Frankfort City Commission fires city manager following 3-2 vote

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City of Frankfort seal

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Frankfort City Commission fired City Manager Keith Parker “without cause” by a 3-2 vote at its work session Monday night, according to The State Journal.

The report says the vote came following a closed session that last more than two hours.

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Commissioner Eric Whisman made the motion to fire Parker, with Commissioner John Sower and Mayor Bill May voting to terminate Parker immediately, according to the newspaper report.

Commissioners Katrisha Waldridge and Scott Tippett were the two ‘no’ votes, according to the report.

Parker was hired as city manager in February 2019 after serving several months as interim co-city manager.  Prior to that, Parker led the city’s Public Works Department, according to the newspaper.

No other agenda items were addressed at the work session, including discussion about the mayor’s hiring of an outside public relations firm for the city at a cost of $5,000 per month using Frankfort’s COVID-19 emergency declaration, according to The State Journal.

The mayor told the newspaper he wanted to hire Boxcar Public Relations out of Louisville in case a crisis occurred in the midst of the pandemic, as well as protests about shutdowns due to the coronavirus and racial injustice.

Mayor May also told the newspaper the period the city contracted with Boxcar, which began more than two months ago and is scheduled to run through Nov. 1, could work as a test run to see if the city ought to hire a full-time communications director.

Commissioner Waldridge told the paper she knows nothing the public relations firm has done for the city or the nature of any of its work.  She planned to bring the issue up at Monday’s special work session meeting, but following the firing of the city manager, the meeting was adjourned against Waldridge’s wishes, according to the report.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.