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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mayor-elect announces goals for her first 100 days

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Greencastle Mayor-Elect Sue Murray has about a month to go before she takes over the reins of city government, but she isn't packing up her office at Putnam County Hospital just yet.

Since her election to the office in November, Murray has spent much of her time meeting with the heads of various city departments and putting together her plans for running the city during her first 100 days in office.

One of the big questions everyone asks when an old administration leaves and a new one comes in is what will happen to the current employees.

Murray told the BannerGraphic during a recent interview that she has no plans to terminate any employees when she takes office on Jan. 1. What she does intend to do is hold quarterly meetings with each of them and discuss how things are going as the year progresses.

Murray has already met one-on-one with the department heads to talk about the future of the city and plans a second meeting with each person in December where she intends to set goals for each department and better gauge what their job responsibilities are.

MURRAY Democrat takes office Jan. 1
"I think in some cases, they're works in progress," Murray said.

Department heads aren't the only one who can expect a meeting with the new mayor.

Murray said she hopes to be able to meet with every employee of the city individually during her first 100 days in office. She said she knows it could be a daunting task, but it's something she feels is important to help open the lines of communication between the administration and staff.

Meetings with staff members are but one of many priorities Murray has set forth for her first few months in office.

Revitalizing the downtown area was the first item Murray listed in her recent interview with the BannerGraphic.

"That living room of ours needs some work," she said.

Her idea involves forming a downtown business improvement district, which would be headed by a board of directors and would involve downtown business owners sharing ideas and resources for improving the city's center of business.

She said she has already been in conversations with the Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors, but she still wants to meet with the Putnam County Convention and Visitor's Bureau and Main Street Greencastle to share ideas.

Also in the downtown area, Murray feels that more of the money collected through the TIF (Tax Increment Finance) District downtown could be used to improve the area.

"There are dollars there that can be used for that area," Murray said.

In related matters, Murray said she wants to make Greencastle what she called a "business incubator system" by partnering with the Greencastle Development Center and the McDermond Center at DePauw University to encourage growth of young businesses.

She said she hopes to attract more business professionals to stay and to move into the city to start businesses.

With that, Murray moved on to Ivy Tech and its plans for building a new campus in Greencastle. College officials recently announced that they are counting on the public to help raise $1.6 million to pay for equipment at the new facility, with part of that money to be set aside for a permanent endowment.

Murray, like the current mayor, said she thinks the mayor's office should do all it can to support the Ivy Tech project and its capital campaign.

Moving on to another area, Murray talked about the Greencastle Hometown Alliance project, which is a group of local residents, business professionals and government representatives working to bring new businesses to the city, among other goals.

Murray, who is a member of the group, said she hopes to have a community summit in the spring or later to get a better sense of how the community supports this effort.

The first-time mayor is also hoping to continue with the current administration's efforts to improve individual neighborhoods in the city by building and repairing sidewalks.

Murray is particularly excited about a program through 21st Century Scholars that would, surprisingly, provide funding for sidewalks. She said the program would actually provide funding for local youth to help with the sidewalk project, under the guidance of professional contractors of course.

"They could tear up the old sidewalks and put in framing, and things like that," Murray said.

She said she learned of the project from the town of North Vernon, in southern Indiana, where the project has apparently been a success. Murray said she intends to put the city's name in the hat for these grant dollars soon after she takes office.

The two final items on Murray's list are to visit each of the city's industrial manufacturing facilities and meet with leaders there, as well as meet with everyone involved in the People Pathways project.

Murray said she believes it is time for the city's fitness trail system to be completed since the money has been in place for a long time. She said she hopes to "establish accountability and set benchmarks" on that project.

"It's time to say whose job it is. Let's get it done," Murray said.

Murray and her husband Dave have lived in Greencastle for 29 years. She has three adult children, Molly Yuska, who lives in Boston; Bryan Murray, who is a teacher in Muncie; and Kate Murray, who is headed to Arizona State University to complete her doctorate degree in clinical psychology.

Murray's first public service in the city came in the 1980s when she was on the city plan commission and park board.

Additionally, she served on the city council for two terms, beginning in 1988. She was president her last four years on the board.

Murray currently serves on the Board of Works, having been appointed 12 years ago by Mayor Michael.

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