New Board of Works takes shape

Mayor Rod Roberson swore in four out of five members of the Elkhart Board of Public Works on Tuesday morning. From the left: Chad Crabtree, Ronnie Davies, Mike Machlan and Jamie Arce.

ELKHART — Republican Carol McDowell Loshbough and Democrat Arvis Dawson have lost their seats on the Elkhart Board of Public Works, as new Mayor Rod Roberson is making changes.

Dawson was elected to the City Council in November and therefore can no longer be a member of the board. Instead, he is now the council’s liaison to the board of works.

McDowell, who was vice president of the board, led former Mayor Tim Neese’s union contract negotiations that made her unpopular with the local American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which ran a public campaign calling her a bully.

AFSCME Council 962 executive director David Robertson, when negotiations concluded in December, said he looked forward to working with the new administration.

With that new administration comes  two new appointees to the five-member board.

Sworn in on Tuesday was the city’s deputy controller, Jamie Arce.

The last spot will go to Roberson’s chief of staff, Dayna Bennett, when she moves within city limits, according to Chad Crabtree, president of the Elkhart County Democratic Party. Before taking the job as Roberson’s chief of staff, Bennett had the same role in the administration of former Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, whose second term ended on Jan. 1.

Crabtree, along with Mike Machlan and Ronnie Davis, will keep his spot on the board, which made him the new vice president on Tuesday. Machlan kept his role as president.

Follow Rasmus S. Jorgensen on Twitter at @ReadRasmus

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