Friday, March 17, 2000

Luken's new job: consultant

Mayor helping other cities on economic development

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken is committing himself to economic development — in other cities. For two weeks, Mr. Luken has been working as a part-time consultant, doing the same work in other parts of the country that he does here as his elected duty.

        “Is it the same job? No. The same subject? Yes,” he said Thursday. “The difference is that I am not directing anything. I am working with a team to assist cities to move for ward.”

        As a senior consultant with KMK Consulting Co. of Cincinnati, Mr. Luken said, he will be able to enhance his understanding of municipal issues and maybe even bring back some good ideas.

        “I've learned in the first few weeks about revitalization in some inner-city neighborhoods,” he said, explaining that his first job has been in Charlotte, N.C., where officials are developing a charter outlining future growth.

        Mr. Luken said the work does not present a conflict of interest, adding that he will be helping other cities to get organized rather than scoping out specific companies and industries that might want to relocate.

        “I recognize what my oath of office is,” he said. “I will avoid any conflicts like the plague, the way I always have.”

        Mr. Luken said recent Cincinnati mayors — who are paid as part-timers — have held other jobs while in office. While not giving a specific amount, he said his consulting job pays “the same range” as mayor, which is $53,000 annually.

        “I don't see any red flags being raised,” he said.

        Economic development is one of four areas of focus for KMK Consulting, which was created in 1998 as a subsidiary of Keating, Muething & Klekamp, a Cincinnati law firm.

        “The law firm made the decision to expand the things we can do for our clients,” said James McGraw Jr., managing director of KMK Consulting. “It is separate. We tell our clients you don't need to use our (law) firm at all.”

        The consulting company also specializes in capital formation and debt management, helping

        to set up Internet companies and real estate planning by structuring investment deals and negotiating purchases.

        Mr. McGraw said the mayor's work will be strictly in economic development, where the firm is hired by municipalities or civic organizations such as the chamber of commerce to help plan growth and ways to revitalize communities.

        “He is a tremendous talent,” he said. “He has terrific leadership skills and is a consensus builder. He also is experienced in public-private partnerships.”

        The consulting work will also give Mr. Luken a chance to see how economic development works in other parts of the country, Mr. McGraw said.

        “It will be a neat opportunity for him to brag about Cincinnati a little bit,” he said. “He is a good fit for us.”

        Councilman Pat DeWine, a lawyer who works for the KMK law firm, said Mr. Luken will be a good consultant and doesn't see the new job as a conflict.

        “Mostly he will be doing stuff out of town,” he said. “I certainly think it is exciting.”


Students save boy from attacker
Census adds choices for race data
Count is off to strong start, official says
Counting on a feast for the census
- Luken's new job: consultant
Aronoff avoids trial on DUI
Creek rescue follows crash
Delay of city inquiry defended
Meat-eaters day in Covington
Schools try online auctions
Police setting up Internet sharing
Web site rates HMO coverage, performance
White teens admit to racist flier
Ceremony salutes Enquirer's 'Women of the Year'
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Strong family supports lawyer through tough case
Abortion procedure would become felony
Courts look at mental illness
Expert praises schools council
Kenton Co. lake targeted for cleanup
Killer gets life, and earful from a family
Ludlow water bills are in the mail
Millionaires post billboard bride want-ad
N.Ky. chamber bash leads spending list
Probe of 1963 killing almost over
Senate hurrying on budget
Sparks fly over MRDD questions
Tournament gets name back
Vintage piano is grand addition
When 'Cats are away, the lawmakers play