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Covington: New Fire Chief Sworn In, Public Meeting Planned for Gateway Property

The Covington city commission swiftly moved through a series of issues at its caucus meeting Tuesday night.

Fire Chief Mark Pierce was officially sworn in at the beginning by Mayor Joe Meyer.

Former Fire Chief Dan Mathew was also in attendance to present Pierce with a special gold badge, handed down between fire chiefs as far back as the 1930s.

According to Mathew, the badge is handed down selectively between chiefs, with the owner deciding if their predecessor is worthy.

“I believe with my heart of hearts that you made a wise decision and that Mark will lead the organization effectively and efficiently and that he will serve the residents of the city,” Mathew said.

Assistant City Manager Frank Warnock presented to the commission the updated working agreement with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), with the terms of agreement running from January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.

The biggest change to the contract is that employees will now be paid for a half-hour of drive time for emergency call outs.

The estimated cost of this to the city will be about $120,000 over the 18-month contract period.

Warnock said there was previously an unusual circumstance that resulted in an abnormal claim for worker’s compensation, so this is to correct that and prevent workers compensation claims in the future, but will not be considered as workers compensation.

Public Services Director Rick Davis updated the commission on the Safe Routes to School project for 6th District School. The project was put out for bid last year, but all the bids came back over budget.

Costs were higher than expected because of the specific concrete required to be used with the grant money for the project.

To complete the project, Davis said the city is reducing the scope of the project and curb work to meet the budgeted amount by eliminating small repairs to minor cracks. Instead the project will focus on major issues and making corners ADA-accessible.

The commission also decided to hold a public forum for proposed zoning changes to the old Gateway Campus on a Covington hilltop where new homes are to be constructed.

Due to the flexibility of the zone change that was approved by Kenton County Planning Commission, Zoning Administrator Alex Koenig recommended that the commission hold the public forum due to the potential outcomes for the property.

City Manager David Johnston will announce the time and date for the public hearing at a later time.

Newly appointed Finance Director Muhammed Owusu made his first presentation to the commission to request approval to create the position of a collections manager which would oversee the collection of all money due to the city.

“I believe this position is critical to the rearrangement of the financial department,” Owusu said. “I believe the city will benefit from having a sole person responsible for the collection of money due to the city.”

Other Notes:

  • The commission placed an order on next week’s consent agenda allowing McK’s Chicks, a new restaurant on Seventh Street near Madison Avenue, to place smokers for meat in the alley. Pedestrians will still be allowed through the alley, as the grills will be continually staffed by employees.

  • The commission place and order on next week’s consent agenda to allow the placement of a gate between the new Duveneck Square apartments and Braxton Brewery in the alley. Braxton employees and Duveneck residents will still have access to the alley along with both the fire and police departments.

Written by Carrie Crotzer, RCN contributor