of those. It will oversee areas such as family and human services, cultural attractions, the zoo, the science center, those areas that reach out and touch our citizens,” he says.

For the first six months of Fischer’s first term, current Deputy Mayor Bill Summers will fill another new position: Chief Administrative Officer.

“Bill was ready to retire and wasn’t really thinking about this, but I called on him to share all of this knowledge he has with us to make sure we have this smooth transition. So he changed his plans for the good of the city, and Bill, I really appreciate it,” says Fischer.

Former Metro Council President and outgoing state representative Ron Weston will be a special assistant to Fischer. More new hires will be announced before Fischer takes office on January 3rd.

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Bunning Delivers Farewell Address To Senate

Outgoing U.S. Senator Jim Bunning blasted several recently-passed laws Thursday as he gave his farewell address to his colleagues.

Bunning criticized the healthcare overhaul law. He said he believes it’s unconstitutional. He then said the recently-passed financial overhaul package is insufficient.

“There were and are real problems in our financial system, but that bill is not going to fix them, and almost certainly sows the seeds for the next banking and financial crisis,” he says.

Bunning said the law does not do enough to shrink large banks and punish them for reckless policies. Bunning did not seek a third term last year and will be replaced by fellow Republican Rand Paul next year.

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James Will Likely Assume Council Office This Year

Newly-elected Metro Government officials will be sworn in in January. But one incoming Metro Councilman will likely assume office in the coming weeks.

David James won the special election to serve the remaining two years of the late George Unseld’s term. Instead of waiting until inauguration day, James only needs confirmation from the Board of Elections to be sworn in.

“I don’t believe that even if it were certified before [this week’s] meeting that I’ll be able to,” he says. “There’s still some procedural things that have to take place first.”

James says he attended the last Democratic caucus meeting and has talked with some of his future colleagues. He says he’s already working on some of his predecessors’ projects.

“We’ve got some issues in creating the 6th District neighborhood advisory committee,” he says. “We’re going to be working on that right away. We’re going to start working on the 4th and Oak issues. We’re going to be working on some of our sidewalk issues, some of our safety issues and our abandoned and dilapidated property issues.”

James will replace independent Deonte Hollowell, who was appointed after Unseld’s death, but lost to James in a four-way race for the seat.

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Fischer Announces Transition Team

The 41 people who will guide mayor-elect Greg Fischer’s transition to Metro Hall have been named.

Fischer’s transition team includes religious, business and civic leaders. Among them are the mayors of Middletown and Shively, Urban League president Ben Richmond, and Southwest Dream Team co-founder Vince Jarboe. The team will be led by outgoing State Representative and former Metro Council President Ron Weston.

While the team will work with Mayor Jerry Abramson’s administration, Fischer says the last mayor of the old city of Louisville will also have a role in the transition.

“Dave Armstrong is going to be serving in another capacity on another team that will be announced in the next five days or so, but he’ll be playing, certainly, a role in this,” he says.

One of Abramson’s advisors and two Metro employees are also on the team. Fischer says more members may be added to the team in the next two months.

“I’ve already spoken to Chris Johnson, president of Leadership Louisville,” he says. “I have asked Leadership Louisville for their help and advice to advice leaders through Leadership Louisville, the Bingham Fellows and the Connectors program as well.”

One of the team’s jobs will be to help decide which city department heads to keep on staff and who to appoint for those who will leave.

“We want to focus on quality, we want to focus on bringing some fresh and new faces as well,” says Fischer. “We’ll get a better sense of that over the next month.”

Fischer will be sworn in as mayor on January 3rd. To see a full transition staff list, visit The Edit.

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Fischer To Unveil Transition Team

Mayor-elect Greg Fischer will announce his transition team Wednesday morning.

Fischer’s transition began last Wednesday when he met with Mayor Jerry Abramson. There are funds in the city budget to pay for the transition team and other expenses through inauguration day on January 3rd.

Fischer’s spokesperson says the transition staff will have 40 people on it, including business and civic leaders from across the city. For the rest of the month, the team will be led by Fischer’s campaign manager Chris Bizzacco. Bizzacco will step down on the 30th and return to his home in New England. A Fischer spokesperson says a new transition leader will be chosen later, though the mayor-elect has several candidates in mind.

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Heiner Not Planning To Run For Office Again

After narrowly losing the Louisville mayor’s race, Republican Hal Heiner says he’s unlikely to seek public office again.

Heiner could not legally seek the mayor’s office and re-election to the Metro Council at the same time, so after this year, he will not hold public office, but he says he wants to stay civically involved.

“We’re going to take—the rest of the family—take the rest of the year without committing in one direction or another,” he says. “Then, the first of next year, start actively seeking where I can help.”

And Heiner adds that he won’t likely seek public office again.

“You know, the short answer to that is…No,” he says. “This was my one time, all in, can you make a difference for the people of Louisville run. So I really have no plans to run for office.”

Heiner says he will also return to his private business work.

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Sixth District Tally Confirmed

Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson is now in possession of vote totals in the 6th District U.S. House race, as certified by local county clerks, but the numbers still must go before the State Board of Elections.

The certified vote count shows Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler garnering 119,812 votes on Election Day. Republican challenger Andy Barr collected 119,163. So, out of more than 239,000 votes cast in the 16-county central Kentucky district, the candidates are separated by 649 votes.

Chandler declared victory Tuesday night, but Barr has refused to concede. Barr wants a recanvass, or recheck of the vote totals, and that will commence next Friday. During the recanvass, which is free, county clerks will verify vote totals on every voting machine used in the district.

Next Friday is also the deadline for Barr to request a recount, which is a lengthy and expensive process that would have to be funded by the Barr campaign.

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Recanvass To Be Conducted In 6th Congressional District

Vote totals in Kentucky’s 6th District U.S. House race will be rechecked for accuracy next week. The recanvass is being sought by the man who appears to have lost his first bid for public office.

Tuesday night, Democratic Congressman Ben Chandler declared victory over Republican challenger Andy Barr, but because the race was so close, Barr refused to concede. Only 644 votes separate the men. Now, Barr wants a recanvass, or second check, of all votes cast in the 16-county district. Les Fugate of the Secretary of State’s office says the recanvass will be conducted on Friday, November 12th.

“You take the cartridges from the voting machine. Take them back to that central tabulation system. Put the cartridge in that system and it aggregates the totals for the entire county,” he says.

The 12th is also the deadline for Barr to seek a recount of all votes. That’s a much more involved process that could last months and cost Barr’s campaign thousands of dollars.