Brosko & Robinson Finally Showed Up

Wondering what’s wrong with Greg Fischer’s administration?

Sure, I’ll foam at the mouth about Greg Fischer and Metro Animal Services again.

Here’s something we’ve been telling you for a year:

From WAVE3’s Theo Keith:

Two senior Animal Services staffers, Margaret Brosko and Donald Robinson, received new jobs within the administration despite the issues under their watch. Brosko is now a spokeswoman for Fischer, while Robinson is an assistant director at Develop Louisville, the city’s land development arm.

Both admitted to procedural mistakes Monday while denying more troubling allegations.

“To be completely honest, this has been really difficult because there’s not a day that goes (by) when I worked at Metro Animal Services that I didn’t think, ‘What can I do tomorrow to save one more dog,'” Brosko said, becoming emotional in front of the committee.

-SNIP-

Hesen would not definitively say whether Brosko or Robinson had to apply for their new positions within the administration. Both received only minimal pay increases with their new roles, city payroll records indicate.

They got their promotions as a way to get them out of Animal Services, a way to make them more high-profile, a way to keep them quiet. That’s how the Greg Fischer world works and the city is beginning to wake up to that reality.

But if you watched yesterday’s Animal Services ad hoc meeting at Metro Council, you were probably more than awake. You were most likely outraged.

Watching Margaret Brosko repeatedly refuse to directly answer questions while claiming she did everything possible to provide care for Sadie was rage-inducing. Even when she was called on the carpet by every council member present.

When Donald Robinson was called out for lying about when authorization for care was provided, he passed the buck and blamed the victim, Heather Adkins. Then he started blaming someone new — Amanda Crook, one of the most beloved employees of Metro Animal Services and the current employee of the month.

What took the cake was Ellen Hesen throwing out the agency’s fabricated live release rate — which still can’t be verified (because it’s made up). She continued to claim this was all just “semantics”, as Greg Fischer used in the now-infamous press release and Kelly Downard ripped her a new one. Downard told her Council wouldn’t stop investigating just because she told them to and reminded her of every hypocrisy he could muster in the moment.

Hesen’s testimony was so absurd that Kevin Kramer’s blood pressure was likely at a dangerous level. Kramer took the opportunity to remind Hesen that the mayor hasn’t issued a public apology to Heather Adkins, which he was supposed to acknowledge when also apologizing for the use of the term “semantics.” He gave Hesen the opportunity to apologize yesterday but she continued to pass the buck, blaming the people who tried to hold Margaret Brosko and Donald Robinson accountable. It’s as if Hesen knows it’s okay to spew nonsense because she’s close to locking in her retirement. Integrity be damned.

Kellie Watson, the mayor’s embarrassingly bad attorney, claimed that the Council had received all emails that were outstanding. What she once claimed couldn’t be released because the documents were part of the Public Integrity Unit’s faux investigation? She now says don’t exist. Though, Councilman Kramer pointed out that they have evidence those emails do actually exist.

It was a real shit show. Fischer’s people finally showed up but didn’t answer questions.

Here’s what you really want to see — the video:


MARGARET BROSKO — CLICK TO ACCESS VIDEO

Watch all 1hr 44min of it. It’s worth it. Particularly if you want a glimpse of a train wreck.

More thoughts about Brosko and Robinson…

Something tells us they didn’t apply for their jobs, otherwise Brosko wouldn’t have had to ask Kellie Watson how to answer the question — she’d remember applying.

Amanda Crook’s mother is going to eat these people alive as a result of Robinson’s claims. Amanda is afraid to say anything because she fears losing her job and losing access to help animals in need. And you know Sadiqa Reynolds will shut her out in a heartbeat because she’s done it over and over.

Brosko claims she constantly worries about the animals and tries to do everything she can to save them. Which must be why she adopted a Pit to impress her former girlfriend, only to return it to LMAS a few short weeks later. Yep, there’s documentation to back this up:


CLICK TO ENLARGE


CLICK TO ENLARGE


CLICK TO ENLARGE

Margaret “fostered” the dog on December 11, 2013, despite it never leaving Manslick. On December 14, 2013, her girlfriend, Tiffany, adopted the dog. She returned it the very next day.

And what about the dog Angie Fenton (she gave me permission last year to use her name but I’ve chosen not to until now) tried like crazy to adopt? Only to be blown off by Margaret? Remember Hadley? The one that just disappeared? The one Margaret claims was sent to Ohio? The dog LMAS sources tell us was euthanized and incinerated.

Yeah.

So let’s quit it with this story of caring about animals. It’s just not based in reality.

Note: Theo Keith is the only mainstreamer who has had the guts to question the Fischer Administration throughout this mess. He ought to be commended.

Update: Spare me the bitching & moaning, Fischer folks. This is clearly a personal rant.

ANOTHER UPDATE: For anyone interested, you may contact me to get a copy of the Public Integrity Unit file that was just made available or try accessing the records here.

FINAL UPDATE: Yes, we’ll do a highlight video clip of the hearing and try to run it this week. Once the rage subsides.

Heard It Through The Dry, Boring, Monotone Greg Fischer Grapevine…

We hear through the grapevine that Metro Government maybe doesn’t archive email until a fixed time each day — like, say, 6:30 P.M. Meaning that email deleted prior to the set backup time wouldn’t get swept up into the archive.

Greg Fischer’s office wouldn’t provide an answer, which is unsurprising, so we went directly to employees who work in IT for Metro. They say it wouldn’t surprise them in the least. Others in the department clammed up when asked directly if that was occurring, giving people like Sadiqa Reynolds and Margaret Brosko the opportunity to cover their tracks.

We also hear Fischer has been withholding funding to develop a better records management system. Which should surprise absolutely no one.

Not Surprising: Greg Fischer’s Professed Transparency Is A Myth & He’s Learned Exactly Zero Preservation Lessons

FLASHBACK: Remember Whiskey Row?


WHISKEY ROW — DON VISH — CLICK FOR ORIGINAL

That should have been a positive preservation lesson for Fischer. But… it’s happened again. And this time he acted with reckless abandon and secrecy.

By now you’re likely aware that the entire preservation community is in an angry froth over the demolition of a set of historic buildings on Third Street.

Morrisey Parking Garage/Bosler’s Fireproof Garage at 423 South Third Street was one of those buildings. It was constructed in 1919 and received landmark designation by the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Here’s what the 2004 book Louisville Guide had to say about it:

Bosler’s Fireproof Garage was one of the first parking structures in Louisville. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, it was heated and provided related services, such as cleaning and polishing. This Romanesque revival structure accentuates its utilitarian function. The massing of the façade provides architectural continuity with the buildings along Third Street and is symmetrical and divided into three bays. The central bay provides entry to the parking structure and is flanked at the first floor by two rectangular business storefronts, with three arched openings at the second floor. Several businesses, such as Goodrich Tires, Garage Equipment and Supply, a fruit market, bookstores, and a surgical supply store, have occupied the storefront. The structure has a basement, three levels of parking, and a spiral ramp that forms a cylindrical mass at the rear of the building.

Coincidentally (of course!) the very spot Omni wants to build a massive 30-story hotel.

It’s another interesting coincidence that right as Omni was ready for construction, it just happened to produce a study claiming the buildings needed to be torn down… the very next day.

It gets more scandalous. Or par for the course, since we’re talking about Greg Fischer.

Check out this email sent to Fischer and his communications team, which includes Margaret Brosko of Sadie’s Law infamy:

From: John Hildreth
Date: Friday, April 10, 2015 at 4:14 PM
To: greg.fischer@louisvilleky.gov
Cc: Virginia VLee@XXXXXXX-XX.com, Gretchen Milliken Gretchen.milliken@louisvilleky.gov, “Wiederwohl, Mary Ellen” MaryEllen.Wiederwohl@louisvilleky.gov, Ellen Hesen ellen.hesen@louisvilleky.gov, “Margaret.Brosko@louisvilleky.gov” , James Lindberg JLindberg@XXXXXXXXXXXXX.org
Subject: 3rd Street Buildings

Dear Mayor Fischer:

I am the Eastern Regional Vice President for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and during my 30 years in preservation have had the privilege of working with Metro Government and the preservationists of Louisville quite often.

I am writing to you with a simple request. Please allow us and others in Louisville time to perform a second engineering study of the Morrissey Garage and the Falls City Theater Company buildings prior to initiating demolition. We need approximately two weeks to identify and bring in an engineer with experience in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. We have the funding in place to perform the study, we simply need the time.

Our objective in performing this study is to ascertain, with more certainty, the possibility of rehabilitation for those structures and, just as importantly, to understand if the facades of the structures could be retained for incorporation into new design for the site.

We certainly are not asking you to risk the health and well being of your citizens and would call for the temporary fencing and, if needed, temporary closing of a traffic lane if merited. We are moving with utmost speed to arrange for this secondary review and ask for your cooperation.

As you are aware, the National Trust, through our National Treasure program, is investing a great deal of time and expertise in Louisville to help the community realize its revitalization potential. We stand behind the research which states that mixed-vintage blocks are vital to any thriving urban environment. A compromise that would retain the facades is not simply a preservation appeal but is based on the fact that incorporating old and new on a human scale is at its heart an urban design best practice. I know from firsthand experience here in Charleston, where I am based, that the design of the Omni Charleston Place was enhanced, and its contribution to downtown revitalization was realized, in part because they retained a block of historic building fronts in the plan.

I am glad to speak with you further about this through 4:30 EDT at my office phone or over the weekend on my cell. My contact information is contained below.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

John Hildreth

Eastern Regional Vice President for Field Services
National Trust for Historic Preservation

To say that there’s a disconnect between the preservation community and the Fischer Administration is an understatement. But Brosko and the rest on the communications team are making relations worse. By refusing to communicate, refusing to listen, being more cagey than normal.

Here’s a rough timeline of events:

  • Preservationists met with Omni architects and the city in January but no specific plans were discussed.
  • They toured the old Water Company block with the city on February 10
  • On March 11 they again met with Omni architects and the city. On that date the first schematic plan was presented and no buildings on Third Street were to be conserved or repurposed. The city said the first two buildings had to be demolished.
  • On March 13 preservationists wrote to Omni and its architects providing suggestions. Things like reusing the Morrisey building façade, salvaging details from the old theater building, repurposing the original central section of the water company complex. Copies were forwarded to the city but Omni and its architects chose to defer to the city.
  • On April 9 the city responded to suggests provided by preservationists… with an emergency demolition press release. No warning, no notice, gave no one any time to raise funds to save what could be saved. Then radio silence.

From just after 12:00 today:




POSSIBILITY CITY

Yep. Demolition started with the façade to guarantee there’d be no way to intervene. Because of course it did.

Sources close to Fischer tells us they believe Mary Ellen Wiederwohl (Fischer’s former deputy chief of staff and current head of Louisville Forward, Fischer’s community development program) promised the Omni Group there’d be no issue demolishing the buildings long before any of this came to light. The current PR disaster is how Fischer’s team handled it. We reached out to Wiederwohl for comment but she wouldn’t respond. Because that’s what you do when you’re a highly paid government employee with nothing to hide.

If Steve Poe can save the façade at the Aloft site, those buildings’ historic façades could have been saved.

So I asked one of the individuals responsible for saving and paying for Whiskey Row (I’m making the decision to withhold publication of their name because you know how Greg Fischer treats whistleblowers) a couple questions.

They told me that the façades could have 100% been saved, quickly and easily. They also believe key parts of the buildings themselves could have been saved.

When asked what kind of message they think it sends the city’s residents when Metro Government takes abrupt action like this without communicating and without allowing anyone to respond? Here’s their response: “DISTURBING.”

48% ($139 million, including tax rebates and $17 million for a parking garage) of the Omni project will be taxpayer funded, so preservationists and all people with half a brain are adamant that there should have been more public input and way more listening on the part of Fischer and his staff.

Forget the historic buildings and their façades. Ignore the reality that Fischer’s employees routinely fine people for unkept lawns and graffiti but can’t be bothered to protect properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Louisville ought to be outraged because Mr. Transparency is once again trying to pull the wool over its eyes.

Let the spin begin in 3, 2…

Only Thing Worse Than Fischer Transparency Is JCPS Transparency

Despite concerns about increased class sizes and a lack of details on how it would be implemented, the Jefferson County Board of Education approved a plan to merge two of its alternative schools and make structural changes at three other alternative sites on Monday night. [WDRB]

On a train from London to Hull, Matthew Barzun decided to check the web to see what famous people were from the Yorkshire city he was about the visit. The former Louisville Internet entrepreneur knows his way around mathematics and theory, so he was excited to discover that John Venn was from Hull. [C-J/AKN]

JCPS is considering pulling hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding for schools all tied to junk food. [WHAS11]

Rand Paul likes to say that the Republican Party should follow the advice of painter Robert Henri, who said people should “paint like a man coming over a hill singing.” [H-L]

Don’t hold your breath about the level of actual transparency, according to JCPS insiders. Jefferson County Public Schools announced the launch of a “citizen transparency” website Monday night. [WLKY]

The Justice Department urged a federal appeals court Monday to reverse a hold a judge placed on President Barack Obama’s immigration executive action. [HuffPo]

Graduation dates for Jefferson County Public High School students have been released. [WAVE3]

In many municipalities around the country, the days of sorting your recyclables for curbside pickup are long gone, replaced by a system called “single-stream” recycling. But what happens after all those bits of plastic, paper, glass and metal trash get put in the bin? [NPR]

The number of jobs within Louisville area residents’ typical commute distances decreased 11 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to a report released this month by the Brookings Institution. [WFPL]

Hundreds of middle and high school students from across the state traveled to Eastern Kentucky University on Saturday to exhibit their science experiments at the Kentucky Science and Engineering Fair. [Richmond Register]

Kyle and Dustin Staggers already own two restaurants on Bardstown Road — Rumplings and Roux — and they’re working on a third Highlands restaurant called “America. The Diner” at 814 Cherokee Road. [[Business First]]

Mike Pence set aside his longtime opposition to programs that give needles to drug users amid pleas from health officials and conservative legislators to respond to the spreading HIV outbreak in Scott County. [News & Tribune]

Louisville Free Public Library Director Search: Another Cringe-Worthy Fischer Mess

Former Library Director Craig Buthod is retired from metro government but the Library Advisory Commission is paying him $66,000 a year whether he does any work or not.

See for yourself:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Crazy stuff.

But what’s crazier?

Julie Scoskie, a former Jefferson County Public Schools administrator with no librarian credentials and just 18 months of library experience, is being considered to replace Buthod. She’s currently on library payroll with a salary greater than many department directors, which is some real Possibility City magic.

If she’s hired as director, Scoskie will have to go back to school to take classes in library science in order to meet requirements set in the Kentucky Revised Statutes. While countless other extremely well-qualified but less-connected individuals are passed over, of course.

We’ve tried to get details about the search process for a new director but have been met with secrecy at every turn. It seems Sadiqa Reynolds, as usual, has been largely absent. Even though she has a lot to say about it (i.e., telling people that Scoskie will get the job). A headhunter was hired to conduct a national search even though three finalists are from Kentucky and two of them are current library employees. Because that makes sense.

The position announcement brochure mysteriously disappeared from the government website and no one will give us answers about it.

Here’s the document:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

That announcement specified that the position requires a masters degree in library science or the equivalent and that qualified candidates would have seven (7) years of library management experience. Then it was yanked when it became clear they (Greg and Sadiqa) wanted an unqualified friend to have the job.

The Fischer Administration claims to love transparency. So we thought it’d be a good idea to help them be transparent by shining a light on another questionable move.

LMAS & Fischer Crew Still Push Secrecy

A heads-up to Sadiqa Reynolds and Metro Animal Services is in order.

Read this from Nathan Winograd:


READ IT, SADIQA

And then read the story he referenced. Here’s an excerpt:

Animal facilities cannot silence volunteers, judge rules

A judge’s ruling in Maryland may make some animal control facilities and shelters think twice about a seldom-discussed policy — forcing volunteers and would-be rescuers to remain silent about any problems they witness.

-SNIP-

Maryland U.S. District Judge James Bredar agreed. Last week he ruled that the “opportunity to serve as a volunteer or partner with a government organization” as a rescuer is a constitutionally protected benefit and that volunteers and rescuers have “the right to exercise constitutionally protected free speech, free of a state actor’s retaliatory adverse act.”

Bredar’s decision could have implications around the country. Public animal control facilities often make volunteer candidates sign nondisclosure agreements.

LMAS folks are currently trying to make volunteers sign away their rights just for volunteering. And Sadiqa is backing them up on it because it was her idea.

D-i-s-a-s-t-e-r.

Compassionate Cities Don’t Have So Many Murders

Internal reviews conducted by the Kentucky Department of Education at three of Jefferson County’s lowest performing schools show progress is being made towards improving achievement, but that some changes must still be made. [Toni Konz]

Does anyone really buy into this Fischer transparency schtick anymore? n the wake of criticisms that public officials were deleting electronic messages, Mayor Greg Fischer Monday said that every person serving on a board or commission will be issued an email address to conduct all official government business. [C-J/AKN]

Two of Louisville’s largest employers are urging Kentucky lawmakers to reject Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s push for the state to allow a local option sales tax. [WHAS11]

A move to raise the minimum wage in Kentucky’s largest city has resulted in a lawsuit. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Another day, another couple of senseless murders in Possibility City. [WLKY]

To Washington insiders he is Dr Evil: the hidden orchestrator of industry campaigns against the Humane Society, Mothers against Drunk Driving, and other seemingly uncontroversial groups. Now Richard Berman, a one-time lobbyist turned industry strategist, has zeroed in on another target: Barack Obama’s new power plant rules. [HuffPo]

What began as a call for help along Interstate 71 ended with police discovering a car crash with a man shot dead inside Wednesday. The shooting forced southbound I-71 closed near the Gene Snyder Freeway for hours impacting travel for hundreds of people. [WAVE3]

Brown-Forman is among 16 organizations across the United States recognized for climate action. [EPA]

The recent revelation that breathalyzer tests are video recorded at the Louisville jail may lead to an influx of filings to re-opened drunk driving cases in the near future. [WFPL]

Wanna dig through Churchill Downs’ quarterly and full year earnings results? [External PDF Link]

The Kentucky Derby Festival unveiled its 2015 Pegasus Pins at an event at Hard Rock Café and it doesn’t suck. [Business First]

Slick, icy roads didn’t stop New Albany residents from packing the Carnegie Center for Art & History to discuss a hot-button issue Saturday. [News & Tribune]