Mayor: Growing need for workers may be ‘silver lining’ of the AG shutdown cloud

Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton told the Bardstown CIty Council that the area’s strong need for quality workers means those displaced by the closure of the American Greetings plant in February 2019 will have an opportunity to find a local good-paying job.


Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, March 6, 2018 — Bardstown Mayor Dick Heaton told the Bardstown City Council Tuesday night that American Greetings’ announcement of its plans to close its Bardstown plant may still have “a silver lining” for those employees who will lose their jobs.

That “silver lining” includes the fact local employers are still seeking qualified, experienced employees, and that more new jobs are being created in the community.

Councilman Roland Williams, left, speaks to Mayor Dick Heaton prior to the start of Tuesday’s council meeting.

“Many of our existing employers are seeking new employees,” he explained. Some of the American Greetings employees who would have been affected by layoffs announced earlier this year have left the company and taken new jobs.

In the next year, there will hundreds of new jobs available, Heaton told the council. “I think a lot of the displaced workers will be able to find jobs here in Nelson County and they won’t have to leave the county to find a good-paying job,” he said.

“Right now its a dark day for Bardstown and Nelson County, but in the coming months, I think there will be a lot of companies who will be grateful we have this workforce available.”

Tuesday’s announcement stated the Bardstown facility will close by February 2019. Heaton said the decision to close the facility was a company decision made prior to the Feb. 13, 2018, announcement that New York-based private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice will buy a 60 percent stake in the family owned Ohio-based American Greetings.

The announcement was limited to the closure of the Bardstown plant; there was no word on other American Greetings facilities that are slated for cut-backs or closure.

The decision to close was based on the loss by the company of a major contract, which meant the loss of a large portion of the work the Bardstown plant was doing, Heaton said. The company decided it could move the remaining manufacturing to other American Greetings facilities.

In other business, the council:

— emerged from executive session and voted to authorize the mayor to negotiate the purchase of real estate “for a public purpose.”

Assistant Police Chief Kevin Thompson told the council the changes in the city’s classification and compensation plan are intended to help the police department become an accredited one.

In the past, city officials have expressed the need to have larger facilities for the city police and fire departments, possibly sharing one emergency services building.

Heaton did not offer specifics on the public purpose and refused to address reporters’ speculations about the possible use of the purchased land.

— approved final reading of changes to the city’s drainage control ordinance. The changes include an update to the fee schedule to account for the necessary inspections required, and changes to require that bond amounts cover the actual costs of the proposed improvements. The bonds are fully refundable once construction is completed.

— approved final reading of updates to the city’s solid waste ordinance.

— approved bids totalling $192,921 from vendors to supply the city with electrical transformers in a variety of sizes need in various applications in the city’s electrical grid.

— approved first reading an update to the city’s classification and compensation plan to eliminate the position of crime scene technician (part time) and create a second administrative assistant / property room technician (part-time) position in the Bardstown Police Department.

Assistant Bardstown Police Chief Kevin Thompson told the council the changes are necessary in order to help the department achieve accreditation.

Accreditation shows that a law enforcement agency has proven it has processes and procedures in place to demonstrate its ability to provide a professional level of service to its community.

— approved re-appointing Guthrie McKay to a three-year term on the city’s Cable TV Programming committee.

— approved re-appointing Clara Mackin Fulkerson to a one-year term on the Wickland board.


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