FROM: Sylvia L. Lovely
DATE: August 25, 2009
To My Friends:
First of all, I get emotional over important events in my life. I have even been known to laugh at funerals and cry at weddings. Or, at the first coo of my grandson. I say this because I do not intend to cry this afternoon because I don't want to become known as the Britney Spears of central Kentucky and have that be the news ... or to embarrass me or you.
The fact is I have an important announcement to make and that is the news. I will be leaving KLC as Executive Director effective January 1, 2010 to pursue other opportunities - which is exciting to me. Though this is not an occasion for sadness, trust me I will get emotional about it. You don't spend 22 years having the best job on earth without tears - you can bet on that!
After much prayer and consultation with those in whom I have great trust and respect, I have decided that the very best way to make my organization whole again is for me to move on after finishing some important work. Mine is a position where what's most important is leadership and therefore what is best for my beloved KLC, staff and members. And, this is it.
I wish more than anything to accept responsibility for the loss of credibility that KLC has suffered. I have worked for this organization since 1988 when I was hired as a staff attorney to shepherd through federal legislation that allowed KLC to get into the bond business, a business that has flourished and saved millions of dollars for cities since it began. From there, we built an insurance business to rescue cities that could not get insurance at any price. Just last year, we posted a profit of three million dollars that will go to the benefit of our cities. There are many other services that have been developed over the years.
It is clear that KLC is a highly successful entity. While I followed the rules I was given and received and the traditions of my type of organization, I do not wish to use that as an excuse. There is more we needed and need to do. We missed the cues - especially that the world has changed - and we were slow to change with it. Transparency and accountability are perhaps the most important currency of our day and age. We are in the process of catching up and you will hear more about this in the coming days and months. I hope there is pride in what I believe to be an even brighter future for KLC. I do believe that there is further discussion to be had about whom and what we are as an organization in order to better provide accountability. I look forward as one of my future endeavors to continue speaking and writing about my experience with cities and communities to help others understand it better.
I do want to say that I work for incredible people who step up to the plate to serve their cities, and that is you, the membership. It also includes hard working board members. You and they serve as "near" volunteers in your communities. You come to us as volunteers twice and sometimes three times over. Yet, you step up again and again. I am humbled and awed by your shining light. Even now, I can tell you that board members have stepped up for KLC and have devoted countless hours to making KLC the organization we all want it to be.
I wish to thank the Kentucky General Assembly. KLC will be appearing before the Interim Joint Committee on Local Government tomorrow morning. Like you, the members of the General Assembly are unsung heroes working hard to make the Commonwealth a better place. And, at no other time has their work been more challenging. They do not need to be worrying about KLC and what it is doing. The cities who are their constituents need our legislators more than ever and I do not want to stand in the way of those important relationships.
I have an incredible staff consisting of a variety of dedicated and highly competent professionals. Again, I pinch myself when I consider the charmed life I have been privileged to enjoy as I live and work among such incredible people. They will continue to provide you the top notch services you need and deserve.
I sincerely believe it when I have said in news articles and other venues that I believe in a strong and vigilant press. In fact, I have always harbored a secret ambition by introducing myself often as a lawyer by training, a CEO by profession and a media mogul "dot dot dot" in my dreams. You and your fellow reporters are the foundation of our great ... yet messy democracy.
I have many options to consider as I move forward. I will continue my work and my cause - the development of community - in some way. I am committed to resetting and refocusing my goals and believe God will lead me to the right path.
It was eight years ago that I sat by my mother's bedside as she lay dying of cervical cancer with my father on one side of the bed and me on the other.
The writer Harold Kushner says we die unhappy because we feel insignificant or that we didn't make a difference. My mother felt that way. So it wasn't until I turned fifty that I began to hear my father tell his stories for the first time as my mother drifted in and out of consciousness. I heard how he and my mother, my brother and I had to leave their beloved eastern Kentucky - my parents were poor, the very definition of hillbillies with barely shoes on their feet and no education or opportunity. My father was able to get work in the gleaming factories of the north and earn a good living when you still could with an eighth grade education. My mother felt uprooted all her life and divorced from the nurturing community she had to leave.
As sometimes marriage vows are repeated, so I repeat my vows made twenty two years ago and then again eight years ago to be part of making a greater Kentucky.
I vowed then that I would be part of making Kentucky a better place that didn't have to send away its best and brightest. I made that vow at that momentous time in my life. I make it again today.