Council opts for status quo for appointments, monthly meeting date

Monday, January 16, 2017

The calendar may say it’s 2017, but it looks a whole lot like 2016 at Greencastle City Hall.

Traditionally, the first City Council meeting of the new year means time for the Council’s annual reorganization along with restructuring city board appointments and department liaison assignments, and this year was no different.

Most notably, for the ninth straight year, Adam Cohen, the city’s First Ward representative, will again serve as president of the Greencastle City Council.

Saying he was “happy to serve at the will of the Council,” Cohen suggested that for all intents and purposes the City Council president “becomes the utility player,” going from such matters as attending audit meetings to being the mayor’s first call for input into any given situation.

Cohen initially assumed the leadership role in 2009, during just his second year on the City Council when he succeeded John Lanie as president of the then five-member governing panel.

Cohen’s re-election as Council president was again unanimous following a motion by Tyler Wade.

It was also unanimously agreed that for the second straight year, the City Council will conduct its regular monthly meetings on the second Thursday of each month, beginning at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

For at least the previous 40 years, the Council had met on the second Tuesday of the month. Mayor Bill Dory asked the Council to consider going back to Tuesdays, which City Attorney Laurie Hardwick noted was also the department heads’ preference.

Mark Hammer, the Council’s longest-serving member, added, “After 21 years, I‘m really used to Tuesdays.”

Despite an initial motion by Steve Fields and second by Cohen to restore the meetings to Tuesday, a quick check of individual schedules found at least one Council member would miss four monthly meetings if they were put back to Tuesdays.

With that, Fields was asked to rescind his motion, which he did, and a new motion to keep the meetings on Thursday passed unanimously.

Meanwhile, Council members will again team up with the various city departments as liaisons.

The only changes for 2017 were Gary Lemon and Stacie Langdon switching roles to become Department of Public Works liaison and Forest Hill Cemetery liaison, respectively.

Meanwhile, returning to their liaison roles will be Cohen for the Police Department; Dave Murray, Fire Department; Wade, Utilities Department; Hammer, Planning Department; and Fields serving the Parks and Recreation Department.

The City Council also made its board assignments for 2017. Those include:

Commission on Sustainability -- Fields.

Putnam County 911 Board – Langdon.

Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Board – Murray.

Greencastle Plan Commission – Hammer.

Park Board – Fields.

Putnam County Animal Care and Control Board -- Police Chief Tom Sutherlin reappointed.

Tree Board – Lemon.

Economic Development Commission -- Wade.

Cable Access Committee – Wade.

Meanwhile, concerning its annual appointments to the Greencastle Redevelopment Commission, the Council unanimously reappointed Erika Gilmore and Lottie Barcus to additional one-year terms.

Margaret Kenton was also reappointed to a four-year term on the Greencastle Board of Zoning Appeals, while Judy George was reappointed to the Tree Board.

The City Council will next meet in regular session at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9 at City Hall.

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