Familiar faces to run Neighborhood Services

Covington’s Neighborhood Services Department is led by Director Brandon Holmes, left, and Deputy Director Keith Bales.

Holmes promoted to director; Bales returns to City Hall

OVINGTON, Ky. – The department at the City of Covington that oversees everything from trash collection to parks to housing vouchers and more has new leadership.

They’re both familiar faces.

Brandon Holmes, the former deputy director of Neighborhood Services, was elevated to director by the Covington Board of Commissioners recently to replace Ken Smith, who was promoted to city manager on Sept. 7.

Smith said the City received almost 70 applications and interviewed six candidates for the director’s position.

At the same meeting, Keith Bales – the former head of Covington’s Code Enforcement division and founder of the immensely popular Moonrise Doughnuts – was hired to replace Holmes as deputy.

“Neighborhood Services will be in good hands,” Smith said. “Brandon has done a tremendous job in his short time, and Keith will join him with a wealth of experience, institutional knowledge of the City, and relationships. I look forward to working with them to continue Covington’s momentum.”

Neighborhood Services includes five divisions dedicated to improving the physical appearance of Covington’s neighborhoods and protecting and enhancing the quality of life of its residents and visitors:

  • Solid Waste and Recycling.
  • Parks & Recreation.
  • Code Enforcement (whose inspectors protect residents from property hazards).
  • Federal grants/housing assistance.
  • Housing Choice Voucher program.

It also includes the Read Ready Covington early childhood literacy program.

Brandon Holmes

Holmes came to the City on Aug. 16, most recently from the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission, to fill what was then a newly created position.

A link to an article about his hire can be found HERE.

“Neighborhood Services plays a vital role in the city, and I’m lucky to step into a role surrounded by a team of top-notch dedicated professionals who always go above and beyond to make sure their divisions are delivering to our residents, visitors, and business community,” Holmes said.

In concert with the various division managers, Holmes said he’s steadily developing priorities and plans for the department’s various divisions, although that’s a work in progress.

“Blight reduction, supporting and facilitating the creation of more workforce housing, and tackling the problems that abandoned blighted properties bring to the city will surely be areas of focus,” he said.

Holmes said he expects to use Bales in a number of roles and believes he “will be an asset from day one” because of his local government and managerial experience as well as his civic and business ties.

Keith Bales

Bales, who lives in Latonia, is well-known in the region for a resume that includes a variety of public and private sector jobs.

He served on several City boards, ran Covington’s Code Enforcement Division in 2006-2012, and has over a decade of experience working at various levels for the Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice, including almost five years as head of the regional juvenile justice detention center in Campbell County and four years partnering with the $4 billion non-profit Annie E. Casey Foundation on judicial reform.

Bales also has run several small businesses, including Tag Team Services, which picked up litter and removed graffiti in Covington’s urban core, among other places, and Moonrise Doughnuts, an award-winning Latonia doughnut shop known for its evening hours. After starting Moonrise in 2017, he expanded to a second location before selling the shop earlier this year.

Bales has a Master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology.

He starts at the City on Nov. 8.

“My family’s history dates back to the 1920s in Covington -- I just can’t seem to get it out of my blood,” Bales said. “I love this town and want to be a part of the great things going on here.”

Bales said he looks forward to helping Holmes in a support role and working to help the City address residents’ concerns.

“My heart is in working in the field, meeting with citizens and organizations on the street level,” he said. “I have a tremendous commitment to customer service – I believe a key role of government is to problem-solve. I’m excited to get started.”

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