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Amendment to city’s human rights ordinance has first reading

By: Laura Ray

MURRAY – Mayor Bob Rogers called the Murray City Council meeting to order on Thursday, Dec. 14, at 6:30 pm at City Hall. The mayor welcomed guests, including several community members who were in attendance for the first reading of the amendment to the Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) code of ordinances. 

Council member and Murray-Calloway County Parks and Recreation Board Chair Johnny Bohannon reported that the board met in an executive session prior to the council meeting, in which it determined to recommend employing Mike Sykes as park director. Sykes was officially offered and accepted the position in open session, according to City Manager Jim Osborne.

Sykes began his career with the local parks system as a lifeguard in 1977 and has served as its Aquatics Director according to the Murray-Calloway County Parks and Recreation website. Sykes has also served as interim director since October 2023.

In other news, the council is adopting a new meeting time next month. Starting Jan. 11, the meetings will begin at 6 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m.

A second reading of Ordinance 2023-1856, an amendment to clarify the role of Murray Natural Gas System, passed unanimously in a roll call vote.

A second reading of Ordinance 2023-1857 also passed unanimously in a roll call vote. This is an amendment to Ordinance 2022-1826, which adopted the city’s annual budget for fiscal year 2023, “by restating certain revenues and expenditures for the City of Murray Operations Budget,” according to the meeting agenda. 

A second reading of Ordinance 2023-1858 to amend the hours of packaged alcoholic beverages sales and deliveries passed in a 6-2 vote. Currently, no Sunday sales of packaged liquor are allowed; however, this ordinance would permit Sunday sales on federal holidays as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Council members Jeremy Bell and Danny Hudspeth voted no, while Bohannon, Wesley Bolin, Bonnie Higginson, Rose Ross, Alice Rouse and Terry Strieter voted to approve. 

The council unanimously approved the second readings of Ordinances 2023-1859 and 2023-1860, which have to do with zoning and annexing acreage on Industrial Road which is currently owned by Robert Swift. 

The council also voted to close an undeveloped street that is located within private property. Bell abstained from the vote as he stated that a family member was involved.

The council heard the first reading of a proposed revision to the Murray Human Rights Commission’s Ordinance. Rogers explained that the HRC had sent their proposed Ordinance to him for review and he and the city attorney made changes. Rogers also stated that, while the commission had not formally voted to send the ordinance to the city council, it was informally decided to do so. The ordinance would amend several sections of the current code and make some additions as well.

The proposed revisions clarify the purpose of Murray’s HRC: “to implement a policy to protect all individuals within the City from discrimination in certain contexts in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age (over the age of 40 years), disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or familial status.” 

They also provide a process for filing and reviewing discrimination complaints, with an emphasis on mediation as a form of resolution. However, if no conciliation agreement can be achieved, “the complainant will be informed of his right to: (1) independently file his/her complaint with the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights; and/or (2) independently file his/her complaint with a court of competent jurisdiction.” Herein lies a problem as there are no protections at the state level for discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in the area of public accommodations. 

Notably, Rogers asked if there were any questions about each of the rest of the ordinances on the agenda, but he did not open this one up for discussion. A second reading is scheduled for the council’s Jan. 11 meeting. 

A resolution awarding a non-exclusive franchise to Mediacom was unanimously approved, so residents will have more cable choices in addition to Murray Electric and Spectrum. Resolution 017 of the City of Murray, Kentucky supporting the establishment of a School of Veterinary Medicine at Murray State University was also unanimously approved.

Finally, Municipal Order 2023-045 was approved to appoint Leslie Pologruto to replace Kate Reeves on the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau. Shortly after, Bell moved to adjourn.

Sentinel Staff

Jessica Paine
I’m Jessica Paine, founder of The Murray Sentinel. You may know me from my time as a citizen journalist, running the Calloway Covid-19 Count page on Facebook, or you may be familiar with my more recent work for another local news outlet. Being that I’m “from here,” you may have known me since I was “knee-high to a grasshopper,” although you knew me as Jessica Jones. But whether you know me or not, I’m glad you found your way here.


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