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New Hire in Covington Legal Department Gets Different Title After Commissioner Complains

The City of Covington had planned to add another assistant city solicitor to the legal department but the title was changed Tuesday following a complaint from City Commissioner Michelle Williams.

Christian Dennery, hired in September as a law clerk after previously serving in that role in 2010 and 2011, was listed on the draft agenda as a recommended hire for the position of city solicitor.

By Tuesday night, when the city commission convened to approve the hire as part of its regular legislative meeting, Dennery's title was changed to senior law clerk.

His hiring was approved unanimously and without much comment.

"I'm really grateful to have been offered the position and am especially grateful that (Assistant City Manager & City Solicitor) Frank (Warnock) has been so busy that he had no choice but to offer me the position," Dennery joked after the vote.

"We were all begging (Warnock) to bring you on full time," Mayor Sherry Carran said. "You've been a big help with the long list of foreclosures and we're grateful you're taking this position full time."

It was later learned by The River City News that Dennery's title was changed because Williams challenged his eligibility to serve as an assistant city solicitor since Dennery has yet to pass the Kentucky Bar Exam. He moved back to Kentucky from New York where he had passed the Bar.

Williams contacted the Kentucky Bar Association to validate her concerns and said she would not support hiring Dennery as an assistant city solicitor, sources close to the situation told The River City News.

Warnock said that Dennery will work as a senior law clerk and upon completion and his passage of the Kentucky Bar, Dennery will become an assistant city solicitor.

Meanwhile, another episode of friction between the Covington City Commission emerged when Mayor Carran was re-appointed to the board of directors at the Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI). Williams did not vote for Carran.

"I'm not going for any re-appointments," said Williams who has spent much her twelve months on commission arguing that too many of the same people are continuously serving on city boards or that the open positions are not advertised enough.

Williams also said that no one else from the commission was asked to serve as the City's representative on the OKI board.

"I didn't ask anybody else because I take this very seriously," Carran said. "Before I served at OKI we did not have good representation there and I enjoy the opporunity to network with other elected leaders in the eight county area."

City Manager Larry Klein said that Carran has been very helpful in securing federal transportation dollars for the City in her role at OKI, the mayor said.

Carran was re-appointed by a vote of 4-1.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photo: Covington City Hall/RCN file