Over the past week-and-half, there’s been some salivating going on. The Gray Administration’s Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works resigned, saying she’d been asked to step down, and emailed people throughout LFUCG in order to fire the first shot.
The Gray Administration has kept quiet and, in response, the usual voices in LFUCG — let’s call them Team Newberry, who know a bit about obstruction and cronyism — have tried to frame the debate as if the Gray administration had something to hide.
Which is a fine place to start from — people in positions of power should be viewed skeptically, their actions questioned and transparency demanded. That’s all fine, and it’s funny that so many in Team Newberry are now figuring this out.
It should also be interesting to see how the Ed Lanes and Doug Martins handle the latest developments — in which it becomes pretty clear the Gray Administration acted diligently to protect the city; in which it becomes pretty clear Gray’s silence on the matter isn’t a matter of obfuscation but one of legality; and in which it becomes clear that some people really want to hire their husbands even after they’re told multiple times that it ain’t cool.
City officials cautioned Lexington’s former Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works Cheryl Taylor at least three times not to direct city work to her husband, according to emails obtained Wednesday by the Herald-Leader.
Taylor abruptly resigned last week, saying she was asked to step down after the city began investigating whether she inappropriately tried to direct city funds to her husband.
Some of the requests to hire her husband, Robert Taylor, an electrician, were from officials in the Division of Waste Management, under Cheryl Taylor’s supervision. At least two requests were by Taylor herself, according to the transcripts released by the city in response to an open-records request from the Herald-Leader.
On at least three occasions in 2011, Law Commissioner Janet Graham emailed Taylor that her husband could not be hired as a city employee or do contract work for the city because it would violate the city’s nepotism ordinance.
On a bright note, Ms. Taylor is well within her right now to hire her husband for anything he wants to do since she no longer works for the city. And he can now get a job with the city because she no longer works there. So… problems solved.
It’s also worth highlighting the fact that Ms. Taylor worked previously in the Newberry Administration as the Environmental Quality Commissioner overseeing Lexington’s sanitary and storm sewer system… before leaving that job to work for Kentucky American Water. It didn’t seem like a particularly good idea to bring her back to begin with and as it turns out, it probably wasn’t.
But perhaps Ms. Taylor could now get re-hired by Lexington’s corporate overlords at KAW as they seek to further screw the city’s taxpayers:
Now investor-owned Kentucky American Water has given six months notice that it’s ending its contract with the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government to collect sewer, landfill and water quality (storm water) fees for the city.
Water and sewer bills are natural companions because sewer bills are based on water consumption. Kentucky American was paid $1.6 million a year under its latest billing contract with the city.
….Meanwhile, American Water, Kentucky American’s New Jersey-based parent, says the company’s third-quarter profits were up 2.3 percent — in part because rate increases more than offset declining water consumption.
Ah… American Water forcing rate increases they don’t need as water consumption declines — Team Newberry knows all about that.
Hopefully Martin, Lane, et al., will keep all of this in mind the next time they get their tighties in a twist. Sometimes it’s easier to just excuse yourself and dig a little deeper.