Fayette County

Kelly to step down from Fayette post

Don Kelly, Lexington's commissioner of Public Works and Development, announced Wednesday that he is retiring.

Kelly, 65, told Urban County Council members in a letter that his last day will be Aug. 15.

He had come out of retirement early last year to take the $115,000-a-year job in the administration of Mayor Jim Newberry.

Kelly had been, among other things, secretary of the state Transportation Cabinet during the administration of former Gov. Brereton Jones and director of the Institute for Rural Development at Murray State University.

He told council members he has “reached a stage in my life where the value of family and friends has to take precedence over career achievements.”

He has nine grandchildren, ages 5 to 11.

Newberry said Kelly has accomplished much during his short time with the city.

“Under his watch, we successfully completed the negotiations on the consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and reorganized the Department of Public Works,” he said.

The consent decree, signed in February, requires Lexington to spend between $250 million and $300 million over the next dozen years to fix long-running problems with its sanitary- and storm-sewer systems that cause untreated sewage to overflow into creeks, stream, yards and basements.

Newberry also credited Kelly's relationship with state highway officials in helping to increase paving in Lexington last year, and getting the Newtown Pike extension project moving.

Kelly also supported alternative transportation, such as bike lanes and recreational trails.