Covington commission approves new positions; renews City Hall lease, seeking more office space

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By Ryan Clark
NKyTribune journalist

A series of new faces and positions will be seen in Covington after the Commission’s regular legislative meeting on Tuesday evening.

The Commissioners approved the following:

• The promotion of police detective Jay Zerhusen to the rank of sergeant effective May 1.
• The promotion of Krista Dyer to captain of the fire department effective May 1st.
• The acceptance of the retirement of Chief Financial Officer Muhammed Owusu as of March 30.
• Approving the hiring of Casey Barach as manager of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), effective April 13th.
• The acceptance of the retirement of Sgt. Aaron Mears starting May 1.
• Acceptance of Captain Rodney Gurren’s retirement effective April 1st.
• The acceptance of the resignation of police officer Tyler Tipton as of April 3.
• Approved the hiring of Ashley Smith as the Fire Department Business Analyst effective April 25th.
• Acceptance of retirement of light equipment operator Paul Thompson effective February 1st.

On Zerhusen’s promotion, Police Chief Robert Nader noted that the former patrol officer has worked for the department since August 2008 and held various positions as a bicycle patrol officer, SWAT and the detective office.

“I want to add that we are looking forward to seeing what Det. Zerhusen brings to the table in his new role as Sergeant, as he is always thinking of ways to improve our service delivery,” Nader said. “For example, he came up with the idea for our SOFA unit, which stands for Sdex Offender Fugitive Apprehension Team, with retired officer Tony Hill, where they scour the city and check the residences of sex offenders.”

Fire Chief Mark Pierce noted that Dyer was hired by the city in August 2009.

“Krista’s determination is unbeatable,” Pierce said. “When she decides to do something, nothing can stop her.”

He explained that last year during the promotional tests, most firefighters study hard for a test they are eligible for. Krista studied for all three exams for which she was eligible.

“Not only did she get all three,” Pierce said, “she scored No. 1 out of three.”

He said he was excited to see what she will do for the department and the city.

Renewal of the town hall lease

Commissioners approved the city’s lease option for City Hall at 20 W. Pike St. for one year.

On October 1, 2018, the city entered into a lease to use the site for four years, which is due to expire on September 30, 2022, with an option to renew for a singular year.

Although the city explored options for a new building, including acquiring land and initiating design work, a new city hall would not be ready in time.

City Manager Ken Smith negotiated a lease with the building’s owner, Bopper Properties, LLC for $255,000 annually.

Additional office space

Last week, Smith discussed the possibility of finding more space to rent for the city’s new staff.

On Tuesday, Commissioner Tim Downing said that because he doesn’t use it very often, he would offer his office to anyone who needed it, if that would help bring about a solution.

Executive session

The commissioners ended the meeting by entering an executive session where the mayor said they would take no action. He said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss:

• Ongoing litigation
• Personnel issues

Next meeting

The next regular meeting of the Covington Commission will be a caucus meeting to be held at 6 p.m., April 19, at the City Building at 20 W. Pike St. in Covington. The meetings can be followed live on the Fioptics channel 815, the Spectrum channel 203, the Northern Kentucky Telecommunications Board (TBNK) websiteTBNK Facebook page @TBNKonline and TBNK Roku channels.

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