Covington's Klein leaves; mayor says city manager didn't accept change

Posted at 8:40 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 06:20:47-05

COVINGTON, Ky. -- Larry Klein, who served as Covington's city manager for more than nine years, officially resigned his post at Tuesday's commission meeting.

Klein's resignation was unanimously accepted by the commission. He was not in attendance.

Loren VanDyke Wolff, an attorney in Covington, was named interim city manager.

Klein resigned amid conflicts with Mayor Joe Meyer, who was elected last fall and said he entered office hoping to take control and move the city forward.

Meyer said that Klein was not on board with what the electorate wanted.

"The city has had a reputation of being difficult to work with," said Meyer. "I'm a challenger and I ran on a platform of change. I ran against an incumbent whose motto was, 'Stay the course.'"

Klein was positive about the city in an email sent Tuesday night. Covington's current city staff and residents "are responsible for the unprecedented process and economic growth of the past two years and the city's strongest financial position in decades," he wrote.

Although formal action by the commission did not take place until the end of the one-hour session, Klein's name plaque was conspicuously missing when the regular meeting started. His seat was empty.

"So much for Larry," whispered one audience member.

At least one speaker noted Klein's absence and said he was sure what had happened was "improper.”

The mayor gave an opportunity for commissioners to speak about Klein, and Commissioner Bill Wells appeared to choke up.

"I can sit here and talk for hours about some of the things Larry's done," Wells said. "Because of Larry's hard work and dedication, Covington is a much different place."

Wells listed projects such as Covington Hotel, 510 Main, the Mutual Building, Randolph Park and Goebel Park, noting the city was adding attractions instead of taking them away.

As interim, Lauren VanDyke Wolff will be paid $11,000 per month. Meyers said the search for a replacement might take three or four months.

Wolff also is the vice chair of the board of directors for The Center for Great Neighborhoods. She previously served as a special assistant to the mayor of Indianapolis.

"The commission and I look forward to bringing fresh leadership and more collaboration to city government," Wolff said.

As for Meyer's last comments on Klein?

"He gave it his very best. We wish him well."