Friday, January 14, 2000

City vacancies key topic at retreat

Covington officials on working getaway

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — How to handle key vacancies in Covington's economic development department will be among the topics at the Covington City Commission's annual retreat, which starts today.

        The retreat runs through Sunday morning at the Hyatt Regency in Lexington.

        As in the past, each Covington department head will offer goals for the coming year.

        “I expect it to be a very substantial discussion on just about every issue facing the city,” said City Manager Greg Jarvis.

        Suggestions on how to deal with economic development were among dozens offered last October in a 37-page report analyzing city spending patterns. The yearlong independent management study, headed by insurance executive Chuck Scheper, made more than 90 recommendations.

        Besides deciding how to handle the vacant zoning administrator's job, city commissioners also must decide whether to fill a development officer's position that's been vacant for the past year, a historic preservation officer's job vacated six months ago, and a chief planner's job that hasn't been filled since 1995.

        “We may want to look into continuing to work with the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission on zoning matters,” said Commissioner Butch Callery. “I think that's worked out pretty well.”

        Mr. Callery said other possibilities include combining the historic preservation officer's position with another job, or contracting with someone to handle those duties.

        Commissioner Jim Eggemeier had earlier suggested that the River Cities Coalition look into hiring one historic preservation consultant for Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Dayton.

        However, Mayor Denny Bowman said that he thinks there's enough work to justify Covington's hiring its own historic preservation officer.

        While the city has put some of the Scheper Commission's suggestions into effect, or is in the process of doing so, many are long-term recommendations, and city officials may opt against implementing others for various reasons, Mr. Jarvis said.

        Mr. Bowman has suggested that city officials discuss some of the Scheper report's long-range recommendations through a public hearing process after this weekend's retreat.


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