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Metro Council To Discuss High-Profile Measures This Week

city hall
J. Tyler Franklin
Louisville City Hall

The Louisville Metro Council is set to examine a pair of noteworthy measures in the coming week.

Local legislators returned last week from their summer break and are now settling into their regular committee schedule.

On Wednesday, the council’s public safety committee will begin discussing a resolution that – if approved – would reinforce the council’s call to remove Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad.

Some council members have for weeks been calling for Conrad to resign or be replaced by Mayor Greg Fischer. They cite surging violent crime rates as a top reason for their disapproval.

In the resolution filed to the council clerk, sponsors David James, a Democrat, and Republicans Robin Engel and Angela Leet cite numerous other criticisms -- including what they consider to be a lack of transparency, and low morale among officers.

The resolution is akin to a no-confidence vote in Conrad – which is a nonbinding action and dismissed as merely symbolic by some experts.

Conrad has repeatedly stressed he works at the discretion of the Mayor and will not answer the council’s call to step down.

Council members on Tuesday will also begin formal discussions about establishing an anti-harassment policy for the city’s legislative body. The council presently lacks such guidelines.

The need for a policy has been highlighted in recent weeks in the wake of sexual harassment allegations against Councilman Dan Johnson.

The council's Democratic caucus issued an ultimatum to Johnson last week. The body elected to urge Johnson to resign by August 1 or face formal efforts to remove him from the council.

The council’s Government Accountability, Ethics and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee will take up the pair of measures that would allow the policy and reporting mechanisms regarding harassment to be set in place.

The committee's work comes on the heels of a workgroup's effortto lay a foundation for anti-harassment measures.

Council members are pushing back a voteon whether or not to approve a requested rate hike by sewer officials.

Sewer officials have for months pushed for a rate increase that they say will help fund critical infrastructure repair works. Any such increase greater than 6.9 percent, however, requires Metro Council approval.

Last year, a proposed 20 percent rate hike didn’t get traction before lawmakers. Since then, regulators have held numerous public and private meetings around town to win support for the plan.

Jacob Ryan is an award-winning investigative reporter who joined LPM in 2014. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.