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Fossett Named Dayton City Administrator; Lovins Appointed to Council

Jay Fossett, the former Covington city manager, is back in charge of a city government.

The Dayton city council unanimously approved Fossett's hiring as city administrator in the Campbell County city where he has served in that role in an interim capacity for the past two months.

He replaces Michael Giffen who took the city administrator job in Highland Heights.

"The city grew on me in two months," Fossett said during Tuesday night's virtual council meeting. "I missed being out of the public management game. I didn't realize how much I missed it."

Fossett was city manager in Covington from 2005 to 2009, and city solicitor there from 2001 to 2005. The Covington native and Holmes High School graduate is a partner at Strategic Advisers, a public relations firm that serves multiple local government and business entities in Northern Kentucky. He also served a two-year term as a Fort Thomas city councilman.

Fossett earned a journalism degree from the University of Kentucky and worked as a reporter at the Kentucky Post and later earned a law degree from Northern Kentucky University Chase College of Law. 

He said that he will be leaving the day-to-day operations of Strategic Advisers.

Mayor Ben Baker said that the city, while working with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District in the search, received "a lot of very good and qualified candidates for that role."

"I was amazed," he said. 

Baker said that applications arrived from around the state. "We were very impressed by people's interest in being able to help Dayton as we move towards the future," Baker said.

Councilman Joe Neary said that after he reviewed the top applicants he told Baker, "You have a problem."

That was a reference to having to make a choice from among so many qualified candidates, Neary said.

"I have to say that based on the roughly two months that Mr. Fossett has been helping the city, I've seen better communication that I even expected, I've seen more coordination that I ever expected, and respect for the city and the citizens and the council and the administration," Neary said.

Fossett said he will focus much of his energy as City Administrator dealing with vacant and blighted properties and supporting strong code enforcement in the city to ensure that all property owners properly maintain their properties. He also said he wants to take steps to encourage and foster the rehabilitation of more residential and business properties in the 154-year-old city.

Fossett will start his work as the full-time City Administrator on March 15.

Meanwhile, city council voted to appoint resident Jessica Lovins to the vacant seat on that body. She was not present at Tuesday's virtual meeting but will be sworn in soon.

She replaces Councilwoman Tammy Cornett, who resigned last month.

Mayor Baker thanked Cornett for her years of service to the city and presented her, virtually, with a key to the city.

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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