Saturday, September 20, 2014

Goshen City Council says no to deputy mayor position — for now

Council couldn't settle on who candidates for position should include, exclude

Posted on Aug. 6, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — The current system of appointing a person to serve in the mayor’s absence remains in place after the Goshen City Council voted down an ordinance that would establish a deputy mayor position Tuesday, Aug. 6.

The ordinance, first introduced at the July 16 meeting of the council, would have allowed a mayor to appoint a deputy mayor who would serve in their absence and not have to publicly disclose their absence at a meeting of the Board of Public Works, which is the city’s current procedure.

Mayor Allan Kauffman said he would prefer to establish the deputy position so that he would not have to publicly disclose when he was away, in the interest of the safety of his family and property.

The city’s current procedure, set forth by state statute, also requires that the mayor appoint a city council member.

If passed, the ordinance discussed Tuesday night would have broadened the pool of candidates for the deputy mayor position to include any city employee.

Kauffman said he would have liked the pool to be expanded further to include any citizen of the city.

“I can think of a number of business people that I’d trust to make good decisions in my absence,” he explained.

Council president Jim McKee’s suggestion that council members be excluded from consideration for the potential deputy position gained traction with the other Republican members of the council.

McKee and councilman Ed Ahlersmeyer said they were concerned that the selection of the deputy mayor would become too politicized, and limiting the potential candidates to city employees would still offer plenty of viable possibilities to hold the position.

McKee said he believed city employees would likely be better candidates for the position anyway, given that they are involved daily with the business of the city.

Former councilman Tom Stump agreed with McKee and Ahlersmeyer on the potential political element, saying the appointee could garner a significant advantage leading into the next mayoral election through their experience in the position.

Another concern of some council members was the impact the position would have on their ability to still attend to the needs of their constituents.

“If (Mayor Kauffman is) out of office for any length of time ... it would take away from our ability to take calls from our constituents and everything,” councilman Brett Weddell said.

“We would no longer be filling the position that we were elected for if we had to the take the responsibility of deputy mayor for any length of time.”

Fred Buttell, another resident, disagreed with the exclusion of council members.

“We elected the city council to govern,” he said. “I do not feel that city employees are qualified for this because they have not had to reach these kinds of decisions.”

Buttell even suggested the deputy mayor come from a member of the council from the opposing party, no matter who would be the current mayor.

“It’d give us all in the city a breath of fresh air for a while,” he explained.

In the end, with no agreement on who should be included for consideration of the position, the opposition to the proposed policy was enough to get the ordinance voted down entirely.

Stump returned to speak during privilege of the floor, however, to state his belief having a deputy mayor could be a good idea and encouraged the council to continue working toward coming up with a policy that would be palatable to all members.

 A video display at a convenience store shows a wanted poster of Eric Frein, a 31-year-old from Canadensis, Pa., Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in Philadelphia. Frein is charged with killing Pennsylvania State Trooper Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass in a late-night ambush Sept. 12 outside the Blooming Grove state police barracks. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Updated 57 minutes ago
 FILE - In this March 12, 2009 file photo, Peanut Corporation of America's president Stewart Parnell arrives a federal court in Lynchburg, Va. A federal jury in Albany, Ga., convicted Parnell and two others Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, in connection with a salmonella outbreak that prompted one of the largest U.S. food recalls ever, sickened hundreds across the country and was linked to several deaths. Parnell was convicted on numerous counts including conspiracy, wire fraud and obstruction of justice related to shipping tainted peanut butter to customers and faking results of lab tests intended to screen for salmonella. (AP Photo/Don Petersen, File)

Updated 1 hour ago
 FILE - In this June 30, 2010, file photo, Bishop Blase Cupich, 61, of Rapid City, S.D., poses for a photo at The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes after his announcement in Spokane, Wash. Cupich will be named the next archbishop of Chicago, The Associated Press has learned. Cupich will succeed Cardinal Francis George, according to a person with knowledge of the selection, who spoke Friday, Sept. 19, 2014, on the condition of anonymity because the person wasn't authorized to speak publicly. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Dan Pelle)

Updated 1 hour ago
Back to top ^