Councilman Dan Johnson's legacy, in the midst of controversy

He has been the center of controversy for the last several months but we're taking a different look at Metro Councilman Dan Johnson.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- He has been the center of controversy for the last several months, but what else is Metro Councilman Dan Johnson known for? According to a new issue of Leo Weekly, his impact runs deep in District 21, and his recent controversy is only his latest chapter.

District 21 is a diverse district- reaching as far North as the Kentucky Exposition Center, stretching down Preston Highway, to the edge of Okolona, surrounding the Louisville international Airport and then wrapping around near the Beechmont neighborhood, finally backing up to Iroquois Park.

As the area has developed, the leadership has stayed the same— Dan Johnson holding the district for decades.

"Some people have always had mixed emotions about him but some people will recall sort of personal service from their elected official that nobody else gets”, Aaron Yarmuth, Executive Editor and Owner of Leo Weekly said.

Featured in this week's Leo Weeky, Johnson's time in office has come with mixed reviews. But as important as the conflict's he's been consumed in, are acts he's remembered for.

The article, written by Michael Jones, who lives in District 21, describes the personalized service Johnson gave his continuants that no one else got.

"He did have a relationship with many of his constituents that was really genuine and authentic,” Johnson said.

Jones elaborates, “If you have a tree in your yard and the public works won’t come out to help, Dan will show up with a chainsaw and do it himself. Did waste disposal miss your garbage can two weeks in a row? Dan will pick it up and dump it for you.”

He said it’s something old residents of the district remember about Johnson. He also said new residents don’t quite understand him.

Yarmuth said the article was about providing context to Johnson and his time in office.

"It would be easy for some on the outside to look and wonder what in the world this guy is doing as an elected official, there a reason,” Yarmuth said.

The cover depicts Johnson looking up at city hall, with his pants down. Johnson was accused of dropping his pants in front of a legislative aid in a parking lot months ago. He said his belt didn't work.

"We thought that this image, this cover really picked up the tone of the overall narrative which is it’s a very strange set of circumstances for the Metro Council to be faced with,” Yarmuth said.

Johnson is a man known for his dedication and service, but is now cloaked in controversy. His fate left in the hands of his fellow councilmen, who are taking the first steps to push him out of office.

"Who knows if it’s the last chapter, it doesn't sound like it is and that's really something that's left unknown,” Yarmuth said.

The Metro Council charging committee announced Thursday they have filed the paperwork to remove Johnson from office. Hours later, Johnson announced he is taking a 90-day leave. It is still unclear how removal proceedings will continue considering the leave.

The charging committee’s next meeting is on Monday. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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