The Urban County Council gave final approval Tuesday to a new agreement that would keep it in its current 17-county workforce development area.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to give Mayor Jim Gray the authority to sign the agreement between Fayette and 16 other counties. Those 16 counties have already signed the new agreement that would dictate how millions of dollars in federal workforce training dollars are spent.
Gov. Steve Beshear issued an executive order in late June that redesignated the federal workforce areas in Kentucky. Those 10 local workforce areas control more than $49.8 million in federal workforce training dollars.
Lexington had sought its own workforce development area because of concerns about how the Bluegrass Area Development District spent the money.
A March 2014 special examination by State Auditor Adam Edelen found conflicts of interest between the Bluegrass ADD and the local Workforce Investment Board, a board of business leaders and local officials.
The Bluegrass ADD — as the fiscal agent — has control of more than $11 million in federal workforce dollars that are used to train workers.
Lexington officials also have complained that although 51 percent of the workforce in the 17-county region resides in Lexington, too few workforce training dollars were spent in Fayette County.
Beshear requested that officials with the Bluegrass ADD and the city of Lexington go to mediation to settle those differences. In May, the two sides came to an agreement that Fayette County will have more representation on a group of elected leaders that oversees the federal workforce dollars.
Kevin Atkins, the chief development officer for Lexington, told the council Tuesday the new agreement corrects many of the issues found in Edelen's special examination.