NKY Elected Officials Ask OKI Leadership to Review Political Involvement
Covington, KY— Today, Northern Kentucky United sent a letter to leadership of the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI) requesting they “review Mr. Policinski’s involvement with Build Our New Bridge Now and further limit Mr. Policinski’s public participation to a role in which he can appropriately represent all of the constituencies served by OKI.”
The letter, signed by eleven elected officials in NKY, describes Mr. Policinski’s Op-ed as “unbefitting of the station of OKI.” The letter states that Mr. Policinski politicized OKI, over-stepped the bounds of his position as head of OKI, and inappropriately questioned the decisions of Governor Bevin.
Below is the full text of the letter:
August 18, 2016
OKI Regional Council of Governments
President Kevin Lynch
First Vice President T.C. Rogers
Second Vice President Kris Knochelmann
720 E. Pete Rose Way, Suite 420
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Dear President Lynch and Vice Presidents Rogers and Knochelmann:
We are writing to you today on behalf of the membership of Northern Kentucky United regarding Mark Policinski’s opinion piece published in the Cincinnati Enquirer on August 8, 2016. Mr.Policinski directly challenged Governor Bevin’s plans and timeline to study the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor and possible alternatives.
In July, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet released a Request for Proposals for the study of the corridor and possible solutions. Governor Bevin and his transportation cabinet established a clear timeline and plan for reviewing the congestion challenges in the region and assessing the possible solutions that will most benefit Northern Kentucky and the region.
The purpose of the study is quite clear, as is the timeline for completion. The final report is due September 2017. The objective of the study is “to review and verify previous analysis and recommendations to date. Additional potential solutions (not previously studied or not studied in adequate detail) will be explored, including traffic management strategies and the Eastern bypass of greater Cincinnati. Three to four viable alternatives will be studied in greater detail to determine potential benefits, impacts, and cost.”
In response, Mr. Policinski has written a condescending opinion piece lecturing Governor Bevin to proceed “with all deliberate speed, if not quicker,” and admonishing that the Governor will “have to find a way to finance the new bridge that is agreeable to both states.”
Mr. Policinksi’s presumption that a finance plan for the current project is the next step undermines the decision by Governor Bevin to identify the best approach to congestion in Northern Kentucky. It has not yet been determined by Governor Bevin that the current plan for the Brent Spence Bridge is “agreeable” to both states, and Mr. Policinksi has no business lecturing a sitting Governor about how best to serve the public interest or protect taxpayer dollars.
Mr. Policinski’s public comments are unbefitting of the station of OKI. Under what authority does Mr. Policinski author an opinion piece questioning, and undermining, the decisions of the Governor of one of OKI’s member states?
OKI is a quasi-governmental organization whose job is to serve the states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Mr. Policinski’s duties include being an ally and partner to the Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not to treat him has a political opponent or author opinion pieces intended to pressure a Governor who is simply responding to the wishes of his constituents.
As the head of the OKI, Mr. Policinski should not engage in chastising or questioning one of the very governments he is supposed to serve, and he certainly should not be doing it without the full permission and knowledge of the elected officials who comprise the Board of OKI.
This is not the first time Northern Kentucky United has felt obligated to rebuke Mr. Policinski’s attempt to politicize OKI. Our members are concerned that Mr. Policinski’s involvement with the 501 (C)(4) political organization Build Our New Bridge Now is interfering with his ability to fulfill his duty to objectively, and fairly, represent the Kentucky state government and its constituents as head of OKI.
On behalf of Northern Kentucky United and its membership, we respectfully request that you review Mr. Policinski’s involvement with Build Our New Bridge Now and further limit Mr. Policinski’s public participation to a role in which he can appropriately represent all of the constituencies served by OKI.
Kenny Brown, Boone County Clerk
Charlie Coleman, Campbell County Commissioner
Cathy Flaig, Boone County Commissioner
Steve Frank, Covington City Commissioner
Lou Hartfiel, Mayor, Crescent Springs
Tyson Hermes, Mayor, Erlanger
Charles Kenner, Boone County Commissioner
Bryan Miller, Union City Commissioner
Joe Nienaber, Kenton County Commissioner
David Penque, Mayor, Cold Spring
Charlie Walton, Boone County Commissioner