Greenberg announces reordering of government offices in first State of the City address
Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg announced the creation of new city offices and his plans to prioritize the work of others during his first State of the City address Thursday afternoon.
Among the new agencies is the Office of Immigrant Affairs, which will expand on the previous work of the Office of Globalization. That department helped connect Louisville’s immigrant and refugee communities to services offered by Metro Government and local nonprofits.
Greenberg gave his speech Thursday before hundreds of local elected officials and city employees gathered at the Americana World Community Center, a nonprofit providing youth programming and family coaching services for people new to America. Greenberg said foreign-born residents are the fastest growing population in Jefferson County.
“They make a tremendous contribution to our economy and the cultural life of our city, despite dealing with legal and language hurdles that the rest of us never have to consider as we do our jobs and raise our families,” he said.
Amos Izerimana, previously the city’s interim director of globalization, will lead the new office.
Greenberg said two existing city agencies, the Office of Equity and Office of Sustainability, will be “elevated” to be part of the mayor’s office.
“We need to factor the need for racial justice and equity into every decision we make at Metro Government, not just during this month, which is Black History Month, but every month, every day,” Greenberg said.
The directors of the equity and sustainability offices will move to Metro Hall and report to Deputy Mayor Barbara Sexton Smith.
Greenberg said Joi McAtee, the Office of Equity’s new director, will help coordinate the city’s racial equity goals across departments.
Louisville Metro will also have a new agency — run by former University of Louisville Co-Vice President of University Advancement Mariana Barzun — dedicated to pursuing grant opportunities. The Office of Philanthropy will work with local and national foundations and nonprofits to secure funding to address Louisville’s most pressing issues. The office’s first priority will be working on ways to support Greenberg’s commitment to universal pre-K.
The city’s biggest challenges, Greenberg said, include a lack of affordable housing, a broken juvenile justice system and public safety. Last year, 160 Louisvillians were killed, many due to gun violence.
“One homicide, one act of violence, is far too many because we know that behind each one of those numbers is a human being, often a child, a friend, a relative, someone our kids went to school with,” said Greenberg, who survived an attempted shooting a year ago.
He vowed to find additional resources for initiatives that could prevent more deaths, like the city’s Group Violence Intervention program. He also said more funding is needed to expand programming at community centers and job training aimed at young people.
Despite Louisville’s challenges, Greenberg said he had many reasons to be optimistic about the future of the city. He highlighted the recent announcement of$21 million in federal funding for improving roadway safety, as well as ongoing projects to reopen and renovate public libraries.
“The truth is, I’m excited about where we are and what’s ahead,” he said. “I’m excited to continue working with and learning from people from all over Louisville, in partnership together.”
Greenberg said residents can expect to get a fuller picture of his new administration’s vision for the future of Louisville when he presents his budget to Metro Council in April.