Councilman criticizes stormwater officials for 'disrespectful' behavior

2013-03-17T19:45:00Z Councilman criticizes stormwater officials for 'disrespectful' behaviorChas Reilly, (219) 662-5324

MERRILLVILLE | A Town Councilman is criticizing two Merrillville Stormwater Utility officials for what he believes was inappropriate behavior.

Councilman Don Spann said he thinks Matt Lake, executive director of the Stormwater Utility, was disrespectful to Councilman Tom Goralczyk during a recent discussion they had about the Taft Street drainage project.

Spann said Lake refused Goralczyk's suggestion regarding paving on Taft Place. Portions of that road between U.S. 30 and 73rd Avenue have been torn out because NIPSCO is relocating utility lines there.

Goralczyk didn't comment about the matter during last week's meeting.

Lake said he thinks the situation isn't an issue.

He said NIPSCO plans to repave the portions of Taft Place that have been torn out for the utility relocation.

Lake said he wants to repave the entire road, so he suggested using funds from the Public Works Department to complete that work.

He thinks Goralczyk was in agreement on how to handle the paving, he said.

Spann said he also thinks Joe Fish, the Stormwater Utility's compliance officer, was disrespectful to a resident while she discussed drainage concerns during February's Stormwater Management Board meeting.

Council President Carol Miano said she didn't attend that meeting, but she indicated Merrillville won't tolerate town officials speaking to others in a demeaning manner.

Lake said Fish was "being cautious" when Fish asked the resident's father to sit down as he approached the table in which board members and other town officials were sitting during the meeting.

Lake said it's typical for residents to ask before they approach town leaders at meetings. After the father indicated he wanted to present pictures, he was allowed to approach the table, Lake said.

He also said the Stormwater Utility addressed the resident's concerns, and "she's quite pleased with the results."

Councilman Shawn Pettit suggested town leaders should discuss the incidents during an executive session, which could take place this week.

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