Covington, Kentucky

Firefighter Promotions, Demolition of Historic Properties Top Covington Commission Agenda

The Covington City Commission will have its legislative meeting on Tuesday, May 7, at 6:00 p.m. inside City Hall. These are the issues to be considered:

Firefighter promotions

Nine members of the Covington Fire Department will be promoted to vacant positions. The move follows a special meeting and grievance hearing on April 24 in which the firefighters union, Local 38, argued that nine supervisory positions were eliminated improperly and that its members were entitled to the promotions.

By a vote of 4-1, the city commission agreed with the firefighters union based on the assumption that the city would lose in court.

The decision sparked a controversial Facebook post by city commissioner Steve Frank, who cast the lone dissenting vote, in which he used profanity and threats to express his dissatisfaction with Local 38. "Local 38 is going to pay for what happened tonight. They pissed on Covington and I'm here to see that they suffer for it," Frank wrote in a public post on his personal Facebook page

Frank apologized hours later.

The firefighters up for promotion are: Lieutenant Eric Matheny to captain, paramedic lieutenant Greg Salmons to paramedic captain, paramedic lieutenant Eric Schultz to paramedic captain, paramedic engineer Tyler Cherry to paramedic lieutenant, paramedic engineer Corey Deye to paramedic lieutenant, paramedic firefighter Todd Wyatt to paramedic lieutenant, paramedic engineer Doug Veselsky to paramedic lieutenant, firefighter grade IV Nick Boots to engineer, firefighter grade IV Greg Marzhauser to engineer.

The promotions will be back-dated to August 30.

Also on the agenda is a proposed memorandum of understanding with Covington's members of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). No details were immediately available.

Historic preservation agreement between state and city

Nineteen of the abandoned and neglected buildings that will be razed by the city, part of its effort to relieve Covington of roughly fifty such properties, will go through an historic preservation process. Many other buildings throughout the city have already come down.

On Tuesday, the city commission will consider a programmatic agreement between the City of Covington and the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Historic Preservation Office for mitigation measures in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act that related to the use of federal funds in the demolition of historic structures. The city is using federal community development block grant monies to pay for the demolitions.

The nineteen properties have been declared as contributing to the historic nature of their surroundings and would be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Because of that, a series of mitigation measures will take place including architectural salvage, state level documentation, infill/design consultation, archeology, and educational programming.

Other items of note:

  • City staff recommends a "no" vote on the repeal of an ordinance passed by the city commission last November. That vote on November 27 was reported by The River City News at the time as, "The first 140 feet of an alley that runs south from East 24th Street between 119 and 123 East East 24th Street, will be closed so that the owners at 123 can have access to the rear of their property (owners on both sides of alleys have come to terms of an agreement)". According to the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, a proposed ordinance would repeal the one from November and vacate the 140 feet section of the alley because Excel Development, LLC was not identified as an abutting property owner. Excel Development, according to the Kentucky Secretary of State's website, is an LLC registered to Donald Steedman of Covington.
  • The city and Housing Authority of Covington will enter into an agreement that will allow the Covington Police Department to patrol the streets of City Heights and Latonia Terrace. The streets of City Heights, previously owned and maintained by the city, were turned over to the Housing Authority in a deal last year. 

As always, The River City News will have the most comprehensive coverage of Covington City Hall during and after the meeting. Follow RCN on Facebook and Twitter.