Shanklin fallout continues as Metro Council Democrats oust James - News, Weather & Sports

Shanklin fallout continues as Metro Council Democrats oust James

David James David James
Vicki Aubrey Welch Vicki Aubrey Welch
Barbara Shanklin Barbara Shanklin
Kelly Downard Kelly Downard

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Louisville Metro Council's Democratic members voted to oust one of their leaders Monday, a move some said was continued fallout from last summer's decision to allow a controversial member to keep her job.

Democrats voted 9-7 for Vicki Aubrey Welch to replace David James as president pro tem, the council's second-ranking position. James voted to keep Barbara Shanklin in office during Shanklin's ethics trial last summer, while Welch voted to remove her.

The decision leaves the council with no black leaders for the first time since the 2003 merger, James said.

"When people look to the council for people who look like them, in the leadership, they won't see that," he said.

Majority Democrats united with Republicans to re-elect Jim King to his fourth straight year as the council's president. Kevin Kramer will lead the Republican caucus in 2014.

But the Democrats' vote came only after discussion about the turmoil that Shanklin's trial created. Welch did not say the Shanklin matter influenced her decision to oppose James, only that it was a good time to run.

"We had a rough summer and things sort of halted a little bit because of that, and the end of the year wasn't quite as strong as the beginning of the year," Welch said. "But I thought he (James) did an OK job with his leadership."

Kelly Downard, a Republican, said James had no one to blame but himself for his ouster.

"They're the only ones who ever talk about it (the Shanklin trial)," he said. "It is the excuse that's pulled out every time something doesn't happen the way they want it."

Shanklin spoke during the Democratic caucus meeting, saying she wanted to move on from last year's trial.

"It's been a really rough year, and everyone here knows it," she said. "I would like to see us move forward without the name calling."

Shanklin and council members Attica Scott, Mary Woolridge, David Tandy, Cheri Bryant Hamilton and Brent Ackerson voted to retain James. James also voted to retain himself.

Shanklin was the only member present who chose to abstain from the vote over whether to keep King as president.

King cited his positive relationship with Mayor Greg Fischer, delivering fiscally responsible budgets, and reopening the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park as accomplishments in the past year.

He was one of those who voted against James, saying the party needed new leadership.

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