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Ken Smith named city manager of Covington, as commissioners vote to move him from interim status

Thirteen weeks after he stepped into Covington’s city manager position on an interim basis, Ken Smith now has the job permanently.

The Covington Board of Commissioners voted to approve the appointment of Smith, the City’s Neighborhood Services director who had been doing both jobs since the Commission accepted City Manager David Johnston’s resignation on June 8.

Vice Mayor Ron Washington said he was impressed with Smith’s performance as a department head and even more impressed by how he has juggled the responsibilities of both positions.

Ken Smith

“Ken will be excellent,” Washington said. “I’m pleased with his communication with the Commission, and I’m pleased with the morale of the staff under his interim watch.”

Smith said he was honored and humbled by the Commission’s confidence.

“I never aspired to this position, but I welcome the challenge,” he said. “I will do my absolute best to continue the city’s momentum, and I will always do what I believe is in the best interest of our citizens.”

Smith, who lives in Covington, came to City Hall in April 2018 as chief of Neighborhood Services. Under a reorganization, the department was created to pull together a variety of disjointed services and functions dedicated to improving life and the appearance of neighborhoods, namely Parks & Rec, Solid Waste and Recycling, Code Enforcement, Federal Grants/Housing Assistance, and the Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Previously, Smith served for 11 years as executive director of Price Hill Will, a non-profit community development corporation in Cincinnati. Before that, he was chief operations officer of Brighton Properties Inc. and had worked at the Children’s Law Center of Northern Kentucky. He has been active as a volunteer or board member with numerous regional organizations.

Smith said Covington’s momentum and upward trajectory have remained steady despite the pandemic.

“We didn’t have the luxury of slowing down during this transition period,” he said. “Our employees, especially the senior leadership, my department leaders, and our administrative staff, were there to offer assistance and encouragement with whatever I needed. We are lucky to have these folks, and I look forward to continuing to work with them every day to advance our goals.”
Washington told an anecdote to demonstrate Smith’s commitment to Covington and its staff. An organization had arranged to use Randolph Park for an event one weekend, but when its members arrived, they found previous users had left the shelter house full of trash.

Washington called Smith to see if he could get hold of some City employees on the weekend to take care of the problem. But Washington was no sooner on the phone reporting back to the organization when they told him, “oh, the City is here working on it.”

In that case, “the City” turned out to be Smith and a couple of people.

“To me, that’s what leadership is about,” Washington said.

In other news from the Commission meeting, the NKyTribune’s Ryan Clark reports:

Part-time Parking Authority Executive Director

Commissioners heard a proposed ordinance for the Parking Authority to be able to set a salary for a part-time Executive Director. The city would like to transition power from the current Executive Director, which is the City Manager, but in order to do so, they must first be able to pay a candidate.

That salary would ultimately be approved by the City Commission, which signs off on the Parking Authority budget.

The ordinance will get a first reading next week.

Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan

Commissioners heard a proposed order to enter into an agreement with the Northern Kentucky Area Development District related to the development and implementation of a Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan.

The proposal was put on the consent agenda for next week.

Police hiring and resignation

Commissioners heard a proposal Tuesday for

• The hiring of Neil Boshoff as a police officer, and
• The resignation of Officer Ryan Jones.

Both were put on the consent agenda for next week.

Recruits and Port Security Grani

Commissioners heard proposals to approve a Port Security Grant for

• Refurbishing of the fire boat for about $250,000, and
• About $7,000 for lifejackets and other equipment.

Commissioners also heard a proposal to approve the hiring of eight new firefighter recruits.

The acceptance of the proposals were put on next week’s consent agenda.

Surplus Property Agreement

Commissioners heard a proposal for two surplus property development agreements for:

• 301-303 Orchard, for $47,500 and
• 318 Berry, for $12,000

Both will be for single-family homes, Smith said, and both will be on the regular agenda next week.

Executive Session

After the meeting, Mayor Meyer announced the Commission would be going into an Executive Session to discuss “collective bargaining arrangements.”

He said after the session, no further business would be conducted.

Next meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Sept. 14, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings can be followed live on Fioptics channel 815, Spectrum channel 203, the  Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky  (TBNK) website, the TBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline, and the TBNK Roku channels.

City of Covington/Ryan Clark

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