Bourbon County

Head of Bluegrass Area Development District resigns; severance totals $128,000

Lenny Stoltz resigned Monday night as director of the Bluegrass Area Development District, a week after the group's executive committee gave him an ultimatum to leave or be fired.

Stoltz will receive a severance package of $128,000, which includes about $4,857 for each year of service, $38,362 for accrued vacation time and $22,032 to buy a year of retirement in the state retirement system.

The executive committee met for two hours behind closed doors to work out the agreement. Two members, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and Clark County Judge-Executive Henry Branham, were the only no votes.

After the meeting, Gray said he thought the severance package was "too generous."

Stoltz has been on paid administrative leave since June 6. He had requested a settlement of $218,000.

David Duttlinger will continue to act as interim executive director.

Stoltz appeared at the end of the meeting to read a brief statement, in which he pledged to work with Dutt linger and the board.

"I think it is time for fresh leadership at the helm of the BGADD," Stoltz said. "The board can now begin working with David to chart a new vision for the region."

Lawrenceburg Mayor Edwinna Baker, chairwoman of the development district, said Monday that the board had "lost confidence in the present leader and we needed new leadership."

Baker said some of the problems related to a felony re-entry program planned by Stoltz, but there were several issues that she would not detail.

The re-entry program centered around a six-acre property at 1393 Trent Boulevard, which Stoltz wanted to use to house former felons enrolled in the Steppin' to a New Beat. The district bought the property for $600,000 and spent an additional $500,000 on renovations.

After nearby residents complained about the project's lack of transparency, Attorney General Jack Conway ruled that the development district was not authorized to operate the program, and was required to share records about it under the state Open Records Act.

The board revealed last week that it had fired Tanya Fogle, director of Steppin to a New Beat, but did not say why.

The development district has put the Trent Boulevard property back on the market but at a reduced price of about $995,000.

Baker said Monday that the board was committed to transparency and welcomed the state auditor's office to examine the district's books.

Because the situation with Stoltz was resolved, Baker canceled a full board meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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