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Monday night I went to the regularly scheduled meeting of the Culver Redevelopment Commission at 5:00 at the Culver Town Hall. I arrived to find the door locked. I looked at the notice on the bulletin board and it stated that the regularly scheduled meeting had been changed to 4:00 and that they had added a joint meeting with the Town Council which they had moved to the Culver Library at 5:00.
As I’ve said here before I tend to cut volunteer board members a lot of slack. They give a lot of time and often only receive slings and arrows from the public in return. I don’t think that’s an excuse for making public participation difficult. My position as Culver’s representative on the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation Board means that my representation there is closely tied to the work the redevelopment commission does. I attend almost every meeting of the redevelopment commission. It is on my calendar to be there on the third Monday at 5:00. It frustrates me to no end when I make a special effort to be at a meeting only to find that they moved the meeting, with private discussion between meetings. I’m not special. They don’t have to let me know. But I think it’s disrespectful and says something about their relationship with MCEDC. While they have fulfilled the letter of the law by posting it on the bulletin board at the Town Hall I also feel it does a disservice to the community. There is also a page on that same bulletin board listing all of the regularly scheduled meetings. If someone other than myself had gone down to see when the next meeting was, read that list and didn’t check later to see that the meeting had been rescheduled they would have been standing out there fuming like myself.
Now dubbed “The Commerce Building“, the structure is located on Commerce Street in the northwest PIDCO industrial subdivision. It is ready to show now and the shell should be complete by this time next month.
We’ve managed to do all of this without sacrificing any of our ongoing projects such as the County Development for the Future meetings, outreach to the community through SBDC and our commitment of support to Project Lead the Way. I’m looking forward to more good things from MCEDC. If you’re interested in keeping up on those, check out the newsletter link above and add your name to the mailing list. There are more good things to come!
It appears that Culver will be without a Town Manager again. Dave Schoeff‘s resignation was announced in the Culver Citizen last week. Our track record on retention for this position hasn’t been great, but I think good things have come from this position and I hope the Council will move quickly to fill it.
I have been involved with the Town Manager issue from the beginning. I was involved with the Culver Second Century Committee through the Mary Means & Associates Needs Assessment and the Ratio Architects Charrette (1998). The subject of a Town Manager was discussed in both of these. When the first Town Manager was hired, a task force was formed including Town personnel and members of the public. I was one of the latter. Other task force members included Chandra Meavis (Town Clerk), Russ Mason (Councilman) and Lance Overmyer (Fire Chief).
The task force spent a considerable amount of time doing an internal assessment. I have to admit that I was skeptical that it could work in Culver, but after listening to presentations from three different Town Managers from area communities of a similar size, I was swayed to believe that Culver could truly benefit from the creation of this position. What made the difference for me was that two of the Town Managers that we interviewed had no formal training in government, but were good managers and were extremely effective in organizing their respective towns to run better because of this.
The task force took on the creation of a job description and the creation of a chain-of-command hierarchy. We also defined the function of the department liaisons, something that was a carry over from before we had a Town Manager. From there we wrote the ads for the position and culled the applicants down to three. At that point, the Town Council joined us in interviewing the final three applicants and our first Town Manager, Mr. Jeffrey Sheridan, was selected. The task force was disbanded at that point. In retrospect, that may have been a mistake. Our experience in researching and defining the position may have been useful in working with the new Town Manager and the Town Council in order to make the position successful. Since I was not a Council Member, I was not briefed on all the “problems” that led to Mr. Sheridan leaving, but at least some of those problems regarded issues that we thought we had settled. (Jeff went on to serve as the Town of Cumberland Town Manager for 8 years and is currently the Tipton County Economic Development Director.)
Since that time we have had four other Town Managers bringing the total to 5 in 10 years. All resigned for different reasons. All five Town Managers advanced the agenda of the Town and were able to accomplish things that part-time Council Members cannot be expected to handle. In the time before and between Town Managers, much of the administrative work has fallen on the Clerk Treasurer. This is not fair to the Clerk Treasurer as they have other responsibilities and often their need to work with the employees and the Council makes it difficult to also wear the hat of “manager”.
I’m concerned that the limited retention rate of Town Managers in Culver will affect our ability to hire another. From past experience, the task of replacing the town manager has been tedious and slow. In the interim, projects languish and at times past advancements are lost. Hopefully the Council has already begun advertising the position.
David Schoeff Image Source: The Pilot News
Town Hall Image Source: Town of Culver
I received the handy-dandy map to the right in the mail from the Town of Culver the other day along with a letter from Dave Schoeff, Culver Town Manager, talking about various procedures for protecting the well water for Culver’s municipal wells. All of it was a good reminder as ground water contamination isn’t something that people think about on a day to day basis. I doubt many people think about where the municipal tap water comes from beyond the faucet to which it is attached. I doubt many people really looked at the map either. Aside from the weird abbreviation for street “Str.” and the random dashed line area floating above the Lutheran Church property, two other things struck me. First being that the aerial photography for the base map is old. Construction began on Culver Garden Court in 2011 and it is not shown in the photograph. The second and more interesting thing pertinent to recent discussions is that the 10 year protection line extends very close to the current Culver Zoning Boundary.
Hopefully this will be added to the list of reasons why Culver should be allowed to extend their Territorial Authority per the Comprehensive Plan. Any decisions about development in these zones should be considered against the backdrop of wellhead protection along with all the other factors. If that is the 10 year line, then the 15 year line is farther out yet, not to mention some of the locations being considered for another well might have aquifer areas even farther out. Add this to your file Dave!
Easterday Construction has always sponsored a Little League team. We always ask for Easterday Green shirts and they try and accommodate us. The team is pictured to the right. I hit the organizers up about including names with the plaque. Some of those kids may work here someday and it would be fun to see the tie-in. Ha!