Abramson prepares to leave office - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Abramson prepares to leave office


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB TV Fox 41)--The longest serving mayor in Louisville history is about to leave office. Mayor Jerry Abramson has just 12 days left as mayor.

The so called "mayor for life" has been packing items from his office in Metro Hall and getting ready to make way for Mayor-elect Greg Fischer.

"If you walk into my office you will find nothing on the walls," says Abramson, showing bare walls with just the hooks left.

The out-going mayor says in addition to packing, he will spend much of his last 12 days in office meeting with Mayor-elect Fischer and his staff trying to make sure the transition goes smoothly. "Questions are constantly coming up meeting with members of the transition team," says Abramson, "we want to make sure there is a seamless passing of the torch."

One topic that will be left to the mayor is whether the city should get involved with attracting an NBA team to the city. "You know I am not in the loop as a result of not being contacted by Mr. Miller," says the mayor referring to attorney Bruce Miller who is leading the effort to get a team to come to Louisville.

After 21 years in office, the mayor admits its a little tough to say goodbye to the job he has held for a record 21 years. "Although it's the right thing to do at this point and take on a new challenge, there is still a little melancholy," he says.

Looking back, the mayor believes his greatest accomplishments in terms of brick and mortar are the expansion of the airport, building Waterfront Park, and finally get a new arena built downtown.

But he hopes people will remember him for his eternal optimism. He says, "The legacy I leave is that we can compete with any city; we can be successful against any difficult situation and we can accomplish any goal that we set our mind to."

Abramson says the last few years, with the worst nationwide recession in a generation, have been the toughest of his 21 years. "People don't run for public office to say no or to layoff people, so these past two years have been difficult in that regard."

The mayor admits mistakes were made in the city's Housing Department which eventually led to the director of that agency facing criminal charges for misusing funds. "Obliviously I made a mistake in terms of the selection I made for the director of housing," he says.

And with the forecast for snow this holiday weekend, it appears the mayor will have at least one more snowstorm to deal with before he leaves office January 3rd. Laughing he says, "I won't miss those at all, we are doing a little brining as we speak here on Wednesday."

The mayor says he still has a couple of news conferences planned during the next 12 days. After he leaves office he'll begin teaching two classes at Bellarmine University and of course be out on the campaign trail running for lieutenant governor on the ticket with Governor Steve Beshear.

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