Floyd County GOP censure effort seen as political retaliation
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Republicans are deciding whether to censure two of their own on the Floyd County Council behind closed doors Wednesday night.
The members are accused of violating party rules by voting for a democrat to serve as vice president of the body earlier this year.
Back in January, Republicans Jim Freiberger and Denise Konkle voted for a democrat to serve as vice president of the Floyd County Council.
That’s not unheard of, another republican voted for a democrat to be in leadership on the council in 2021.
Both Freiberger and Konkle feel this censure attempt is for a vote they took for ambulances that night.
One of the newest ambulance at the Lafayette Township Fire Department was paid for with CARES act money given to it by a fractured Floyd County Council in January.
“I can’t justify giving a half a million dollar gift to part of the County,” Council Member Connie Moon said at the time.
“One taxing unit giving another taxing unit funds, opens Pandora’s Box,” Council Member Danny Short said.
The Council approved giving the fire department $500,000 dollars by a 4-3 vote. That’s a flip from the same vote on the same issue last March. What was different this time? Council Member Jim Freiberger had replaced another member.
“The response times out in our rural districts are not great,” Freiberger said.
He campaigned on improving emergency ambulance service in rural Floyd County. These new ambulances will respond to 911 calls, but will rarely take people to the hospital.
That’s because Floyd County contracts with New Chapel EMS for that service. Freiberger said his ambulance vote is seen as a threat to New Chapel’s existing contract which is up for renewal in May.
“The concerns they may have with the EMS service things moving foward,” Freiberger said.
Floyd County Council President Denise Konkle believes the same.
“I think there’s some other motive for this,” Konkle said.
New Chapel’s ambulance contract has been debated for months.
A now dissolved board recommended the county go in two different directions for ambulance service before considering renegotiating with New Chapel.
New Chapel is run by Jamey Noel, who is also the chairman of Indiana’s 9th District Republican Party Committee.
That’s the committee that will be hearing Konkle and Freiberger’s censure Wednesday.
“He’s a vendor getting money from our county, and also in a role that he can manipulate people to do what he wants to be done,” said Konkle.
“I think he should be recusing himself from any kind of vote sanctioning myself or Denise,” Freiberger said.
WAVE reached out to Noel to ask if he’ll recuse.
He did not respond, neither did Floyd County Republican Chair Heather Peters.
The Committee decided to censure Konkle. She will no longer be considered a Republican in good standing for the next five years, and she won’t be allowed to run as a Republican during that time.
The Committee also decided to reprimanded Frieberger.
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