On Thursday, a devastating state audit detailed a culture of excessive and wasteful spending at the Kentucky League of Cities.
On Friday, the group is holding its annual Christmas party at the Mansion at Griffin Gate, complete with a reception, dancing and karaoke. The party's budget is almost $10,000.
For critics of the League, the timing is, well, ironic.
Lexington Mayor Jim Newberry, a member of the executive board, said he thinks the party is a symbol of how little KLC is willing to change.
"That just shows there is no indication that the staff has come to grips with the levels of excess at KLC that need to change," he said.
Executive board president Mike Miller, the mayor of Jackson, said in October the finance committee approved $9,600 to pay for it — not with taxpayer money, but with funds from the Cornerstone Partners program.
The Cornerstone program also got a mention in the audit. The League solicited donations of $1,500 to $25,000 to list businesses as Cornerstone Partners. KLC then marketed those companies to cities as preferred businesses. As the Web site says: "As a KLC Cornerstone Partner, your business receives a number of benefits including a direct link to the customers you want to reach. Whether it be face-to-face events or customized KLC mailing lists, no other opportunity gives you the kind of year-round, targeted access you receive as a KLC Cornerstone Partner."
On Nov. 18, the League held a retirement party for executive director Sylvia Lovely, who will step down in January. That event also was paid for with Cornerstone donations. It had a cash bar.
Lovely has set up a new business, Sylvia Lovely and Associates. According to her Web site, she offers consulting services that specialize in training for board members and executives.