League offers 3 kinds of services

lblackford@herald-leader.comJune 7, 2009 

Bowling Green Mayor Elaine Walker says her city has a model workers' compensation program, in part because of services from the Kentucky League of Cities.

The city just received certification for training on drug-free workplaces from the KLC Insurance Services, which allows it a 5 percent discount in its workers' comp premiums.

"When you talk about insurance services, instead of taking profits they would realize and putting them into payouts, they put it back into the program," said Walker, who is on the KLC executive board. "It's just tremendous."

The League is divided into three main areas, and each offers an array of services.

It gives free legal advice, provides lobbying on civic issues, and trains member cities' newly elected officials.

Its financial arm provides loans for civic projects.

And for cities that buy insurance from KLC's Insurance Services, there are a host of programs to keep risks and costs down, says director William Hamilton.

Some of those programs include:

■ $275,000 a year in safety training grants, helping cities fund training with Tasers and bulletproof vests. The cities then match those grants.

■ A computerized firearms training system that allows police to experience use of force without actually using weapons.

■ An online training program for topics from "Ergonomics for Supervisors" to "Forklift Safety."

■ The Agility program, which allows insurance members to get help in natural disasters, for things like generators.

Eight loss control experts live around the state, consulting with cities on best practices for safer operations.

"We've added services and value that no one else has," Hamilton said.

Sylvia Lovely has been executive director of the League since 1990, and says she loves seeing how much the organization has grown.

She is now devoting a lot of her energy to the NewCities Institute, a non-profit to engage people in their cities. She also spends a lot of time promoting Kentucky in speeches she makes throughout the country.

"It's real important for us to be part of the national scene," she said. "That's part of what we do in our travel, is bring back ideas and promote Kentucky."

Lovely recently returned from giving speeches in Murray and Louisville. She also visited Greensburg, where she is working on a local effort to find new uses for abandoned housing. She plans on writing about it on her NewCities blog.

"I just love celebrating what local people do," she said.

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