Lake County commissioners tap union official for RDA seat

2013-04-03T17:15:00Z 2013-04-04T00:12:06Z Lake County commissioners tap union official for RDA seatBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
April 03, 2013 5:15 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | The Lake County Board of Commissioners wants local union leader Randy Palmateer to be the county's representative on the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Palmateer, 34, of Crown Point, is in line to replace Lou Martinez, of Griffith, who has served on the RDA for the county since its inception in 2005.

The three-member Board of Commissioners unanimously approved Palmateer's appointment Wednesday. Commissioners said he has been the only person to apply for the job, but still needs the support of at least three of the seven members of the Lake County Council to officially become the county's representative. The council meets next week.

Peter Novak, Hammond’s appointee to the board of directors of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, also is resigning from the RDA effective April 30.

The RDA board funnels millions of dollars in casino and state toll road fees annually into regional infrastructure projects such as the Gary/Chicago International Airport and recreational facilities on the region's Lake Michigan shoreline.

Palmateer is business manager of the 25,000-member Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council, an AFL-CIO affiliate, which represents more than 38 union trade locals in Lake, Porter, Newton and Jasper counties.

Palmateer said Tuesday he is honored to be nominated.

"I've been in the construction business for 16 years," he said, adding he was introduced to both politics and unions as a child. He said his father, grandfather and an uncle were union workers. He met a number of politicians through his father, an employee at the Lake County Government Complex.

He is a Crown Point Democratic precinct committeeman, has served as a member of the Lake County Economic Development Commission, a Democratic member of the Center Township Board and currently is a member of the Crown Point Board of Works.

Palmateer's relationship with Crown Point Mayor David Uran was the subject of brief federal lawsuit filed earlier this year by Crown Point police Sgt. James Poling.

Poling alleged the city's Fraternal Order of Police opposed Palmateer's appointment to the city board, because of Palmateer's 2011 arrest for a driving violation and an unrelated allegation that Palmateer pointed a gun at a police officer. Poling has dropped the lawsuit and its allegations about Palmateer.

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