A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Peers in Northern Kentucky name Covington’s Warnock City/County Administrator of the Year

Frank Warnock started going to city council and zoning board meetings in 1979 as a cub reporter for a small newspaper in the Marion County town of Lebanon.

Warnock

“That’s when it started,” he said. “I’ve just been fascinated by local government since that time.”

That “fascination” led to a law degree … then a chance meeting that resulted in a fill-in position as attorney for the City of Bellevue in 1995 … a move to Covington City Hall, where Warnock became that City’s solicitor … and now his current post as Covington’s Assistant City Manager.

Tuesday, Warnock received the recognition of his peers for his decades in public service when he was picked to receive the 2018 City/County Administrator of the Year Award from the Northern Kentucky City/County Management Association.

He received the award during the association’s luncheon in Crestview Hills.

“I’m shocked. I didn’t know anything about it,” Warnock said. “I am deeply grateful for the honor.”

The annual award recognizes an official who has demonstrated leadership, performed official duties in an outstanding manner, and displayed personal commitment to a broad range of activities beyond his or her official capacity.

Warnock’s nomination noted his work on housing and commercial projects that helped bring about Covington’s ongoing “urban renaissance”; his legal work for the City, including the successful defense of a controversial ordinance regulating advertising in public rights of way; and his lead role in writing and advocating for Covington’s historical Human Rights Ordinance.

It also saluted his work in organizations like the Human Rights Commission and Boys & Girls Club boards in Campbell and Kenton Counties.

“Frank shines as an administrator because he treats people with empathy and like human beings,” the nomination read. “He often has to deal with situations where he sees people at their worst, but does so in a professional and sensitive manner.”

Covington City Manager David Johnston, who is a member of the City/County Management Association, called it a “meaningful” award.

“For Frank’s dedication to providing good public service to be recognized by his colleagues, well that’s the best validation that a professional can receive,” Johnston said.

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