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Image 8 of The Advocate Messenger April 6, 2012

Part of The Advocate Messenger

THE ADVOCATE-MESSENGER  I  WWW.AMNEWS.COM A8 FRIDAY, APRIL 6, 2012 MAYOR, from A1 names from the resumes before handing them to the committee. But the committee was supposed to pick the best seven resumes, Hunstad said. “We appreciate their work, but they didn’t really fulfill the task,” the mayor said. Hunstad said Interim City Manager Ron Scott was not one of the four applicants recommended by the citizens committee, and the mayor said that was unfortunate because Scott has done an excellent job since stepping into his role in August. However, Scott as well as other candidates not selected by the Citizens Committee are not ruled out for the job, he said. Many of the candidates forwarded to the Danville Citizens Committee were not qualified for the position and very few were from the region, said committee chairwoman Mary Stith Hamlin during a recent City Commission meeting. Hunstad said ursday he does not agree with Hamlin’s characterizations of the 12 applications she and the citizens committee reviewed. “I’ve reviewed all 12 applications, and 10 of them were unquestionably worth considering,” Hunstad said. e city paid Atlantabased consulting firm e Mercer Group $7,500 to recruit candidates for city manager. Hunstad agreed that many applicants were from outside the region, but said it was not the Mercer Group’s fault. “Finding a good city man- DANVILLE, from A1 Clay Jackson/ Sen. Mitch McConnell delivers the first in a series of historical lectures on prominent Kentucky senators Thursday in Centre College's Weisiger Theater. MCCONNELL, from A1 the fact that some close to the president, including Harvard professor and former Obama administration official Laurence Tribe, have also been critical of a sitting president speaking about a pending case. McConnell, who attended some of the three days of arguments held last week, was among those who filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in support of the suit filed by attorneys general in multiple states. He believes the court may have already voted, but said the shroud of secrecy around the justices and their clerks remains one of the only reliably leak-proof institutions in Washington. The court is reviewing whether the so-called individual mandate, which would require people to purchase a minimum level of insurance by 2014 or CENTRE, from A1 president at the age of 36 before serving in the Senate, graduated from the school in 1838. An uncle, Robert Jefferson Breckinridge, is the namesake of Breckinridge Hall on Centre's campus. e speech, entitled “A Family Affair: John Brown and the Breckinridges in the U.S. Senate,” also touched on the careers of Brown, a Breckinridge cousin, and John Breckinridge, John C.'s grandfather. While he didn't carry the famous last name, Brown was responsible for charting the course for the Breckinridge political dynasty, McConnell said. A Virginian by birth, Brown became the only representative from what would later be Kentucky in the Continental Congress and lobbied hard in favor of a federal constitution. McConnell said he could be given some credit for the adoption of the Constitution because of his advocacy from afar during the Virginia Ratifying Convention. During his time in public life, including his work in the Senate, Brown supported Kentucky statehood, American navigation rights for the Mississippi River and incur a penalty, falls within the government's authority under the Commerce Clause. The crux of the government's argument is that what the law refers to as the minimum coverage provision is justified under the federal government's jurisdiction over interstate commerce. The payments, the government has argued, are akin to financing the purchase of something everyone will need at some point, and not having insurance would impact cost for others. The argument made by McConnell and those who filed the lawsuit is that the government compelling someone to purchase something in a market would open the door for mandating other choices. He gives the example of being made to eat carrots, quit smoking or lose weight. If the law is upheld, Mc- Connell has been one of the vocal proponents of repealing the legislation and instead taking smaller steps that would reign in costs. Health care will no doubt be among the major issues in the upcoming presidential campaign, but some have speculated about whether presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney will be hindered by the comprehensive health plan he supported as Massachusetts governor. "Politically, we'd be better off if he hadn't done that," McConnell said. "On the other hand, a state is free to do that. The fact that Massachusetts chose to do it may or may not mean anybody else does. That's a totally different thing from whether it is either permissible constitutionally or advisable for the federal government to try to micromanage the medical care of 300 million people." McConnell said the economy, even with some signs of recovery, will still be an issue for the president in the election. Obama inherited a bad situation and made it worse with over-taxation and regulation, McConnell said. He pointed to the fact that the unemployment rate, which dropped slightly to 8.3 percent, is still a long way from the 5.5 percent typical during a healthy economy. Although he wouldn't wade into the process of picking a vice presidential nominee, McConnell did say he would likely be in attendance for the vice presidential debate to be held at Centre College in October. He said he still has the "Thrill in the 'Ville" poster from the 2000 debate framed in his Louisville home. McConnell was in town Thursday to give the first in a series of speeches at Centre about prominent Kentucky senators. protection for settlers against Native American attacks. His actions secured a place for him as one of Kentucky's founding fathers, McConnell told the audience. John Breckinridge, a friend of omas Jefferson, was known for his staunch support of the Louisiana Purchase, which allowed Kentuckians access to the Mississippi River. He became the first cabinet secretary from west of the Appalachian Mountains when Jefferson made him attorney general, a job McConnell said Breckinridge struggled with, as he lost all but one of his cases before the Supreme Court. Centre Alum John C. Breckinridge, served as a pro-slavery senator who advocated for popular sovereignty in the nation’s new territories at a time when the nation was headed for the Civil War. He fled to the Confederacy and served as a general during the war, was exiled in Canada following the conflict and after a pardon from the president returned to Kentucky where he practiced law and was involved with building railroads. McConnell, who said he has maintained a keen in- terest in history since his youth, spoke for about 30 minutes about the powerful political clan. While debate is brewing in Washington and the Supreme Court presumably labors over opinions on the constitutionality of health care legislation, the hot topic of the day went largely undiscussed. However, in offering a glimpse at recent additions to his bookshelf, McConnell revealed that even his history reading involves matters of high court decision making. The senator noted one of his most recent reads was a biography of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, whose court was responsible for defining the scope of federal and state powers and established judicial review in Marbury v. Madison. He said Jean Edward Smith's “John Marshall: Definer of Nation” was actually gifted to him by Chief Justice John Roberts. There was some time left at the conclusion of the talk for McConnell to answer some questions and expound upon his own role as Kentucky's most prominent, and powerful, senator of the first part of the 21st Century. Contrary to common perceptions about his ability to rule his fellow party members by might, McConnell said he must take an “all carrot and no stick” approach to leadership. He offered several quips about the deliberate pace at which the country's highest deliberative body works. “It’s like being the caretaker at a cemetery,” McConnell said of his position as top Republican. “Everybody’s under you but nobody’s listening.” McConnell is no stranger to Centre, having been awarded an honorary degree from the school in 2003. He also praised the college on the Senate floor recently, which entered his comments into the legislative record. Michael Strysick, Centre's director of communications, was in charge of planning Thursday’s event. He said McConnell's visit was a further indication of the long-time positive relationship he and the school have developed. Centre President John Roush also had high praise for McConnell’s initiative. “This is what American politicians used to do,” Roush said at the conclusion of the speech. nent city manager. Former Mayor John W.D. Bowling earned $14,468 between June 23 and Sept. 1 for his service as interim city manager, according to records. While he did not take any health insurance benefits, the city had to pay the Lexington law firm Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney $5,143.92 to handle a situation in which a city employee allegedly made a death threat against Bowling. e city regularly uses the services of Danville law firm Sheehan, Barnett, Dean, Pennington & Little, but since the attorneys deal with a number of city personnel matters it would be difficult to determine how many billed hours applied specifically to the city manager issues. Ron Scott, the current interim city manager, has applied for the position. Scott earned $41,544 between Sept. 15 and March 29, and the city paid $7,106.88 for his health insurance and $5,005 for state retirement benefits. Mayor Bernie Hunstad said ursday that most of the money paid to Stansbury was part of his severance package. Most of the other fees would have been paid to a city manager anyway, the mayor noted. Resident Mark Morgan said the figures calculated by a reporter using city financial records were similar to numbers he had come up with on his own, and he is greatly con- ager is not an easy thing,” Hunstad said. “ere are fewer than two dozen employed in the entire state of Kentucky, which makes it difficult to recruit regional candidates.” Most of the candidates came from the West Coast and northeastern United States, Hunstad said. is is not due to Mercer Group representatives not being familiar with Kentucky, according to the mayor. e Mercer Group has successfully recruited applicants for high profile jobs for the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center, and for jobs in Frankfort and Lexington. One of the firm’s key employees used to be based in Lexington, he added. Hunstad said the next step is for commissioners to start interviewing applicants via Skype to determine which people merit further consideration. e mayor hopes to start having short executive sessions at regularly called and special City Commission meetings next week, during which commissioners will conduct the interviews. Hunstad expects to interview most of the 12 original applicants, but will start with the candidates ranked best by the citizens committee. “We’ll be lucky to retain half (of the 12 applications),” Hunstad said. “Some of these folks may choose different jobs or decide this position is not the best fit.” Hamlin as well as several other people who served on the committee did not return calls seeking comment as of press time. cerned that the lack of a permanent city manager will jeopardize the slated $27.5 million water expansion project. e effort, scheduled to begin in September, will increase Danville’s daily pumping capacity to 12 million gallons from the current 10 million gallons. “Stansbury was the only one (of the three interim or permanent city managers) who had the training and the knowledge necessary to guide this city in the right direction,” Morgan said. “All we’ve done is set ourselves up for a major project without a responsible captain guiding the ship.” Hunstad said it will probably take a few more weeks to hire a city manager, but it will be completed in plenty of time for the water expansion project. Resident J.P. Brantley said he was “not surprised” at the financial figures. “Now maybe people will see how much this mess has cost the city,” Brantley said. “We had a perfectly good city manager in Stansbury. Our current interim city manager seems to be taking orders from somebody, but I’m not sure whom.” Morgan said the water expansion project is not just about water or money, but creating jobs for future generations as well as maintaining the health of community members. “is is not a time to be throwing away taxpayer dollars,” Morgan said. 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