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Covington City Manager David Johnston resigns, Ken Smith to serve as interim manager; budget extended

By Judy Clabes
NKyTribune editor

The Covington City Commission started its caucus meeting Tuesday night with an executive session that lasted some 90 minutes, and when they emerged they announced that City Manager David Johnston had resigned.

Mayor Joseph Meyer

They quickly took unanimous action to accept the resignation, to acknowledge that the City and Johnson had reached an agreement on his departure, to appoint Ken Smith, the city’s Neighborhood Services Director, as interim city manager, and to give Smith the authority to act as city manager.

Johnston became city manager of Covington in August, 2017, having served as city manger in Maple Valley, Washington. He left that position over disagreements with a new council.

The commission has been holding executive sessions with regularity for several months and questions from the mayor and commissioners in public sessions with the city manager have often focused on the slow progress on strategic initiatives, including the plans for the IRS site.

Later in the meeting, Mayor Joseph Meyer announcement that the group had hoped to have an initial discussion on “the latest draft” of a proposed budget for fiscal year 2021-22, which begins July 1. However, he said, there have been a lot of changes to the draft and discussions with the city manager, and there is not enough time left to get the budget ready.

David Johnston

The commissioners voted unanimously to continue with the present budget into July, until the new budget can be finalized and go through the necessary procedures for approval.

In other discussion at the meeting, the commission put on the consent agenda for next week’s legislative meeting:

• Extending the lease of certain land to the Behringer-Crawford Museum for three years;

• A list of board appointments;

• The sale of a lot at 319 Bond Street, declared surplus property to a private family who plans to build a ‘tiny home’ on it;

• Made an amendment to the budget to specify how COVID-related reimbursement funding from the U.S. Treasury will be spent;

• Agreed to correct a “drafting error” on storm water fees related to duplexes to clean up an error in how the fees were applied. Those living in duplexes were overcharged and the City is doing more investigation to determine how refunds will be made.

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