Bentley Becomes Board of Aldermen President

(LOUISVILLE, January 9th, 2002, 11 a.m.) -- Alderwoman Denise Bentley is the first black woman to become president of the Louisville Board of Alderwoman. She's also likely to be the last person to wield the board's gavel before next year's city-county government merger.

Eighth Ward Alderman Greg Handy abstained in Tuesday night's voting as Bentley obtained 10 of 11 votes in her favor. After the meeting, he said he chose not to vote because Bentley had not personally asked him for his support.

The late W.J. Hodge became the first black man elected aldermanic president in 1978. The first woman president was Melissa Mershon, who held the post from January 1990 to January 1993.

First elected to the board in 1996, Bentley is in her third two-year term.