Merrillville board creates a third committee

2014-03-06T20:00:00Z 2014-03-06T21:49:05Z Merrillville board creates a third committeeChas Reilly chas.reilly@nwi.com, (219) 662-5324 nwitimes.com

MERRILLVILLE | The Stormwater Management Board created another committee Tuesday night.

Board President Leonard White said the new bylaws committee will develop a document indicating authority levels of the board members, the functions of the board and how it's structured.

White, who has served on the stormwater board for about a year, said he hasn't received information regarding how the organization is structured.

The decision to form the bylaws group comes after the board created a personnel committee and finance committee last month.

Barbara Ghoston was the only member of the three-person board who voted against each of the committees. She also declined to serve on the committees.

White appointed himself and member Curt Luna to each of the groups.

White said the committees are needed for the board to adequately understand how it and other stormwater operations are structured. He said the committees also will seek out ways to improve the organization.

White said state statute allows the board to establish committees.

Town Councilman Richard Hardaway said the board might have that authority, but he thinks the new committees are unnecessary because the council already handles functions of the recently created groups.

For example, goals for the stormwater personnel committee include the creation of an employee handbook.

Hardaway said the council recently "spent a lot of time and money" to update an employee handbook for all of Merrillville's departments, including the Stormwater Utility.

Another aspect of the stormwater personnel committee involves employee compensation or benefits.

Hardaway said the stormwater board doesn't have the authority to change compensation or benefits of employees. That responsibility is handled by the Town Council.

"You can't be bigger than the position," Hardaway said of stormwater board members.

Councilman Shawn Pettit said he didn't attend the recent stormwater meetings in which the committees were established, but he has been receiving information about the new stormwater groups.

"I don't understand the purpose," Pettit said of the committees.

It's likely the committees will be reviewed by the council.

Pettit is unsure of what action the council will take regarding the matter.

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