2018-01-10 / Local News

City Council not interested in standing committees

By Debbie Lowe
Staff writer

Delphi Mayor Shane Evans heard loud and clear from all but one of the Delphi City Council members about his plan to establish, by ordinance, standing council-member committees to address various issues in city government. When it was all said and done, not one council member provided a motion to approve the ordinance.

Committees proposed to be established by ordinance included a salary and wage study committee, a building code enforcement study committee and a Community Development Director study committee to determine the role, duties, and responsibilities of a director. Also proposed was a legislative options study committee, a building maintenance standards study committee and a Delphi Zoning Ordinance Study committee. In addition, Evans intends to have a finance committee, a special projects committee and a traffic and parking committee.

“I do not see it (the ordinance) as a necessary thing,” Council President Carolyn Pearson began the discussion.

Council member Brian Garrison said he does not have the knowledge to serve on some committees without doing a considerable amount of research. He also said others in city government, such as Clerk- Treasurer Leanne Aldrich, already had information needed for a finance committee. Garrison indicated he considered most of the work of the proposed committees should be done by the executive (Mayor) branch of the city, not the legislative (Council) branch.

“I agree with Brian,” Pearson said. “I think these are the Mayor’s duties.”

“I’m falling with Carolyn and Brian,” Council member Dale Seward said. “To me, this is just big government. It’s a waste of resources.”

Evans said the reason he developed the concept for council-member committees to address issues was because he “has a lot of other things going on.”

Mayor Evans also heard from at least two Council members that they want to hear verbal reports from department heads at their meetings. Pearson said written reports are welcome however she wants to hear from the department heads as well.

The Council approved a resolution to establish Council liaisons with department heads. Seward, who voted in favor of the resolution, initially said he thought making the situation formal was “going too far.” However, Garrison and Council member Dick Traeger both liked the idea of being connected to one particular department head to improve communication.

Evans asked for guidance from the Council to develop rules of procedure. Council member Mike Shockley said he wants to hear verbal reports from department heads. Evans said he would develop a resolution for the next meeting for that to happen. Garrison questioned why a resolution would be needed. He told the Mayor the Council used to hear directly from department heads and then Evans got into office and it stopped. Evans said the resolution was needed “for the next administration” to know “how we do things.”

Pearson asked the Mayor during the comment section about efforts to solicit land developers. Evans said he met with a large land developer however the deal does not appear to have much forward movement, but does consider it to still be viable. Pearson said she was aware of a land development deal in which Seward was assisting both the landowner and the developer. She said earnest money was given and received. Pearson said the deal suddenly died and the earnest money check was shredded.

Pearson asked what happened in that situation. Traeger spoke up to say the property owners could not come to an agreement. Evans refused to discuss the matter with Pearson in public. He said the explanation involved cost of land and agreements on each side and he was given the details “in confidence.” Evans offered to meet with Pearson in private to explain the matter.

The next City Council meeting will be Feb. 5 at 7 p.m.

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