Valparaiso City Hall

Valparaiso City Hall

John Scheibel, The Times

VALPARAISO — Valparaiso's City Council agreed to name a sub-committee to re-examine the process members use to appoint Valparaiso Community School Board members.

Mayor Jon Costas asked council members Lenore Hoffman, R-4th, and Debora Porter, D-at-large, to review the process. Input would also be sought from other council members then a report made back to the full City Council at a later date.

"I look forward to hearing from you," Costas said.

The forming of a sub-committee was agreed upon by the council following a report this week from former City Councilman Mike Baird.

Baird said he was asked earlier this year by City Councilman Matt Murphy, R-3rd, to give a history of the appointment selection. Murphy had suggested Baird's report at an April 10 City Council meeting following discussion from the March 27 meeting.

Discussion at that March 27 meeting has included suggestions by resident Brian Williams and City Councilman Robert Cotton, D-2nd, about making changes to increase public deliberation among City Council members and transparency in School Board appointments.

Baird, in his report, said as a long-time city councilman, he had been part of the selection process of School Board members for eight years. In his examination of the selection process, Baird said he made several points including how can the solicitation of candidates and interview process be improved. Baird concluded that the best way to re-examine the process was by forming a task force or sub-committee.

Hoffman said there have been questions about the transparency of the City Council's process.

"We had two public meetings so it's hard to get more transparent," Hoffman said.

City Councilman John Bowker, R-5th, said he had no problems in forming a sub-committee to look at the issue since the council had used that process to study other issues in the past including smoking bans.

Cotton said he would like the sub-committee process to be inclusive of a broader section of the City Council than just the two council members.

"We expect input from all council members," Costas said.

The City Council's most recent appointment to the School Board was June 26 when Valparaiso dentist, Dr. Robert Behrend, was chosen to serve. 

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