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#41 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 08:51 AM

Why don't we vote for all Congress seats for the State of Indiana instead of just one? Should I get to decide for Indianapolis or Gary? Should they decide for me?

I think the point SR is trying to make is that Congress is not choosing the President so then District Voting for them makes sense. Currently, our Town Council chooses our Town Executive. His opinion is that it is better, strictly concerning the election of the Town Exceutive, for the people to have a choice in every person who will be casting a vote for our Town Executive. I understand that. However, he would be better off describing the situation as the citizens having 3 out of 7 votes instead of 3/7ths of one vote.

Under my plan, the Town Executive will be elected directly by the people. We would still have Districtwide Voting for the District Councilmen and Townwide Voting for the At Large Councilmen. The difference in my plan is that we remove the decision for Town Executive from the Town Council and place it in the hands of the people, where it should be.

#42 TomD

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 09:03 AM

I think the point SR is trying to make is that Congress is not choosing the President so then District Voting for them makes sense. Currently, our Town Council chooses our Town Executive. His opinion is that it is better, strictly concerning the election of the Town Exceutive, for the people to have a choice in every person who will be casting a vote for our Town Executive. I understand that. However, he would be better off describing the situation as the citizens having 3 out of 7 votes instead of 3/7ths of one vote.

Under my plan, the Town Executive will be elected directly by the people. We would still have Districtwide Voting for the District Councilmen and Townwide Voting for the At Large Councilmen. The difference in my plan is that we remove the decision for Town Executive from the Town Council and place it in the hands of the people, where it should be.

 

Current state law says that the legislative body (town council) shall [emphasis added] select one of its members to be president for a definite term.  How would you get around this statute?  Why not have the town council select its president from the two at large councilmen?  Just curious if you have thought this out so that any proposed change conforms with state law as it stands now.



#43 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 09:28 AM

Current state law says that the legislative body (town council) shall [emphasis added] select one of its members to be president for a definite term. How would you get around this statute? Why not have the town council select its president from the two at large councilmen? Just curious if you have thought this out so that any proposed change conforms with state law as it stands now.

One way to do it is to write an ordinance stating that the Council SHALL elect the top at large vote getter in the general election as the Town Executive. It would make the Councils vote purely symbolic, but it would satisfy the state law and accomplish our goal, wouldn't it?

Another scenario would be to utilize the Home Rule statute. Indiana code 36-1-3-2 states; The policy of the state is to grant units all the powers that they need for the effective operation of government as to local affairs. That, to me, says that we have the power to rule ourselves. That includes choosing our method of governing.

I have given this a lot of thought, but I do also admit that there are details that need to be hashed out. That's where the rest of the Council comes in. I don't have all the answers, but I do believe I have a good idea that should be explored.

#44 Sleepy

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:27 PM

So you want the top vote getter to be the president and those elected by the people.

I like this.

 

But you want a town manager, adding a bureaucrat that is not elected by the people??



#45 kelley

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:36 PM

So you want the top vote getter to be the president and those elected by the people.
I like this.

But you want a town manager, adding a bureaucrat that is not elected by the people??


You who?

Russell appears to be suggesting the people choose the town executive rather than hiring someone to serve in this capacity.

#46 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 05:41 PM

So you want the top vote getter to be the president and those elected by the people.
I like this.

But you want a town manager, adding a bureaucrat that is not elected by the people??


Have you read my Town Manager proposal? I do not want to add a bureaucract. What I propose is to give our Town Executive the same duties and responsibilities as a City Executive. I will post the proposal as it will appear in the N&T when I get home. I'm at the grocery at the moment. You can see it on the "ISSUES" page of my website of you can't wait. http://www.electbrooksbank.com

#47 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 26 October 2015 - 11:08 PM

For those who are interested, here is my answer to the Town Manager question that was delivered to the News and Tribune for the Voters Guide:

 

Do you think Clarksville should have a town manager, and what type of authority should that position have?

 

It has become evident that Clarksville has grown to the point of needing someone to manage the day to day operations of the town. This is undebatable. The question though is what form this should take. We have before us two opinions. Both with their pro's and con's.

 

The first opinion is that we should hire a Town Manager that would report to the Town Council. The selling point for this is that we would hire someone with the necessary schooling who would work full time to manage our town, as opposed to a part time council member, and they would find the money within the budget to pay for themselves. This does sound desirable, but there are downsides. The town manager would be another unelected bureaucrat that would be operating with authority that the Town Council alone should have. It would require a strong council to be able to control this individual.

 

The second opinion is that we maintain the status quo. There is a certain amount of our population that believes the way we are doing things now is just fine and that we don't need to add another layer of government. Especially an unelected one. If there is money in the budget to hire a town manager then there is money in the budget to lower our sewer bills. Our department heads should be accountable to the council for their budgets and if there is excess they should be leading their departments in order to trim it. The downside to this opinion is the concentration of power in the legislative body and the inability to perform day to day functions efficiently.

 

Thinking about this, I came upon what I think is the best solution. Something in the great American spirit of compromise. So here is my proposal:

 

  • Pass an ordinance that the at-large member of the council with the most overall votes in the general election shall be the Town Council President. In the event of a tie then the Council will vote to break the tie.

  • Pass an ordinance making the Town Council President a non voting member of the Council who shall be the Town Executive as per IC 36-5-2-2.

  • Pass an ordinance that grants the same authority and duties of a City Executive (IC 36-4-5-3, 4, 5,6,7,8(instead of deputy mayor it would be clerk/treasurer),9) to our Town Executive.

 

I know that there are still a lot of kinks and legal issues to be ironed out. I do think though that this is an idea worthy of discussion. I'm not a big proponent of the “take it or leave it” attitude that this issue has been presented with. There is no reason why we cannot discuss this issue and come up with something that works for us instead of trying to fit Clarksville into the cookie cutter shape of other towns.

 

What this proposal will provide, in my opinion, is a full time person running the day to day operations of the Town that is elected by and accountable to the people. It will not be adding a layer of government but simply defining the authority, duties and responsibilities of the Town Executive we already have, something that has been lacking in our code thus far. It will give us separation of powers. No more could any gang on the council rule by numbers. We would have some checks and balances. We remain a town. We retain the town council/town executive form of government. We grow and our government becomes better managed. As an added benefit, if we ever do decide to make the transition to a city from a town then I believe that this will make that transition easier.



#48 TomD

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:05 AM

Russell, I see a problem with your suggested solution to the town manager question...well, actually more than one.  How would you suggest these issues be resolved?

 

1.  There is nothing that would require the town council president to be a 'full time person running the day to day operations of the Town that is elected by and accountable to the people'.  What would you do to make it a requirement? 

 

2.  Your proposal does not address the requirement for our town 'executive' to have any credentials that would qualify him (her) to efficiently manage the day to day operations-no degree, no experience requirements.  Your proposal only requires the person to be popular with the voters.  A quick review of Clarksville's past will show politicians that were popular and had name recognition, but were lousy when it came to managing and governing.  How would you solve this to insure that the person elected to the position could actually do the job? 

 

In short, maintaining the status quo, but with your suggested changes, would not IMO leave us any better off than we are now.  We could still end up with a part-time council president who is unqualified to efficiently manage. 

 

The past scathing audit reports showing mismanagement, lack of control, and wasteful spending are examples of what we need to correct.  One of the audit reports (the one on the street department where the previous street commissioner repaid the town $1,515.23 for 'questionable purchases') even mentions 'malfeasance'!  Will hiring a trained, educated, experienced town manager solve our problems?  I don't know, and neither do others.  What I do know is that the only way to find out is to do it.  A town manager can be hired...a town manager can be fired...the decision is always reversible if it doesn't work out (unless of course, the hire is somebody's crony pal...that's been done before).  Under your proposal, a terrible council president will be with us for 4 long years...how do we solve that problem?


Edited by TomD, 27 October 2015 - 07:30 AM.

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#49 Clarksville Voter

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:07 AM

How do you know if the most popular of the 4 At-Large candidates has the qualifications to take all that on?

Right now the 7 members can share and help with all the duties.

 

How do you know if the most popular of the 4 at Large candidates has the time or the desire to take all that on?

Maybe that candidate runs At-Large because that is their best chance to win the election and has no desire or time to be the full time President.

 

We probably have never had a Town Board Candidate that was truly a well qualified Town Manager.

What are the chances the most popular of the At-Large candidates is or ever will be?

This is not meaning anything bad about any of the current candidates(Rep or Dem), they just don't have full time Town Manager training or experience.

 

The town manager Clarksville had in the 1970's was not a trained or experienced Town Manager. He was just someone hired to show some over site and report back to the board at a time when Town Board members did not have the time or desire. In the 1970's the Board members were not paid nearly as well, did not get a pension for a part time job, did not get full health insurance for a part time job and did not have a large town hall full of employees doing their leg work. He was the Town Boards Leasion before it was labeled that and spread among the members.

 

We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department. A qualifier and experienced Town Manager should be able to improve on the great job being done there and help do it throughout all the Departments. There was a large figure noted at a town board meeting about 3 years ago about the saving up to that point in the Street Department. It was in the $175,000 range, That alone would cover that alone would pay for a Town Manager. What if those results could be found across all departments? What if the Town Board finally had someone that could be held accountable for major issues that might come up again?


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#50 Clarksville Voter

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:09 AM

Sorry TomD if I repeated any of your great points. It took me a long time to type it out. 


Edited by Clarksville Voter, 27 October 2015 - 07:10 AM.


#51 TomD

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:14 AM

Sorry Clarksville Voter if I repeated any of your great points.  It took me a long time to type it out.


Edited by TomD, 27 October 2015 - 07:35 AM.


#52 Clarksville Voter

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:14 AM

 

 

In short, maintaining the status quo, but with your suggested changes, would not IMO leave us any better of than we are now.  We could still end up with a part-time council president who is unqualified to efficiently manage. 

 

And gets a big full time PAY CHECK.


Edited by Clarksville Voter, 27 October 2015 - 07:36 AM.


#53 Sleepy

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 07:55 AM

Good to see those above finally talking about credentials.

This has been my position all along, get the best people with 

the best credentials.  When having someone work on your car

do you want someone who has training and is certified or

just get a good guy?  When having someone care for your parents

do you want someone who has the proper training and degrees or

just a good guy.

 

Same for the town council.  Lets elect a council that is educated and trained to

do so.

 

Just my thoughts.

 

If we should get a town manager get an educated one.



#54 Clarksville Voter

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:19 AM

What training do the current candidates have? I have seen no certificates posted or even listed in political flyers. I'm sure Mr. McSleepy has certificates out the wazoo.


Edited by Clarksville Voter, 27 October 2015 - 08:28 AM.


#55 TomD

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:33 AM

Education can be a good thing...but it can also be irrelevant.

 

There is nothing more ignorant than an educated man, once you get him off the subject in which he was educated.

 

For example, I wouldn't want someone with several advanced degrees in mathematics to perform surgery on me.  I'd want someone with education, training, and experience in medicine.

 

I would not want someone with a degree in German polka history to represent me in a court of law.  I'd want someone with education, training, and experience in the law.

 

You get the idea.

 

Sleepy, how does your guy's degree relate to the job of town councilman?


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#56 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:40 AM

Russell, I see a problem with your suggested solution to the town manager question...well, actually more than one.  How would you suggest these issues be resolved?

 

1.  There is nothing that would require the town council president to be a 'full time person running the day to day operations of the Town that is elected by and accountable to the people'.  What would you do to make it a requirement? 

 

2.  Your proposal does not address the requirement for our town 'executive' to have any credentials that would qualify him (her) to efficiently manage the day to day operations-no degree, no experience requirements.  Your proposal only requires the person to be popular with the voters.  A quick review of Clarksville's past will show politicians that were popular and had name recognition, but were lousy when it came to managing and governing.  How would you solve this to insure that the person holding the position could actually do the job? 

 

In short, maintaining the status quo, but with your suggested changes, would not IMO leave us any better off than we are now.  We could still end up with a part-time council president who is unqualified to efficiently manage. 

 

The past scathing audit reports showing mismanagement, lack of control, and wasteful spending are examples of what we need to correct.  One of the audit reports (the one on the street department where the previous street commissioner repaid the town $1,515.23 for 'questionable purchases') even mentions 'malfeasance'!  Will hiring a trained, educated, experienced town manager solve our problems?  I don't know, and neither do others.  What I do know is that the only way to find out is to do it.  A town manager can be hired...a town manager can be fired...the decision is always reversible if it doesn't work out (unless of course, the hire is somebody's crony pal...that's been done before).  Under your proposal, a terrible council president will be with us for 4 long years...how do we solve that problem?

 

 

How do you know if the most popular of the 4 At-Large candidates has the qualifications to take all that on?

Right now the 7 members can share and help with all the duties.

 

How do you know if the most popular of the 4 at Large candidates has the time or the desire to take all that on?

Maybe that candidate runs At-Large because that is their best chance to win the election and has no desire or time to be the full time President.

 

We probably have never had a Town Board Candidate that was truly a well qualified Town Manager.

What are the chances the most popular of the At-Large candidates is or ever will be?

This is not meaning anything bad about any of the current candidates(Rep or Dem), they just don't have full time Town Manager training or experience.

 

The town manager Clarksville had in the 1970's was not a trained or experienced Town Manager. He was just someone hired to show some over site and report back to the board at a time when Town Board members did not have the time or desire. In the 1970's the Board members were not paid nearly as well, did not get a pension for a part time job, did not get full health insurance for a part time job and did not have a large town hall full of employees doing their leg work. He was the Town Boards Leasion before it was labeled that and spread among the members.

 

We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department. A qualifier and experienced Town Manager should be able to improve on the great job being done there and help do it throughout all the Departments. There was a large figure noted at a town board meeting about 3 years ago about the saving up to that point in the Street Department. It was in the $175,000 range, That alone would cover that alone would pay for a Town Manager. What if those results could be found across all departments? What if the Town Board finally had someone that could be held accountable for major issues that might come up again?

 

Okay, I'll answer the questions as they are presented.

1). The first one is simple. We make it part of the duties. Is there a requirement that our Town Council members work only part time? Is there a requirement that the President of the U.S. work full time? Have you seen the responsibilities and duties that I have outlined? Here are the duties of a City Executive (who, by the way, does not have to have any educational requirements):

 

IC 36-4-5-3

Powers and duties Sec. 3. The executive shall:

(1) enforce the ordinances of the city and the statutes of the state;

(2) provide a statement of the finances and general condition of the city to the city legislative body at least once a year;

(3) provide any information regarding city affairs that the legislative body requests;

(4) recommend, in writing, to the legislative body actions that the executive considers proper;

(5) call special meetings of the legislative body when necessary;

(6) supervise subordinate officers;

(7) insure efficient government of the city;

(8) fill vacancies in city offices when required by IC 3-13-8;

(9) sign all bonds, deeds, and contracts of the city and all licenses issued by the city; and

(10) approve or veto ordinances, orders, and resolutions of the legislative body under IC 36-4-6-15

 

IC 36-4-5-4

Appointments Sec. 4.

The executive shall make the appointments prescribed by IC 36-4-9 and IC 36-4-11-2.

 

IC 36-4-5-5

Power to hear complaints against person issued license;proceedings; findings and determination; violation, revocation, or suspension Sec. 5.

On reasonable notice of at least three (3) days to the person complained of, the executive shall hear any complaint against a person to whom the city has issued a license, and may issue subpoenas to compel the attendance of witnesses, administer oaths to those witnesses, and require them to testify. To the extent they can be applied, the Indiana rules of procedure, including the right to appear by counsel and to compel the attendance of witnesses for or against persons complained of, apply to proceedings under this section. If the executive finds that the person complained of has wilfully violated a term or condition of his license, or has wilfully done or permitted to be done an act in violation of a statute or city ordinance relating to the business licensed, the executive shall revoke or suspend the license. He shall file a copy of his findings and determination with the city fiscal officer within twenty-four (24) hours after it is made.

 

IC 36-4-5-6

Meetings with officers in charge of city departments; record Sec. 6.

At least once a month, the executive shall meet with the officers in charge of the city departments:(1) for consultation on the affairs of the city;(2) to adopt rules and regulations for the administration of the affairs of city departments; and(3) to adopt rules and regulations prescribing a merit system forselecting, appointing, or promoting city officers and employees.A record of meetings under this section shall be kept.

 

IC 36-4-5-7

Appointment of persons to examine or investigate city accounts and property Sec. 7.

The executive may appoint three (3) competent persons to examine, without notice, the city accounts and property in the possession or custody of a city department, officer, or employee, and to report the results of their investigation.

 

I want to give our Town Executive these duties and responsibilities. I doubt they will be able to perform all these tasks, especially supervising subordinate officers and insuring efficient government of the town, on a part time basis. These are actually more duties than you would have a full time Town Manager do. Let me ask you this; If our Town Executive were able to perform all of these duties does it matter how much actual time they spent doing them?

 

2). What educational requirements are placed on the President of the U.S. by statute? We've been governing ourselves since 1783 without any educational requirements. We would vote for the person we thought was best for the job. Would you be in favor of putting in our ordinances that Council Members have a degree in political science? How about a recall vote for those elected officials not doing their job to our satisfaction? Why not hire competent department heads from the beginning? Isn't efficient operation of their department part of their job description?

 

Once that Town Manager is in place it will take 4 votes to remove them. If our new "Gang of Four" likes this person regardless of their performance we will be stuck with them until the next election anyway. I would prefer to have someone in that position who was elected by and accountable to the people, not the council.

 

3). The people can do a good job of vetting those 4 or 6 candidates. I personally would vote for the person I believed most qualified. Wouldn't you?

 

4). Why would a person who does not have the time or desire to perform the duties of a Town Executive choose to run?

 

Clarksvillevoter says, "We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department." That makes my point. The department heads should be worried about operating their departments efficiently, the Town Executive should supervise subordinate officers (department heads) and insure efficient government of the town, and the Town Council should approve the budget. We don't need a Town Manager to accomplish this.

 

Like I said, this is a work in progress. All these questions can, and should, be asked and considered. My goal is to have the best government we can have that fits the wants and needs of Clarksville. I still believe that this route is the best route. It just needs some tweaking to make it work for us.


Edited by Russell Brooksbank, 27 October 2015 - 09:03 AM.


#57 Sleepy

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:46 AM

Current Candidate as I look at websites have:

 

1. High School Diplomas. 

2. college Degrees

3. Council Experience

4. Other elected experience

5. Volunteer Leadership ( Habitat, Leadership southern Indiana, Other service organizations blah blah blahh

6. Training in other areas



#58 Sleepy

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:46 AM

Russell

 

Define most qualified?



#59 Russell Brooksbank

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 08:57 AM

Russell

 

Define most qualified?

For a Town Executive I would look for someone who has experience in management, the ability to lead, a desire to work for the people, and a good head on their shoulders. I would want my Town Executive to be someone who would hold the department heads' feet to the fire. I wouldn't place a lot of value on degrees. I'm more interested in what they have done and have the ability to do. Those are my qualifications. What are yours?



#60 Clarksville Voter

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Posted 27 October 2015 - 09:15 AM

 

 

Clarksvillevoter says, "We have seen great improvements and thousands of dollars of savings already from the new leadership at the Street Department." That makes my point. The department heads should be worried about operating their departments efficiently, the Town Executive should supervise subordinate officers (department heads) and insure efficient government of the town, and the Town Council should approve the budget. We don't need a Town Manager to accomplish this.

Yes, they should be worried about doing a great job, but trained help for them would be extremely valuable to all of Clarksville. Department leaders have done a great job recently. But the action and results that the citizens have seen from our town councils for 20 plus years has not always been so perfect. It is greatly improved now, soon possibly better with the mass retirements. But having someone get elected and say"today we do windows - today we do town governance cause people like me" is not better than having a trained professional, as his full time job, working full-time at his Profession that he was trained to do to make the town better and more efficient. Who also has to answer to the people that choose him(town board) to the job and can fire him if he doesn't do it the way they see fit. Clarksville needs good people to be on the town board, but it also needs someone trained to run towns to help.






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