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Two women named interim co-directors of TARC following sexual misconduct allegations against former director

Laura Douglas and Margaret Handmaker will serve in the role while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent TARC director.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mayor Greg Fischer named two women as interim co-executive directors of TARC, the day following the former director's resignation. 

RELATED: TARC executive director resigns amid accusations of sexual misconduct

Laura Douglas and Margaret Handmaker will serve in the role while a nationwide search is conducted for a permanent TARC director. 

Deputy Mayor Ellen Hesen made the announcement following a closed-door executive session Thursday afternoon. The special meeting, lasting over two hours, included Hesen, city attorneys, and the TARC board. 

Both Hesen and Board Chair Mary Morrow declined to comment after the executive session. 

The meeting was called to discuss former TARC director, Ferdinand Risco's, resignation. He stepped down Wednesday after allegations of sexual misconduct against six former and current TARC employees. 

"My initial reaction is good. Yeah its a good start. Let's start there," TARC union president Theo Hamilton said. 

Hamilton, who attended the special meeting Thursday, said he's hopeful for change. 

"Hopefully we can turn the page. I'm pretty sure we can but we'll see when we get to it," Hamilton said. 

Hamilton said he's hoping for a leader that won't be a "predator" to the women working at TARC in the future. He also said he plans to have an active role during the search for a new executive director. 

"I will be having more conversation with the Mayor's Office and Metro Council and everybody that's involved in it so we make sure were doing a thorough background check on anybody," Hamilton said. 

The TARC board also announced Thursday an investigation would continue into the sexual misconduct allegations against Risco, despite his departure. 

Several employees are accusing him of inappropriate touching, sending sexually suggestive texts and photos.

"Get all the information and put it out there, bring it forth, bring it to the light," Hamilton said. 

The union leader also said TARC employees have had mixed emotions since learning of the allegations. 

"Not the same. It's just different. Some are a little shaken still. Some are excited and happy, but just shaken," he said. 

When asked if union members were satisfied with Risco's leadership before the allegations, he said "no comment."

The TARC board will meet again Feb. 24 at 1:30 p.m. in the TARC boardroom. 

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