MERRILLVILLE | Two councilmen have more involvement on town committees after complaining certain wards in Merrillville weren't adequately represented on the committees.
During the Jan. 14 council meeting, Carol Miano was retained as the council president. Among responsibilities of the council president is appointing councilmen to town committees, which Miano did during the Jan. 14 meeting.
Council members Richard Hardaway and Chrissy Barron each said the residents in their wards wouldn't have a strong voice in decision making in Merrillville because Hardaway was appointed to only a few of the 12 committees and Barron hadn't been selected to any of them.
On Tuesday, Miano added Hardaway to the Budget and Finance Committee and appointed Barron to the Utility Liaisons Committee.
Miano removed Councilman Don Spann from both of the committees to make the changes.
Following the Jan. 14 meeting, Miano said Hardaway and Barron didn't express an interest in serving on additional committees.
Barron said they weren't asked for their input and didn't have time to do so because Miano made the appointments during the same meeting she was selected council president.
On Tuesday, Miano said all councilmen are notified when committee meetings take place and referred to the recent criticism as "false complaints."
Miano on Tuesday also appointed Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey as Merrillville's representative on the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission Board.
Councilman Shawn Pettit served in that role for the last 10 years, but he is unable to continue doing so because of work commitments.
Hardaway said he told Town Manager Bruce Spires he was interested in serving on the NIRPC Board, but Miano said she was unaware of Hardaway's request.
"I respect your appointment," Hardaway said following Miano's decision.
In another matter, the council couldn't agree on Tuesday about an appointment to Merrillville's Police Commission.
Miano had appointed Gene Ward to the panel, but Town Code indicates appointments to that commission must be made by the entire council.
The town received letters of interest from Ward and Rick Bella for the seat.
Hardaway, Barron and Councilman Ron Widing each voted for Bella. Miano, Pettit and Spann voted for Ward. Councilman Tom Goralczyk abstained from voting.
The council decided to table the matter until further notice so it can be discussed in an upcoming workshop session.