A group of city employees interviewed their prospective new bosses Thursday and decided not to recommend any of them to be the next mayor of Lexington.
"We were not satisfied with the answers that any of them gave," said Pam Brandenburg, president of the Civil Service Employees Association.
"They skirted around issues. They didn't answer questions, and the vote was to not recommend anyone."
City employees are, of course, free to support whomever they choose in Tuesday's primary election, Brandenburg said.
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The association, which represents about 600 Lexington employees, is affiliated with a union called the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. But it is not recognized by the city for collective bargaining purposes.
About 25 people were present in the gymnasium at Dunbar Community Center for the interviews with Mayor Jim Newberry, Vice Mayor Jim Gray, former Mayor Teresa Isaac and businessman Skip Horine.
At first, all the candidates were sent to wait across the hall and were called in one by one to give a brief introduction and answer a few questions. Then all four were brought in together for questions.
The issues were different from those at other candidate forums in this campaign. The stalled CentrePointe development, for example, was not mentioned.
Instead, the candidates were asked about grievance procedures, pension reform and whether they approved of privatizing any government functions.
Isaac talked about her good relationship with employees when she was mayor. Gray said he had learned the importance of listening to employees in his family-owned construction business. Newberry thanked the employees for working through a tough economic time. Horine, the most conservative of the group, said the city needs to spend less, and that means fewer employees.
Wanda Mitchell-Smith, a Louisville representative of the employees union, had promised at the beginning of the forum that the group's endorsement would mean mailings, phone banks and door-to-door campaigning for the chosen candidate.
"This is not just about having our endorsement coming up on a television screen," she said. "It's about work. Hard work."
But after 45 minutes of discussion about what the candidates said — or didn't say — the consensus was that that coordinated effort won't happen.