Lowell Police Commission appointment concerns councilman

2014-01-20T17:00:00Z 2014-01-20T21:41:06Z Lowell Police Commission appointment concerns councilmanMelanie Csepiga Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 20, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

L0WELL | While most appointments to boards and commissions were made without comment, the new makeup of the Lowell Police Commission leaves one councilman concerned.

At its meeting last week, a majority of three Lowell Town Council members — President Edgar Corns, R-5th, Councilmen Robert Philpot, R-2nd, and Donald Parker, D-3rd — agreed to appoint two active law enforcement officers to the Police Commission.

Michael Mears, who is Lynwood's police chief, and Ray Borchert, a veteran Lake County sheriff's officer, will serve on the commission.

Council Vice President Craig Earley, D-1st, opposed the measure. Councilman Phillip Kuiper, D-4th, was absent.

"I do have a concern appointing active police officers," Earley said. "Generally, I'm told it's not a good idea."

Borchert previously served less than a year on the Police Commission when Corns was commission president.

"I'll be extremely optimistic and hope this works, but I don't like it," Earley said.

Two vacancies remain after the votes.

Leann Angerman will fill one vacancy on the annexation committee, but another vacancy went unfilled.

A vacancy was also left on the Lowell Economic Development Commission.

Corns said he expects the council will advertise again for applicants to increase the pool.

Eli Carras was reappointed to another term on the Lowell Plan Commission, as were Earley, Philpot and Parker.

Both Earley and Parker said David Shilling, who was reappointed to the Lowell Board of Zoning Appeals, has much to offer and could serve on the Plan Commission should another vacancy arise.

The Lowell Redevelopment Commission will remain the same with renewed terms for one year. Each of the five Traffic Commission members were reappointed as well.

The council agreed to reappoint all current department heads and Town Attorney David Westland.

Lowell Public Works Director Gregory Shook will continue in that capacity, and Police Chief Erik Matson and Fire Chief Cliff Gorball will continue as co-directors for emergency management.

Dorothy Gwyn Maas was reappointed to serve on the Lake County Economic Opportunity Council. Kuiper will continue on the Lake County Solid Waste Management Board.

Corns will be the representative to Indiana Cities and Towns. Sue Peterson will serve on the cable television consortium.

Earley will be the town's representative on the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, while Philpot and resident Randy Hall will serve on the Freedom Park Committee. Earley will continue as the town's liaison to the ambulance board and fire district.

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