Editor's Note: This article was edited at 7:42 p.m. on June 7 to include information on the final amended draft for Monday's Frankfort City Commission meeting.
A discussion of city ordinances and the Frankfort Police Department’s policies in light of recent anti-police brutality and racism protests was removed from the agenda for Monday's city commission meeting.
On Saturday, Frankfort Mayor Bill May said a miscommunication led to the removal of the agenda item and he planned to have it added back in time for Monday's meeting.
May added the item back to the agenda Sunday afternoon.
Last week, Commissioner Katrisha Waldridge asked city staff to add the discussion item to the agenda.
How would you describe the state of race relations in Frankfort and Franklin County?
“It was going to be a police discussion in regards to what is going on in Louisville and what’s going on in Lexington and what our police are doing to avoid those issues,” Waldridge said, referencing the deaths of George Floyd, of Minneapolis, and Breonna Taylor, of Louisville, who both died at the hands of police.
Floyd and Taylor’s deaths have sparked protests worldwide, including in Lexington, Louisville and Frankfort. The goals of the protests are to raise awareness about police brutality and racism and to demand justice for Floyd and Taylor’s deaths.
Waldridge said the Frankfort Police Department already participates in bias training, among other things.
“We have that going on and our community needs to know that,” Waldridge said.
Initially, city staff honored Waldridge’s request and put the discussion item on the agenda, but it was later removed and an amended agenda was published.
May told The State Journal on Saturday that he never asked city staff to remove the agenda item, but he was initially confused about why it was on there since he did not receive a copy of Waldridge’s request.
Since the city is under a state of emergency due to COVID-19, meeting agendas are set by the mayor. Waldridge confirmed that she did not include May in her email to city staff.
May said he was surprised when city staff sent out another agenda, because he did not direct them to remove the police discussion item. May also said he does not blame city staff for removing the item from the agenda and it was a “misunderstanding.”
Waldridge told The State Journal on Saturday that she feels disrespected by the mayor.
“I’ve had enough,” Waldridge said. “He has looked over me as city commissioner. He has looked over me as mayor pro tem. I have not been able to get anything on the agenda for the last few months because of him. He never calls me to get my opinion or thoughts on anything. He calls the men.”
Waldridge is the only female member of the five-person commission.
In response, May said he has no idea why she would think that.
“I put an agenda item just for her to explain her vote,” May said, referencing the last city commission meeting when Waldridge explained how she would’ve voted differently on moving forward with a conservation easement for Leslie Morris Park at Fort Hill if she had a better understanding of what she was voting for.
May said he respects every member of the city commission and believes in giving them every opportunity to express their opinions.
“I will make sure every voice is heard,” May said. “... Anybody who says other than that, that’s just not true.”
In the second amended agenda sent out Sunday, it includes the discussion item on police policies and two other items regarding a conference call he participated in with other mayors across the country about policing and an agreement with Frankfort Independent Schools.
The organizers of the Friday's Black Lives Matter march will also be recognized.
The Frankfort City Commission will meet via video conference at 5 p.m. Monday for a work session. The meeting can be viewed by the public on Cable 10 and on the City Hall Facebook page facebook.com/CityofFrankfortKY.
Those who wish to make a public comment on a specific agenda item must submit that comment in writing by 4 p.m. Monday to email@example.com
Public attendance of the meeting is not permitted due to social distancing guidelines in place to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.