Local News Next Louisville

King Unveils Ten-Point Labor Plan

Democratic mayoral candidate Jim King says he has a plan for improving Metro Government’s image in the labor market.

King Wednesday unveiled a ten-point plan that he says will help working families. With Metro Government having recently faced court battles with police and fire unions, King says a cornerstone of his plan is to negotiate with unions and keep labor disputes out of court.

“Louisville has gained some notoriety with employers outside of Louisville as being a town that has a labor culture that requires litigation as opposed to negotiation,” he says.

King says he will also continue several causes he championed in the Metro Council, including prevailing wage laws and requirements for hiring local and minority workers for publicly-funded projects.

The Abramson administration did recently settle out-of-court in a pay dispute with two city employee unions.

Several other points of the plan are extensions of ordinances King sponsored in the Metro Council, including standards for wages and requirements for hiring local and minority workers for publicly-funded projects.

Local News Next Louisville

Council Members Balance Campaigns, Legislation

King1Three members of the Louisville Metro Council—Democrats David Tandy and Jim King and Republican Hal Heiner—are seeking their party’s nomination in next year’s race for mayor.

That has some wondering what, if any, impact it could have on the legislative process as primary election day approaches.

WFPL’s Gabe Bullard has more on how the three councilmen plan to balance their campaigns with their roles as legislators….

When he announced his candidacy for mayor this year, Jim King said he wanted to keep the competition out of the council. Months later, he says that’s still the plan.

“We don’t talk mayoral politics at City Hall.”

In fact, King says running against colleagues in and out of his party has enhanced the race, making the competition more cordial.

“We certainly have mutual respect for each other, and so I know for my part, I can’t imagine running negative ads against a colleague,” he says.

President David Tandy

One of King’s Democratic opponents, outgoing council President David Tandy, agrees. He doesn’t believe the race will

get in the way of council business, even though things may get heated outside of the chamber leading up to the primary.

“There are times when you scrimmage each other before the game,” says Tandy. “The players will scrimmage each other and go after it vigorously, but at the end of the day, we’re all on the same team.”

“There’s a level of respect there, and I really don’t see that creeping into council operations,” says Councilman Hal Heiner.

As a Republican, Heiner has had political differences with Tandy and King on council matters. If he ends up facing one of his colleagues in the general election, Heiner agrees with King that the discourse should stay civil as the campaign heats up.

Councilman Hal Heiner

“I’m hoping that’s the case,” he says. “There is a high level of respect between the members of the council and my hope is that will carry through the next year.”

But not everyone on the council believes that’s likely to happen.

“The potential for that position being a naïve position, it seems to me, is very real,” says Democratic Councilman Tom Owen.Owen ran for mayor while serving on the old city’s Board of Alderman in 1998.

“The potential for using the council for the advancement of a political identity or to be identified with a political issue or to use an issue to embarrass an opponent who might also be on the council,” he says. “I just think we’re being naïve if we deny that potential.”

Owen doesn’t question the candidates’ dedication to running a friendly race. But with three council members campaigning on their legislative records, Owen says it’s possible that campaign disagreements could come up during council business.

“I just think there is a tendency in the heat of a campaign that a candidate legislator would be frayed and might, in a weary moment, say something, that upon further reflection, he or she wishes they could delete from the record,” says Owen.


But potential campaign tensions in the chamber wouldn’t likely be limited to candidates on the council. With six Democrats and two Republicans seeking the mayor’s office, some council members are supporting outside candidates. Tina Ward-Pugh, for example, supports Democrat Tyler Allen.

Ward-Pugh decided not to seek the council presidency next year in part because of her endorsement of Allen in the mayor’s race.

But even though she recognizes the race’s potential for tension in the council, Ward-Pugh doesn’t think infighting is a foregone conclusion, even as other council members prepare to endorse the candidates of their choice.

“I believe the rest of the council members are going to step up and do their part to ensure that it doesn’t happen,” she says.

Ward-Pugh says council and campaign issues will overlap, but she has faith in her colleagues to put progress over politics

“No matter who wins or loses, we’ve all got to work together the next day, and that’s what’s important,” says Ward-Pugh.

Local News

Committee Considers Term Limits, Contractor Spending

The Louisville Metro Council’s Accountability and Oversight Committee has begun discussing a proposal for mayoral term limits.

The resolution would ask the Kentucky General Assembly to change the state’s merger law to reduce maximum mayoral terms from three to two.

Ordinance sponsor Brent Ackerson says the legislation is not aimed at his fellow Democrat Jerry Abramson, who has declined to run for a third term as mayor of the merged government.

“This is not a partisan issue, this is not an indictment of anyone, this is an issue of philosophical examination of whether or not term limits in certain offices are applicable or should not be,” he says.

Instead of debating the issue in its meeting Wednesday, the committee instructed its caucus directors to research why the term limits are set at three and to look into a clearer order of succession and imposing term limits on council members.

Committee co-chair Kelly Downard says the debate will begin in earnest in two weeks.

“Next time we meet, we’ll introduce it and in the meantime I hope the caucus directors will have a list of some people who can maybe come before us and talk about the wisdom of why some of these things are there and also some of the ideas we’ll have come up with by that time,” says Downard.

The committee also passed an ordinance that would require certain contractors to disclose how city money is spent on some projects. It now goes to the full council.

Local News Next Louisville

Thieneman Enters Mayor's Race

Louisville developer Chris Thieneman has become the first Republican to announce his candidacy in the mayor’s race.

Thieneman declared his candidacy this week after deciding to drop a lawsuit over the use of city funds to renovate a bowling alley in 4th Street Live. The renovation has prompted a battle in city government over the power of the mayor’s office. Thieneman is campaigning in part on a platform of changing the balance of power to give the Metro Council more authority.

Thieneman ran unsuccessfully for Congress last year, and in 2007 he led the successful campaign against the library tax. He’s the first Republican to enter the mayor’s race, though councilman Hal Heiner is considering a bid.

Metro Council President David Tandy, councilman Jim King and businessman Greg Fischer have all declared their candidacies for mayor as Democrats. Coffee shop owner and professor Nimbus Couzin is running as an independent.

All are running to succeed Mayor Jerry Abramson, who is seeking the Lieutenant Governor’s post on Governor Steve Beshear’s ticket.

Local News

Council Passes Budget, Touts Teamwork

Downard and KingLouisville Metro Council members are touting their unprecedented teamwork in passing a budget for the next fiscal year.

The council has bonded additional projects and freed up other sources of revenue to pay for some projects and departments. Other savings will be realized later in the year, when the council decides whether to continue subsidizing Greater Louisville Inc, Operation Brightside and the Department of Neighborhoods, all of which have only been funded through December.

Budget committee co-chair Kelly Downard says the council’s new power over future budget revisions grew out of the body’s desire for more input on the mayor’s financial decisions.

“Oversight is kind of a strong word,” says Downard. “I think we’re working better in cooperation now. We used the word oversight then in desire for it because we felt excluded. We’re not excluded at all and I think it’s going to be a cooperative effort going forward.”

Three of the four proposed furlough days for Metro employees have also been delayed until 2010. Budget committee chair Jim King says the decisions made at the end of the year will depend on the departments’ performance and city revenues, which the council will monitor each month.

“It’s going to require vigilance and that’s the way the budget is written this time,” says King. “There’s an opportunity for look-backs and in six months we could be making changes or just moving forward with a continuation budget.”

The budget passed with only one dissenting vote.

Local News

Mayor Meets With King On Budget Changes

meeting-002The Louisville Metro Council will vote on a final budget for the next fiscal year Thursday.

On Tuesday, the council’s budget committee made several changes to Mayor Jerry Abramson’s proposed budget. They include bonding additional projects, selling a building, requesting reserve funds from the Water Company and freezing or reducing some departmental funds.

On Wednesday Abramson met with budget committee chair Jim King to discuss the changes. Abramson says he suggested a few revisions to the committee’s amendments.

“We’ll see if some of those issues are changed or if they go forward,” he says. “There’s nothing in there that’s a dealbreaker. If you’re looking for me to stand up and say, ‘Oh my gosh the world is going to come to an end if the council does A, B or C,’ there’s nothing in there of that type.”

Abramson says not all of the funds anticipated under the revised budget will materialize. Specifically, he’s uncertain that the Water Company will give the city any extra money.

Local News

Council Unanimously Elects Tandy President

President David TandyThe Louisville Metro Council unanimously chose 4th District Democrat David Tandy as its new president Thursday.

Tandy was the Democratic Caucus’ nominee for the post. His opponent, 23rd District Republican James Peden, endorsed Tandy shortly before the council’s vote.

Peden says he decided to withdraw from the race because of the economic challenges facing Louisville.

“We sat down with councilman Tandy knowing that he was the Democratic nominee, had some discussions on how he felt about if we had this unanimous show of support for him,” he says. “Is there a certain value to that? Is it better off for the city? We as Republicans felt it was important.”

After being elected, Tandy thanked Peden for his support and said unity should not lead to conformity.

“There are going to be legitimate differences of opinion and we need to express those,” said Tandy. “We need to debate those. We need to let steel sharpen steel and out of that discussion come up with the best solutions for this community.”

Tandy was favored to win the election as Democrats outnumber Republicans on the council 16 to 10. He replaces outgoing Democratic President Jim King.

In other business, the council postponed action on proposed revisions to its ethics code. The matter will be considered next month.