A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Covington Commission considering remote police, fire testing; proposals heard for four economic projects

By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune reporter

In July, city commissioners listened to a plan to allow police officers to complete their written tests remotely, or in other words, online. But during discussions of that plan, it became clear that firefighters could accomplish the same thing if given the opportunity.

“Another issue has been raised, and that is if we’re allowing remote testing for the Police Department, should we allow it for the Fire Department, too?” Mayor Joseph U. Meyer said back in the summer. “While we’re going through this process, maybe we should have included that, rather than do two separate ordinances.”

Covington Commission (Photo by Ryan Clark/NKyTribune)

At their regularly scheduled caucus meeting, Commissioners heard a proposed ordinance amendment to allow Human Resources to oversee and administer the hiring processes for the police and fire departments, and to revise the hiring processes for those departments.

The amendment will:

• Move control and oversight of the hiring processes for Police and Fire Departments to the Human Resources Dept.;
• Allow applicants and prospective applicants for Police and Fire Departments to take the written portion of the exam online through a nationwide provider;
• Revise the ranking system for Police and Fire Department applicants so that each department has a running list that does not terminate automatically every two years.

“This will create a running list of potential applicants,” said Frank Schultz, assistant city solicitor. “That way, we don’t have to keep going back and just starting over.”

Schultz also said the online testing would result in “greater potential applicants.”

“I don’t think there’s any issue with the concept of doing online testing,” Meyer said in July. “It’s the interplay of the roles of the Department of Human Resources and the role of the Board of Examiners and how well that interplays with each other.”

It seems those issues have now been resolved.

The ordinance amendment will get a first reading at next Tuesday’s legislative meeting.

Economic Development

Commissioners also heard economic development proposals for:

• The Gardening Seamstress — A $5,400 rent subsidy incentive for the property located at 3702 Decoursey Ave.

• Flamel Al. Inc. — A $6,000 rent subsidy incentive for the property located at 615 Madison Ave.

• JH Fedders Inc. — A $6,000 forgivable facade incentive for the property located at 1550 Russell St.

• Cork & Char LLC — An agreement and promissory note to facilitate the payment of a $100,000 loan for the restaurant (Opal Rooftop Restaurant and Bar) located on the rooftop at 535 Madison Ave., Floor 7.

All were placed on next Tuesday’s consent agenda.

Property Taxes

After going into a legislative session, Commissioners approved an ordinance for a slight increase in property taxes — a tax of $0.277 upon each $100 valuation of all assessed or assessable real property and $0.359 upon each $100.00 valuation of all assessed or assessable personal property.

Port Authority Grant

Commissioners heard a proposed order to accept the FY2023 Port Security Grant, a total of $54,021 with a 25 percent local match of $13,505.

The proposal will be on next week’s consent agenda.

Mount Matre LLC

Commissioners heard a proposal for a disposition and development agreement between the City of Covington and Mount Matre LLC for the sale of 340 Altamont (vacant lot) for $10,500.

The only respondent was Mount Matre LLC represented by Wes Bittlinger, a Covington property owner. He intends to use the property, along with others, to become part of a large Botany Hills development.

The proposal will be placed on next week’s consent agenda.

New Hires, Retirements and Approval

Commissioners heard proposals for these new hires, retirements and approval:

New Hire – Jacqueline Stephens, Stormwater Project Coordinator, Public Works Department
New Hire – Rebecca Blackburn, Finance Technician, Finance Department
New Hire – Marcus Jordan, Police Officer, Police Department
New Hire – Jeffrey Young, Police Officer, Police Department
Approval – Service Representative Equity Adjustment
Retirement – Walt Mace, Assistant Neighborhood Services Director

All were placed on next week’s consent agenda.

Commissioner Hayden

New Commissioner Steve Hayden attended his first meeting Tuesday night.

Next Meeting

The next regularly scheduled Covington Commission meeting will be a legislative meeting held at 6 p.m., Sept. 12, 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.

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