An interesting dynamic is lining up ahead of Warsaw City Council’s plan to hire its own attorney.
Mayor Joe Thallemer is doing his best to stay out of the way as council moves toward hiring a city council attorney. While Thallemer says there are alternative sources of legal advice beyond City Attorney Scott Reust that council could turn to before they turn to their own attorney, he also acknowledges that it is a co-equal branch of government.
Last week, during a lengthy council debate on the proposed contract, City Councilman Michael Klondaris noted that Thallemer had said he would not stand in the way as the proposal moves from city council to the Board of Works.
Thallemer is one of three who sits on the city Board of Works and Safety, which will soon be asked by council to approve a contract to hire an attorney. City Councilman Jeff Grose, the lone vocal opponent of the plan, also sits on the Board of Works.
So that leaves George Clemens, a good friend and political supporter of Thallemer, as the final vote on the board of works.
All of this leaves a few questions. Would Thallemer vote to approve the contract out of respect for council’s independence? Rarely, if ever, has the board of works balked at a council proposal.
But what if Thallemer and Grose oppose it and the request dies? What would council’s next move be?
Council intends to set aside $12,000 in the budget for attorney fees, but some, including City Council President Diane Quance, acknowledge that they may not even use the legal service next year.
Council is trying to work out language in the contract and come up with protocol on how the council can access and use the attorney. Council wants the contract ready by the first of the year.
Council is looking at Douglas Lehman, a Wabash attorney, for the position.
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ELECTION REFLECTION — There are a lot of things I admire about people who seek public office, but the three that stand out to me are perseverance, the willingness to put their neck on the line and the understanding that losing is painful and often likely.
It’s always nice to see the winners bask in the momentary celebration after an election victory. Josh Finch, who tried previously to enter politics through Republican Caucuses for county positions, was all smiles Tuesday night after defeating Independent candidate Chris Plack for the District 2 seat.
But at the same time, I always empathize with those who fall short on Election Day. Almost everyone I’ve ever met who has run for public office has had a good heart. They mean well. They want to serve. They want to make a difference.
And despite their best intentions, voters often reject those efforts. The sad reality is that good candidates who do everything right often lose.
Plack and other candidates like Sarah McNeal Strahan-Lenfestey and Jack Brunetto worked their tails off but lost. They are the latest to learn first-hand that local Republicans have a tough shell that is nearly impossible to crack. But they gave it a good shot and our community is better off for it.
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FUTURE PLANS — Plack, a longtime Republican who ran as an independent, said he will remain active in some capacity. Where that might be headed is anyone’s guess. I asked GOP Chairman Mike Ragan what he thought about Plack’s future with the party. He said he doesn’t “hold grudges or burn bridges.”
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NOTABLE ELECTION TIDBITS — Tuesday’s election brought with it three unique developments across the state:
- Elkhart elected its first African-American as mayor with Rod Roberson’s victory on Tuesday. Roberson defeated former Elkhart Mayor David Miller. He’ll replace Republican Tim Neese, who chose not to seek a second term. Democrats also took control of city council.
- South Bend voters elected five women to city council.
- Indianapolis City-County Council now has four openly gay representatives, up from one.
DEAD HEAT — Results in The InkFreeNews weekly poll about impeachment were fun to watch evolve this week. More than 5,600 people voted — the most ever in one of our online polls. Certainly, this is not a scientific poll, but the fact it is tied (separated by five votes on Saturday morning) underscores how dug in and divided we are in our politics. Voting on the home page continues until Monday morning.
Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.