WILLIAM NANGLE: Crash course in NWI politics for NIRPC applicant

2012-10-23T00:00:00Z WILLIAM NANGLE: Crash course in NWI politics for NIRPC applicantBy William Nangle nwitimes.com
October 23, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Dear Mr. Tyson Warner,

I want to apologize for the rude welcome you were given last week by the boys of the back room.

You see, you are not their choice to lead the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission. You don’t come from the right region roots. That is to say, you are not blessed by the region’s political elite.

Never mind that you have strong professional credentials from your stint as planning director in Will County, Ill., or your most recent leadership role with the Flint Hills Regional Council in Kansas .

Never mind that a selection committee was formed by the NIRPC board. And forget that a professional search firm met with board members and community leaders, listening to their ideas on the type of person to best lead the agency. Or that the well qualified consultant from outside the region helped screen candidates, aiding the search committee as it met finalists.

It was all part of an announced process designed to get the best person for the job. That’s how you were chosen by the selection committee.

But last Thursday as the process was to come to an end with your acceptance by the NIRPC board, Hammond’s Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. led a rebellion of sorts. I am told he didn't like the idea – though part of the announced process – that the name of the chosen candidate was confidential until the day of the board vote.

And so Mayor Tom did what he does so well, his “concerns” helped stop the process. The vote was postponed and you were left embarrassed.

Though an informal chance for board members to meet you on Wednesday prior to the Thursday vote was hastily put together, McDermott told Times Staff Writer Keith Benman he only received notice of the meet and greet five hours in advance. He was too busy to attend.

I know all this must seem strange to you. It isn't strange for Northwest Indiana’s highly charged political landscape.

What seems odd is that Mayor Tom would lead the late game rebellion seeing as how he, in fact, once said he wanted the NIRPC job. It seems as though he is a bit conflicted.

But it’s well known several politically connected favorites were promoted for the job. That seems the most likely reason why McDermott, the Lake County Democrat Party boss, and a few others raised a ruckus at the Thursday meeting.

Where all this will lead is uncertain. The search committee that chose you for the executive director’s job has been dissolved.

Personally, I hope common sense prevails and the process results with you arriving and going to work in Northwest Indiana.

Then, again, don’t hold your breath. We may have to wait for the curtain to rise on the boys in the back room to learn who gets the job.


Bill Nangle

Executive Editor

The Times

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