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Monday, October 12, 2020

Letters Circulating in Cold Spring Seek to Clarify Ongoing Council Debate

Cold Spring council members share concerns in social media and public letters.


By Robin Gee, city council beat editor

In recent months, Cold Spring council members have been engaging in a war of words at council meetings, through social media and other outlets. 

Council member Cindy Moore lodged several complaints against the council and the city’s mayor D. Angelo Penque mostly around matters of finance and transparency. She also brought to attention some differences between the language of some ordinances and the practices in place.

Now, three members of council, Chris Ampfer, Lisa Cavanaugh and Paul Kloeker have issued a letter answering many of Moore’s concerns and adding clarifications. Moore has also shared publically some clarifications of her concerns.

In particular, she said her comments about council pay needed clarification. She voiced concern about a pay raise council received in 2019-2020. "When I first took office I noticed my pay was more than I was expecting. After contacting the administrator every two weeks, when I received my biweekly checks for five months, the only way to get the answer was an open records request."

She said she checked Kentucky ordinances and found that the increase of $400 a year for council members and $4,000 a year for the mayor was not filed properly. In the end council and the mayor returned the money. 

Council members Ampfer, Cavanaugh and Kloeker addressed the issue in their letter reiterating that once the error was discovered, the money was returned. 

Here are some of the clarifications of other issues contained in the council members’ letter: 

  • Moore said the mayor had reversed the city’s requirement for standing mayor/council advisory committees. The council members countered that the council, including Moore, had voted to change the language of a city ordinance, removing the phrase "shall be established" to leave the formation of  advisory committees to the discretion of the mayor. 

  • The council members also said Moore claimed the mayor chose to remove the city from participation with the Campbell County Media service. Again, say the council members, the council voted on the matter. The decision to was tied 3 to 3, and the mayor issued the deciding vote. 

  • Moore has voiced concerns about the mayor’s spending including the purchase of WiFi access while he was on vacation. The council members said, that in an emergency, the city would need to be able to reach the mayor for important decisions such as the deployment of FEMA. 

  • She also questioned membership dues, meals and other expenses related to the Metropolitan Club in Covington. Council members said the membership was approved in the budget.

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Last month, council members voted to censure Moore in response to an unrelated issue concerning a discrimination lawsuit filed against Moore by a city contractor. In June, Darryl Beasley, owner of a Jani King franchise, filed a discrimination lawsuit against her and demanded action by the city and an apology from Moore. Through a negotiated agreement, the city also paid $5,000 toward Beasley’s legal fees. 

Cold Spring city council meets tonight, October 12, and a group has announced they will picket the meeting to demand the city remove Moore from council over the discrimination issue. Fort Thomas Matters will report more on this as it unfolds. 

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