discretionary funds http://wfpl.org en Mayor Greg Fischer on WFPL Thursday for a News Special http://wfpl.org/post/mayor-greg-fischer-wfpl-thursday-news-special <p>Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will join WFPL on Thursday for an hour-long news special.</p><p>Fischer will be asked about possible changes to the Metro Council members' <a href="/term/discretionary-funds">discretionary spending, </a>the <a href="/term/vision-louisville">Vision Louisville project, </a><a href="/term/nba">professional</a> <a href="/post/could-louisville-support-major-league-soccer-team">sports </a>and more. He'll also discuss his bid for re-election in 2014.</p> Thu, 22 Aug 2013 10:00:00 +0000 Joseph Lord 6555 at http://wfpl.org Mayor Greg Fischer on WFPL Thursday for a News Special Louisville Councilman Brent Ackerson Unveils Drastic Changes to Discretionary Spending http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-councilman-brent-ackerson-unveils-drastic-changes-discretionary-spending <p>After an hour long deliberation of the Louisville Metro Council's ethics committee Democrat Brent Ackerson unveiled a 19-page draft of broad changes to discretionary spending rules on Tuesday.</p><p>The committee discussed a number of possible reforms including tighter rules for neighborhood grants and a resolution asking the General Assembly for a change in state law that would give the Metro Ethics Commission subpoena powers.</p><p>But the proposals Ackerson is outlining call for a drastic shift in policy such as blocking the use of neighborhood grant funding for community picnics and festivals unless there is a public purpose such as a health fair.</p><p>"At the end of the day I hope it will be equally offensive to all of us because that’s what it’s going to take here. This can’t be a situation where we say don’t touch my project or this or that," says Ackerson. "Let’s just vomit the ideas out there and flush through. If we’re going to bring out real change then let’s really do it."</p><p>He says it's important lawmakers put bold ideas out for the public to debate in the wake of Barbara Shanklin’s expulsion trial, which in part centered on the use of discretionary funds.</p><p>The plan also would forbid a single council member from spending over $15,000 on a single event. It would effectively stop the funding district events such as <a href="http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120806/NEWS01/308060109/Barbara-Shanklin-Louisville-Metro-Council-ethics-complaint-Neighborhood-Development-Fund-grants">Newburg Day, which has received grants over $20,000</a> from Shanklin's office in years past.</p><p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 11:30:00 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6540 at http://wfpl.org Louisville Councilman Brent Ackerson Unveils Drastic Changes to Discretionary Spending Councilman Brent Ackerson Promises to Introduce 'Major Reforms' to Discretionary Spending http://wfpl.org/post/councilman-brent-ackerson-promises-introduce-major-reforms-discretionary-spending <p>A Louisville Metro Council committee is set to review a series of so-called "sweeping changes" covering discretionary spending introduced by city Republicans, but one Democrat argues they don't go far enough.</p><p>The council <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-council-republicans-propose-sweeping-changes-discretionary-funds">GOP outlined a number of amendments to the neighborhood and capital accounts</a> last week to funds that lawmakers receive annually.</p><p>Among the more drastic changes are putting a $15,000 cap on the $75,000 neighborhood funds that go towards non-profit groups.</p><p>Republicans argue those taxpayer funds would be better spent towards infrastructure needs, but Democrats say their poorer district rely on social service and other groups programming.</p><p>Other proposed changes would&nbsp; tighten the definition of family members prohibited from benefiting from taxpayer-funded programs and bar the use of discretionary funds for constituent meals, cash incentives and employee bonuses.</p><p>But Democratic Councilman Brent <a href="https://twitter.com/LEOWeeklyNews/status/368099196303593472">Ackerson compared those reforms to "putting lipstick on a pig," </a>in an effort to grab headlines in the wake of the Barbara Shanklin expulsion trial.</p><p>"Everyone’s talking about the need for sweeping reforms and if we’re going to do sweeping reforms then let’s do some real ones not just some little feel good, rah-rah put the (public) back at ease when we’re really not doing anything," he says. "If this were a car engine we’re talking about a complete tune-up and overhaul. And what I’ve heard from a number of other folks, I call it an oil change and a kick in the tires."</p><p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 18:00:57 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6535 at http://wfpl.org Councilman Brent Ackerson Promises to Introduce 'Major Reforms' to Discretionary Spending Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds http://wfpl.org/post/louisville-metro-council-republicans-propose-sweeping-changes-discretionary-funds <p>Calling past efforts to reform discretionary spending practices watered down, Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveiled a series of "sweeping changes" to neighborhood development funds.</p><p>The proposals come in the wake of Democratic Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's expulsion trial. Shanklin avoided <a href="/post/barbara-shanklin-stay-louisville-metro-council-opposition-calls-decision-embarrassing">removal over charges of alleged misconduct </a>and unethical use of taxpayer money by just one vote.</p><p>Among the changes being touted by GOP members are for the majority of discretionary funds to be used on capital projects rather than towards non-profit groups.</p><p>Each council members receives $75,000 in Neighborhood Development Funds, $100,000 in Capital Infrastructure Funds and $30,000 for office expenses.</p><p>Republicans hold a nine-member minority on the council, but are seeking to cap the neighborhood accounts at $15,000 while allocating the rest for infrastructure needs.</p><p>Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, says past efforts to amend spending rules have been ineffective and too slow, adding that GOP lawmakers believe it’s important to act now in order to restore the public's trust.</p><p>"We decided after what happened over these past two weeks to go ahead and make this more permanent, more accountable and more transparent," he says. "We want to have the strongest confidence that the public has in us as well as making sure that we elevate and solidify the trust has in using taxpayer’s money." Fri, 16 Aug 2013 00:59:39 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6481 at http://wfpl.org Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds Committee to Amend Discretionary Funds Policy http://wfpl.org/post/committee-amend-discretionary-funds-policy <p>The Louisville Metro Council Accountability and Ethics Committee is voting Tuesday on more changes to the policy that governs the distribution of taxpayer dollars to non-profit groups.</p><p>A recent audit found that half of the <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/audit-finds-poor-documentation-council-discretionary-funds">discretionary grants given out by city lawmakers lacked proper documentation</a> to determine if the funds were being spent properly.</p><p>Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the accountability committee and a co-sponsor of the proposal along with Council President Jim King, D-10. He says the amendments being proposed give non-profit groups clear guidelines and should help restore public trust.</p><p>"The resolution that we’re going to hear today will start us on the path of restoring public confidence in this process, regardless of what individual council people—including myself—think of the overall process we have to be able to restore confidence that public funds are being used appropriately," says Miller.</p><p> Tue, 18 Sep 2012 17:47:23 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1700 at http://wfpl.org Council Committee to Discuss Discretionary Fund Audit Report http://wfpl.org/post/council-committee-discuss-discretionary-fund-audit-report <p>The Louisville Metro Council&rsquo;s Government Accountability Committee will meet Tuesday to discuss recommendations from a <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/audit-finds-poor-documentation-council-discretionary-funds">troubling audit report that found a lack of oversight in discretionary grant</a> spending.</p><p>Last month, a review of Neighborhood Development Fund grants from the past two fiscal years showed half of the $1.9 million grants awarded during that period lacked proper documentation. It also found inconsistencies and a vague criteria for non-profit groups receiving city funds, including over $6,500 in funds that were spent out of compliance with Metro Government rules.</p><p>The audit specifically mentioned Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, who faces an ethics complaint after a series of controversies were reported about her office&rsquo;s discretionary spending.</p><p>Councilman Jerry Miller, R-19, is chairman of the government accountability committee. He says the panel will address the community&rsquo;s growing concerns about how those grants are approved and monitored, but told WFPL the committee will avoid any mention of the Shanklin case specifically.</p><p>&quot;I think it will be good for the public to hear the recommendations and the findings, and how we are going to begin making the changes in the process to hopefully restore the public&rsquo;s confidence,&quot; he says.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 20:46:22 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 1167 at http://wfpl.org Audit Finds Poor Documentation of Council Discretionary Funds http://wfpl.org/post/audit-finds-poor-documentation-council-discretionary-funds <p>An internal audit has found half of the grant from the Louisville Metro Council lacked sufficient documentation to determine if the discretionary funds were spent as intended.</p><p>Last year, Council President Jim King, D-10, ordered the review in the wake of the ethics controversy involving former Councilwoman Judy Green, who was booted from office over misuse of Neighborhood Development Funds.</p><p>The audit looked at 117 grants over the past two fiscal years totaling more $1.9 million in taxpayer dollars and found no wrongdoing. However, it showed the majority of the council&rsquo;s Neighborhood Development Funds had missing proof of payment, unallowable expenditures or poor documentation to account for the grants.</p><p>&quot;The audit was difficult to conduct in that there was a lack of monitoring in place prior to the new administration being there,&quot; says Internal Auditor Ingram Quick, adding the lack of documentation of the grants is troubling.</p><p>Among the findings are approximately $238,000 of expenditures in which proof of payment was not provided to the city. It also found inconsistencies and a vague criteria for non-profit groups receiving city funds, including over $6,500 in funds that were spent out of compliance with Metro Government rules.</p><div><p> Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:12:46 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 822 at http://wfpl.org