John Jay Fossett is an attorney, served as the City Manager for the City of Covington, and is a former newspaper reporter and magazine editor.
Fossett is a 1981 graduate of the University of Kentucky, 1987 graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, and 2010 graduate of the Haile/U.S. Bank College of Business at NKU, where he obtained a master’s degree in Executive Leadership and Organizational Change (ELOC). ELOC is innovative program applies the most current theories and practices on leadership and organizational change and develops knowledge and skills for analyzing organizations and creating and executing strategies for organizational improvement.
During law school, Fossett served as editor-in-chief of the Northern Kentucky Law Review and was founding editor of The Paper Chase, the law school newspaper. Immediately after law school, he worked as law clerk to Justice Craig Wright on the Ohio Supreme Court, before joining the Cincinnati law firm of Strauss & Troy as an associate.
In 1992, Fossett founded Fossett & Ogle and six months later became a founding partner in Fossett, Howe, Wessels & Ogle, PSC, a six-lawyer law firm in Northern Kentucky. In 1998, his firm merged with the Cincinnati law firm of Cors & Bassett, where he became a partner. His legal practice was focused primarily in the area of civil litigation, with an emphasis on municipal law and commercial and zoning litigation. He is admitted to practice in the state and federal courts of both Kentucky and Ohio.
In 2001, Fossett left Cors & Bassett to become the first full-time city solicitor in Covington, Kentucky, his hometown. Four years later, he was appointed City Manager and served in that position until 2009, when he left the city to start Strategic Advisers. He served on the Fort Thomas City Council from 2012-2014.
Fossett obtained his B.A. degree (journalism and political science) from the University of Kentucky, where he served as summer editor and managing editor of The Kentucky Kernel, the independent daily newspaper. Fossett worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for seven years with The Cincinnati Enquirer, The Louisville Courier-Journal and The Kentucky Post. He also was editor of Star magazine in Lexington, Ky. while attending UK.
As a lawyer, he served four terms on the Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys (“KATA”) Board of Governors and served as the editor-in-chief of KATA’s bi-monthly magazine, The Advocate. He is a past president of the Chase Alumni Association, is a member of the Kentucky Bar Association, and is a past member of the Salmon P. Chase Inn of Court. He has published articles in three law reviews and in several issues of The Advocate. As a lawyer, he also wrote the “Legally Speaking” monthly column for The Kentucky Post. He also served as an adjunct faculty member at Chase Law School for 10 years, where he taught trial advocacy.
Fossett was appointed to the to the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance by Gov. Paul Patton in 2003 and to the Board of the Kentucky Local Distribution Fund Oversight Committee by Gov. Ernie Fletcher in 2006. Fossett is president of the Hillside Trust and currently serves on the board of directors of the Northern Kentucky University Alumni Council, the ELOC Advisory Board, and the Tom Ellis Athletic Memorial Foundation at Covington Independent Public Schools. He also has served on the boards of several other charitable and civic organizations in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati.
In 2007, he received the “Great Neighbor Award” from the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington in recognition of “his visionary leadership and efforts to mobilize residents and stakeholders for Covington’s future” in developing the city’s citizen-driven strategic plan.
Fossett is a 1977 graduate of Holmes High School in Covington. He and his wife, Barbara Arnzen, live in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Daughter, Meredith, a 2012 graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, works for Strategic Advisers but is currently on a leave of absence. Another daughter, Aly, who graduated from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at the Ohio University in 2015, is the event manager at The New Riff Distillery in Newport, Ky. A son, Jack, is a senior at the University of Louisville, where he is studying business.