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Covington bids farewell to Warnock; assistant city manager to become Bellevue City Administrator

City Hall said “goodbye” to Assistant City Manager Frank Warnock today with a low-key but heartfelt reception that included cookies (fruit and vegetables too) … some informal speeches (although these were intentionally limited) … some tears (well, they were choked back) … and the senior staff’s version of a good-bye gift (a fancy bottle of single-barrel Kentucky bourbon).

“I don’t have children. You guys are my family,” Warnock told the gathered crowd of City employees. “I love you guys. And I’ll be around.”

Warnock, who has been with the City for almost 14 years, is leaving Covington to serve as city administrator of Bellevue, in Campbell County. It’s where he got one of his early introductions to local government (serving as Bellevue’s city attorney), and where he lives.

Covington City Manager David Johnston congratulated Warnock on the new job.

“It’s an exciting opportunity, and he will do well in Bellevue,” Johnston said. “Nevertheless, we hate to see Frank and his institutional knowledge walk out the door. He has served Covington and its residents in a professional and dedicated manner in a number of roles over the course of two decades, and we’re going to miss him.”

Warnock recounted his (very hectic) first day with Covington as a full-time employee – July 5, 2005 – when he walked in the door as the new City Solicitor and heard, “Covington Landing is sinking.”

As memory serves, the pumps on the then-floating restaurant apparently were losing their battle with the Ohio River and the water that routinely seeped through tiny cracks in its barge foundations, and Warnock was told he had to go force the restaurant to shut down its operations until a better plan was put into place.

“I don’t even have a desk yet,” Warnock remembered protesting.

It was just one of many battles, roles, issues, and concerns Warnock took care of for Covington over the years, first as its City Solicitor, then as a hybrid Solicitor/Assistant City Manager, and finally as its full-time Assistant City Manager.

John C.K. Fisher, who works for the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights and whose office is on the first floor of the City Hall building, praised Warnock for his work in making Covington’s Human Rights Ordinance what Fisher called the strongest in the Commonwealth. Fisher said Warnock also accelerated the push years ago to make sure that the Interstate 75 exit signs reflected the new name for 12th Street – Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

“Frank’s a quiet guy, but he’s actually a strong civil rights leader,” Fisher said.

During the short event, co-workers wished Warnock well or joked with him about various events over the years. Warnock also bragged that he had never taken a sick day in 13 years and 7 months at the City.

Warnock, a graduate of Murray State University and Salmon P. Chase College of Law, got his start as a journalist, working at several newspapers in Kentucky. He was named the 2018 City/County Administrator of the Year by the Northern Kentucky City/County Management Association.

City of Covington

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