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Ft. Wright Says Goodbye to Longtime Clerk, Hello to First Female Cop in 20 Years

It was standing-room only at the Ft. Wright city council meeting Wednesday night as family and friends came to see Joyce Woods receive the honor of a proclamation and presents for the end of a career of 25 years as city clerk.  

"This is quite a testament of the impact Joyce has had on the city, having everyone show up tonight," said Mayor Dave Hatter. "I thought at first maybe we had a super-duper Walmart or something when I saw this turnout, but then I realized it was for Joyce. She has kept us all in line, and has had to deal with difficult personalities, and had to field angry calls. From the bottom of my heart, I'm going to miss you, and I sincerely thank you!"

One by one, the council members and department heads added their thanks and memories, and members of the board from the Ramage Civil War Museum told Woods they would miss her on their board.   

Woods thanked everyone tearfully, and said she would enjoy January 4, which was declared as a day in her honor in the city. Susan Ellis was appointed the new City Clerk.

Mayor Hatter then moved on to other guests, former mayor and police chief Gene Weaver, and recently retired police chief Dan Kreinest.

Both were given certificates for their efforts in trying to keep convicted killer Carlos Faulkner in prison without the possibility of parole jail. He killed a Ft. Wright woman 25 years ago, but at the time there was no law in Kentucky that prevented a chance at parole. The parole board, which denied Faulkner early release, mentioned that they had never had such an outpouring of feedback from a community.  

As a result of their efforts, and the efforts of the community and government, Faulkner will be in prison the rest of his life for the murder of Lesly Briede back in 1992. The law that can keep some killers from a chance at parole is named for Briede.

Taylor Bellau, 23, was sworn in as the newest member of the police department. It has been about 20 years since the city has hired a female police officer, and Chief Marc Schworer was happy about it.  

"We have a process where all the applicants test out and then we take the top three scorers, and submit them to the mayor," said Chief Schworer. "We have had women apply before but they have never made the top three. Taylor easily made the top three, being first or second on every level. We are proud to have her on our team."

Paul Wigger was appointed as a maintenance worker for the city.

Paul Maddox presented the yearly audit for the city. The 31-page report will be on the city website for the public to see.

Maddox said that the city is in great shape, and logged a $700,000 profit for the last year and has no debt. He told council that the biggest challenge for Ft. Wright and every other Kentucky city is the pension liability, which for Ft. Wright is estimated at $4.4 million.   

Maddox said he could not give them an answer to fix that.

He also said that a lot of cash went through the city, and he would prefer to see credit or checks, since cash can always walk. Mayor Hatter said they are working on that.

City administrator Ed Butler reported that 40 property tax bills were paid with the new credit card service, even though there was a convenience fee. He said the amount of taxes paid show that Ft. Wright is a city that has people who are good about paying their taxes.

Butler also told council the new employee health Insurance is in full swing. The Health Savings Accounts will save the city money and will be sustainable into the future, he said. Mayor Hatter said it isn't enough to save the city money, but they wanted to make the city a great place to work, too.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor
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