Councilman criticizes Merrillville's leadership

2014-01-14T21:30:00Z 2014-01-14T22:04:10Z Councilman criticizes Merrillville's leadershipChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com
January 14, 2014 9:30 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | Town Councilman Richard Hardaway believes there is "inadequate leadership" in Merrillville, but Council President Carol Miano says town leaders are dedicated to serving residents.

Hardaway made the comment following Tuesday's council meeting in which decisions were made to select council officers and appoint members to council committees and town panels.

Miano was selected to retain the council president position. Six of the seven councilmen, including Hardaway, supported the decision. Miano abstained from voting.

"If he feels I'm inadequate, why did he vote for me?" Miano said.

She pointed to the recent creation of the Historic Preservation Commission and work to create Union Park as a few of the town's recent accomplishments.

"There's no inadequacies as far as I'm concerned," Miano said.

As council president, Miano made appointments for multiple town panels and selected council members to serve on committees.

Hardaway said he and Councilman Ron Widing were selected to serve on only a few of the 12 council committees and Councilwoman Chrissy Barron wasn't selected for any of them.

He said residents in the wards in which he, Widing and Barron represent "don't have a voice" in decisions being made if the council members are excluded from committees.

Hardaway thinks there is "too much politics" involved in decision making in Merrillville, and the town "deserves better representation."

Miano, who made the committee appointments, said the three council members didn't express an interest in serving on more committees, and she kept the committees the same as they were in 2013.

Hardaway also was uncertain about Miano's decision to appoint resident Curt Luna to serve on the Stormwater Management Board.

Dorinda Gregor, who is Merrillville's zoning director, had held the seat since the board was formed about 10 years ago, Hardaway said.

Miano praised the work Gregor has done for the town, but she said it would be a conflict of interest for Gregor to continue serving on the panel because a portion of Gregor's zoning director salary is paid with funds from the Stormwater Utility.

Other than Gregor, Luna was the only person who submitted an application on time for the seat, Miano said. Resident Ted Kennedy had submitted a letter of interest, but it came in after the deadline, she said.

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