LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department

Metro councilwoman fires controversial grandson


Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has been under fire for keeping her grandson on her City Hall payroll despite numerous criminal charges.

After first suspending her grandson, on Tuesday she fired him. WDRB was the only TV station there when Shanklin made her unexpected announcement.

Shanklin denies any intentional wrongdoing , but says she was taken advantage of by her own grandson.

Shanklin has been under intense scrutiny since it came to light that she has kept her grandson on her City Hall payroll since 2003, despite his lengthy criminal record. Gary Bohler has faced more than 30 drug, weapons, and robbery charges since 2005, but he kept his part-time job on Shanklin's staff -- until now.

In a hastily called news conference, Shanklin made the announcement: "I have not suspended my grandson but terminated him from his position."

Flanked by her two sons, an emotional Shanklin admitted a mistake in judgment but says Bohler took advantage of her efforts to help him. "I have been in the dark about a lot of things that have come to light. But, excuse me, I want you to know that I have raised all my children to be accountable, and sometimes family can disappoint you."

Shanklin denies she did anything unethical. "I try my best to be ethical. I did everything I could to do the right thing before all of this happened. It was nothing hidden at all. I never hid the fact that it was a grandson. It was told from day one."

But the Republican co-chair of the council's Ethics Committee says he will explore strengthening council rules regarding nepotism. "It certainly will be discussed," says Metro Councilman Jerry Miller. "Whether it results in amendment to that ordinance, I can't say at this point. We really want to see what are the facts."

"Young people sometimes take advantage of situations, whether it's a grandchild or whatever," said Shanklin. "That's all I have to say."

Bohler is currently on probation for a 2006 drug conviction. Under the current ethics ordinance, council members can hire family as long as they do not directly supervise them. Shanklin's grandson was hired before that ordinance was passed in 2010.