If you’ve been following the trial of Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin (we haven’t, having lost interest in the dysfunctional council after the late Dr. Judy Green was removed), you know Shanklin will remain as District 2 representative.
Shanklin had been accused of benefiting directly from an upholstery project for ex-offenders, and her misuse of Petersburg/Newburg Improvement Project fund, neighborhood discretionary funds out of District 2.
The Charging Committee members clearly are not thrilled by the final decision of the Metro Council Court to allow Shanklin to remain on the council despite a finding of misconduct.
From a news release that came at 3:02 this morning:
While this decision allows her to stay on the Council, we believe this episode has severely damaged the public’s view of the entire Metro Council. We hope that one day; the Council can recover the respect of its electorate.
Here is their statement on the verdict in full:
The following statement has been released as the request of the five members of the Louisville Metro Council’s Charging Committee. Members of the Charging Committee Include: Co-Chair Jerry T. Miller (District 19), Co-Chair Madonna Flood (District 24) and members Tina Ward Pugh (District 9), Vicki Aubrey Welch (District 13) and James Peden (District 23).
Statement of The Charging Committee:
“Seven members of the Metro Council Court weighed the evidence and made a determination that the well documented wrongdoing and unwarranted benefit received by Councilwoman Shanklin and her family did not require her removal from office. Needless to say, we disagree with the decision. We fully anticipate the constituents of these members will remember tonight’s decision.
The Ethics Commission, without the benefit of subpoena power, unanimously recommended removal of Councilwoman Shanklin. We, the Charging Committee did our duty to the Community by bringing these charges. While this decision allows her to stay on the Council, we believe this episode has severely damaged the public’s view of the entire Metro Council. We hope that one day; the Council can recover the respect of its electorate.
We wish to thank our attorney, David Tachau for the thorough job he did under extremely difficult circumstances. We express our appreciation for Council President and Court Chair Jim King for the evenhanded way he attempted to keep control of the proceedings. We would also like to thank Richard Beliles who filed the initial charges, the members of the Ethics Commission and their attorney Deborah Kent for their work.
Regardless of the Council Court’s decision tonight, we feel that this entire difficult process demands a renewed obligation for Metro Council to completely overhaul the process of amending the budget and especially the process of appropriating NDF (Neighborhood Development Funds) grants. We commit to holding our colleagues to a higher standard than that to which the Council Court held Councilwoman Shanklin.
We, the members of the Charging Committee, commit to the people of Metro Louisville that we will work tirelessly to prevent anything like this from bringing further dishonor on this Council and community.”