Council disappoints by refusing to negotiate for new city hall

Tim Kelly
Tim Kelly

I am furious with the council in general and Vice Mayor Steve Kay in particular for backing off of negotiating for the Herald-Leader building and property.

Obviously, I have what can be seen as a personal interest — though not financial in any way — after having spent 22 years at Main & Midland as executive editor, editor and publisher. Because of that, I intentionally stayed out of the debate and did not attend council sessions, but have read everything that’s been printed.

And for the record, I’ve never met or spoken with developer Craig Turner of CRM.

I know there was another proposal for the property that had been presented to Herald-Leader Publisher Rufus Friday and he wisely rejected it. It is not something anyone on the council or, daresay, even the most fervent critics of the CRM proposal would want to see there — not even council member Richard Moloney, whose outrageous and thinly veiled intimation of bribery during a July 2 open session should have been investigated to make him put up or shut up.

It appeared to be a case of, “That’s just Moloney being Moloney.” Baloney. Bribery of a public official is a Class C felony in Kentucky. Any whiff of it should be taken seriously. In the entire history of merged city-county government in Fayette County, there has never been any hint of such impropriety.

If there was nothing there, Moloney should’ve been called out on it and censured.

While I was still publisher, during previous discussions over a new city hall, I contacted then-Mayor Jim Newberry and offered him the Herald-Leader building because its location, parking and re-use possibilities made so much sense.

I am tremendously disappointed in the vice mayor’s reversal. He should have led on this, not followed the naysayers. The city has a chance to put something really special on the eastern gateway to downtown. I hope to hell he and the rest of the council haven’t blown it.

Tim Kelly is retired Herald-Leader president and publisher.