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Bromley Mayor, Building Inspector Resign as Investigation Continues

The mayor of Bromley announced his resignation Friday in an email to members of the city council.

Donnie Jobe has been mayor of the small river city wedged between Ludlow and Villa Hills since he was elected in 2014. He did not attend Wednesday regular city council meeting, one of several that he has missed this year.

"I've been contemplating it for the last couple months," Jobe told The River City News in a phone interview on Friday. He said that working with some members of council has become difficult and that they can't get on the same page. And, "My heart's just not in it anymore."

"I want them all to work together and basically it's like a high school where we have little groups wanting to do their own thing instead of talking as a whole." He said that council often accuses him of not being transparent or communicative but he said that they do not communicate with him. "They want transparency on my side but nothing on their side."

City attorney Kim Vocke confirmed that city council received Jobe's resignation via email and said that he anticipates that Jobe will submit a formal resignation letter to council.

When that resignation is accepted, by state law, council will have 30 days to fill the vacant mayor's seat. Otherwise, the appointment would be made by Gov. Matt Bevin. If someone from city council is elevated to the position of mayor to fulfill the remaining 15 months of Jobe's term, the same process would apply to fill any vacancy on council.

The resignation of Jobe, who is also the chief of the Bromley Volunteer Department, comes as the city is under an investigation by the Kentucky State Police. In February, police raided the city building, and in the months that followed, the city coped with not having its computers and some important tools and information. Following the raid, questions emerged from members of council about how certain city operations were handled and how they could be improved.

The nature and target of the investigation, which was turned over to the state police by the county police, is still unknown. Jobe said Friday that he expects that the investigation will conclude that there was no wrongdoing and that he would be willing to talk more about it when it is completed.

Meanwhile, a special meeting is scheduled for Wednesday for city council to discuss another resignation, that of longtime code enforcement officer and building inspector Joe Schutzman. He submitted his resignation to Jobe in a letter that council members said Wednesday that they still had not seen.

The River City News has submitted an open records request to see the contents of the letter.

It was stated Wednesday that Schutzman claimed to be owed more than $28,000 and that he was concerned that the city was trying to replace him. Council members stressed that they were not trying to replace Schutzman, who is a third-party contractor, but rather to hire a part-time person to offer assistance to him.

Jobe agreed with Schutzman's account, arguing that council members were looking for someone to learn how to do the job and then take it over wholly. "They can say whatever they want. They agreed (last month) to hire another person at the same salary that Joe's making in order that he can catch up with Joe and basically follow in Joe's footsteps," Jobe said.

On Wednesday night, some council members suggested that they would possibly reach out to Schutzman about possibly staying on in his position.

Council member Gail Smith said that council would request an itemized invoice from Schutzman while not denying that the city would pay the invoice. "We are missing a lot of documentation and need to ask for release that everything is clean," Smith said Wednesday night.

Council had already advertised for the part-time position and received some responses. The special meeting for Wednesday is to discuss with Planning & Development Services of Kenton County (PDS) about possibly contracting with them for the necessary work. The city will also evaluate possibly contracting with another third-party full-time hire.
 
Jobe was not sure whether he would attend Wednesday's meeting. He said that Smith should be appointed interim mayor. His resignation is expected to be official by the October council meeting.
 
In recent months, the city's volunteer fire department, also led by Jobe, has been the target of extended conversations. 
 
The Crescent Springs-Villa Hills Fire Department serves the City of Bromley full-time. Recently, the Bromley Fire Department board explored releasing its ambulance license to Crescent Springs-Villa Hills. "We discussed this with the state and the state thought it was best for them to keep it the way it is and that we provide coverage for them on a mutual aid basis," said Crescent Springs-Villa Hills Fire Chief Jeff Wendt. His department now responds to Bromley automatically when most calls come in.
 
Some members of Bromley city council have argued that the license should become property of the city if the fire department ultimately goes away.
 
Jobe says he will stay on as fire chief. "They are two separate entities," Jobe said. "They have been around forever."
 
He said that the fire department has never had problems with the city until recently. 
 
Jobe, who previously served on city council, said that recent events have taken a toll on his personal life.
 
"I enjoyed being with the city and being on the fire department and city council for many years, and it's affecting my family life in a negative way and my heart's not in to do it anymore," he said. "I think it's best for the city and myself to part ways."
 
He said that he has been considering stepping down as mayor for the past three or four months and had discussed the possibility with multiple members of council and Kenton County Judge/Executive Kris Knochelmann.
 
This story may be updated.
 
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher