The City of Harrodsburg is accepting letters of application for anyone who wants to be the next mayor. Applicants must live in city limits. The Harrodsburg City Commission will select a group of candidates from the letters and appoint someone to serve as the city’s mayor until a special election can be held at the end of 2023. Anyone interested in the job should submit their information to Harrodsburg City Clerk Shavonna Huffman. The commission has 30 days to make the appointment.
“We will be moving through this process very quickly,” said City Attorney Norrie Currens at the city commission meeting on Monday, Jan, 23. Mayor Billy Whitenack resigned but the city commission has not appointed anyone to replace him. While Commissioner Marvin “Bubby” Isham is serving as mayor pro tem, neither Isham nor any of the other commissioners are interested in holding the job.
A special election will be held later this year to select a permanent replacement for mayor.
City Commission Discusses MAFEW Repairs
Also at Monday’s meeting, the city commission discussed repairs for the roof of the Mercer Area Family and Wellness (MAFEW) building, which could cost at least $45,000, city officials say.
Part of the outer roof of the MAFEW building—formerly the YMCA–was peeled back during the storms that struck Harrodsburg and Mercer County on Jan. 12. On Monday, Street and Parks Superintendent Frank Lukitsch gave an update on the MAFEW building.
Lukitsch said a significant part of the outer roof was damaged. He said a contractor closed the roof off the day after the storm to keep it from leaking Lukitsch said several contractors have inspected the roof but the city has not received any bids yet. He declined to give an estimate on how much it could ultimately cost to repair the roof, but he did say the highest amount any of the contractors had mentioned was $45,000.
It was also revealed that the city has not insured the building, which was originally a National Guard armory, against property damage for decades. Isham said the building hasn’t had insurance for 25 years.
“We’ve got liability insurance on it,” Isham said. He said the city has not kept property damage insurance on the building because it was too expensive.
Former City Commissioner Jennifer Kazimer asked how the city was going to pay the repair bill.
“Where is the money coming from?” Kazimer asked.
Isham said the city commission would revisit the budget at the end of the fiscal year and search for any lime items in the general fund that have not been used. Isham suggested the money could come from the park budget.
“But it’s not a park,” said Kazimer, who formerly oversaw the park department. She said she was worried the city might use funds allocated for the HVAC at the Lions Park Community Center.
“That’s where I’m concerned,” Kazimer said. She said the budget was to cover the HVAC as well as landscaping at Young’s Park, which is scheduled to open its new splash pad this year.
“Right now, I can’t say where it’s going to come from,” said Commissioner Charlie Mattingly.
“I don’t have no intention of taking it out of that line item,” Mattingly said, noting the community center was “in bad shape.”
“Lions Park will get taken care of,” Mattingly said.
City officials said if there are no funds available, they could take money from the rainy day fund. The Jan. 12 storm also led to the cancellation of a scheduled training session with the Kentucky League of Cities for city employees, supervisors and elected officials. The commissioners discussed a recent revision to the city’s personnel policies which requires employees to clock in and out for lunch, which they discussed at the last commission meeting as well. First responders are exempt from the policy change.
Isham said he wanted to change the policy so that employees don’t have to clock in or out for lunch.
“Morale is down bad,” Isham said.
Currens explained that they would have to draft a municipal order first.
“I suspect there might be more than one thing we might want to change after going through the training,” Currens said. She said changing the municipal order two or three lines at a time might not be “the most efficient.”
Currens noted the policy protected city employees and the city. She said employees who work during their lunch could subject the city to “treble damages” in the case of a lawsuit.
Isham said if he was a city employee who worked through his lunch break, “It’s my own fault.”
“It’s not your own fault,” Currens said. She said it was a potential wage and liability issue for the city and noted two attorneys from the KLC had recommended it.
“From a legal standpoint, best practice is we have them clock in or out,” Currens said. She said she hoped they would have training done but it was canceled because of the tornado. Currens said under exigent circumstance writing in or out was fine, but she said it had become problematic. While several commissioners called it micro-managing, Currens disagreed.
“This is more about us not stealing from them, not them stealing from us,” Currens said. Employees working through lunch opens the city to a liability claim. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
“They are supposed to get paid for that time,” Currens said. “They are not supposed to be working.”
The next meeting of the Harrodsburg City Commission will be Monday, Feb. 13, at noon at Harrodsburg City Hall (208 South Main Street).