Gray's commissioner nominees approved

Crosbie dissents, opposes double-dippers

bfortune@herald-leader.comFebruary 4, 2011 

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray's five nominees for commissioners were confirmed at Thursday night's council meeting, with council member KC Crosbie casting the only dissenting vote.

Approved were Janet Graham as Commissioner of Law; Cheryl Taylor, Commissioner of Public Works and Environmental Quality; Jane Driskell, Commissioner of Finance and Administration; Beth Mills, Commissioner of Social Services; and Clay Mason, Commissioner of Public Safety.

Richard Moloney was confirmed as the city's Chief Administrative Officer at last week's council meeting.

Crosbie said she voted "no" because council members could not vote on each commissioner individually. She said she opposed Driskell and Mason because they are retired from other state and federal jobs where they draw pensions.

"I just don't like them getting another taxpayer-paying job where they can collect another pension under the state law that was passed," Crosbie said. "As it is, taxpayers will be paying their pensions and salaries," she said.

Driskell receives a pension from the Kentucky Retirement System for her years of work in state government and with Louisville metro government. Mason retired in January after more than 25 years with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to take the Commissioner of Public Safety job in Gray's administration.

At Mason's confirmation hearing earlier in the day, council members questioned him about a variety of topics including fire and police pensions, excessive overtime in the fire department, budget constraints facing the city and ways to improve management of the Fayette County Detention Center.

Mason said the city needs to consider imposing some sort of public service tax.

With collective bargaining coming up this year, Mason was asked whether the city had in-house expertise to conduct those talks, or if it should seek outside counsel. Mason said he was supportive of bringing in an outside expert. "I think it would be well worth it for us to do that," he said.

Reach Beverly Fortune at (859) 231-3251 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3251

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