Light Up Louisville head resigns after 6 months - News, Weather & Sports

Light Up Louisville head resigns after 6 months

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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A shakeup in Louisville Metro Government could impact the way the city celebrates the holidays. The man behind the changes to Light up Louisville has abruptly resigned after just six months on the job.

Light Up Louisville didn't exactly light up the faces of Jodie Seddon and her 9-year-old son Dillon this year.

"We just thought there would be more to make the trip worthwhile," Seddon said.

They drove in from Taylorsville five days before the event was scheduled to end to go skating at the "virtual ice" rink the city set up. It used a plastic surface to recreate real skating. But the rink had already been torn down without any mention on the Louisville Metro Parks website, leaving Jodie and Dillon literally out in the cold with nothing to do.

Mayor Greg Fischer conceded reviews of the revamped Light up Louisville were mixed.

Dubbed "40 Nights of Lights," the city's holiday celebration was shifted from Jefferson Square to 4th Street Live! by Louisville Metro's new Special Events Director Joseph MacDonald. He was appointed to the $70,000 a year position in late June on the recommendation of Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz, despite MacDonald having no special events experience, according to a copy of his resume.

"Special events is about general management and organizing things," Mayor Fischer said, "and he had a career in doing that."

Mayor Fischer wouldn't have known if there was anyone more qualified for the job because MacDonald's position was one of 177 highly-paid Metro Government leadership positions filled with direct appointments and without an open hiring process.

Some, like Seddon, said MacDonald's lack of special events experience showed

"The concept was good," Seddon said, adding the execution was "disappointing."

MacDonald isn't sticking around to find out what he could do better. Internal letters reveal he abruptly resigned after just six months on the job. He didn't even make it through the "40 Nights of Lights." His last day was December 31, before the New Year's ball even dropped.

Mayor Fischer denied the suggestion that there is more to MacDonald's departure than meets the eye.

"He came in here to do a job, and he helped us get it straightened out, and he went back to being a consultant full time," Fischer said.

Mayor Fischer wouldn't give any explanation for MacDonald's resignation other than to say it was not tied to the reaction to the changes to Light Up Louisville. Fischer added that many families said they like the new location, which has boosted business for restaurants, another intended effect.

Mayor Fischer said the city is studying ways to address complaints.

McDonald did not respond to a request for an interview left on his Facebook page, and a Metro Parks employee said MacDonald had already cleared out his office when a reporter attempted to reach him the morning of what was supposed to be his last day of work.

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