Correction: This article was corrected at 9:51 a.m. on Feb. 11 to fix the name of Roeding's Vice President David Livingston.
In a 4-1 vote, the Frankfort City Commission decided Monday to reinstate its decades long relationship with insurance broker Chenault and Hoge.
In October, city staff decided to end a 54-year long relationship with the Frankfort agency and started doing business with Lexington-based Roeding Insurance.
After Chenault and Hoge Agent and Partner Susan Coblin spoke at the Frankfort City Commission meeting on Oct. 14, commissioners asked for a 90-day review examining the differences between the two companies.
At the Jan. 27 regular meeting of the city commission, both companies pleaded their case.
Ultimately, city commissioners voted to delay the vote so they could submit questions about the two companies to City Solicitor Laura Ross.
On Monday, Ross said she received 70 questions from commissioners but was able to narrow them down to 55. The answers to all 55 questions were printed out and placed in a binder for commissioners to review.
Only a few details of what was in the binder were discussed during Monday's meeting. Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge, who cast the lone vote against the change in agencies, shared some of those details and asked city staff to prepare her binder for public viewing.
Commissioner John Sower made the motion for Chenault and Hoge become the city’s agent of record effective this week and continuing through Oct. 20, 2021.
Commissioner Scott Tippett seconded the motion.
During discussion, Waldridge said after seeing all of the information, she didn’t see a major difference between the two companies.
“However, one thing that outweighed one over the other … that I would like to share was the most important question of all and that’s how my staff works with either company,” Waldridge said. “There were huge differences in those and that’s what means the most to me.”
Waldridge recognized that both companies were friendly to work with and responded to city staff in a timely manner.
“I’m gonna have to stand with my staff and say that the city manager’s position in hiring someone new was the best decision for our city,” Waldridge said.
Waldridge said that Roeding has not done anything wrong and that the purpose of the 90-day review was to see if Roeding was doing well for the city.
Waldridge added that the anonymous comments she requested from city staff confirmed that Roeding was the best choice.
In one of the comments, read by Waldridge, the staff member said Roeding is more prepared and offers more services to city staff, such as reviewing contracts and safety walkthroughs.
Waldridge said she likes both companies and has no issues with either of them, but it comes down to integrity.
Commissioner Eric Whisman responded by saying Waldridge’s comments were a mischaracterization of most of the comments.
“There was one glowing review, but there were many that had accolades of either,” Whisman said.
After the meeting, Coblin said it was difficult to hear some of the opinions city staff had about her company.
Coblin added the decision will take some time to sink in and it was hard to be overjoyed after hearing some of those opinions.
Roeding Account Executive David Brooks said he and the rest of the Roeding team enjoyed working with the city.
Vice President David Livingston agreed and said the company has to respect the city commission’s decision.
Notably missing from a first read of budget amendments was $1 million for the Franklin County Humane Society’s construction of a new animal shelter.
City Manager Keith Parker said the budget amendment will be voted on soon once an agreement with the humane society is finalized.