The Kentucky League of Cities is dissolving its think tank.
A 2009 audit concluded that the KLC’s NewCities Institute had cost $7.2 million over eight years and produced few results. That was among other reports of misspending within the KLC. New KLC executive director Jonathan Steiner says the audit isn’t the main basis for doing away with the institute.
“I read the audit when I came here and that was one of the reasons, but the real reason is, I’m just trying to focus what we do, make it a narrower focus, really put our mission on cities and spend our money wisely,” he says.
The remaining three employees at the institute will move to other jobs within the KLC. Steiner says the league continues to fix problems found in the audit. He has been director of the league since November.
The KLC’s funding comes largely from dues paid by various cities, including Louisville, which contributes several thousand dollars each year. Many smaller cities purchase insurance through the KLC. Steiner says the think tank closure and any other fallout from the audit have not hurt demand for the league’s services.
“People are coming out in droves. We have city night in Frankfort and we’re expecting 700-800 people at that with our RSVPs and the most we’ve ever had was 400. I keep hearing how valuable KLC is to members. The numbers prove it,” he says.