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January 11, 2013

New Albany mayor requests Horseshoe funds for aquatic center, baseball fields

2012 Horseshoe board still seated as dispute continues over appointments


NEW ALBANY — Board dispute

The funding request also comes while the makeup of the 2013 Horseshoe Foundation board is still being determined.

On Monday, New Albany City Council President Pat McLaughlin appointed Democratic Councilman John Gonder and independent Councilman Scott Blair to the Horseshoe board.

McLaughlin said Horseshoe board officials had indicated that he must appoint one Republican and one Democrat to the body, but that he was still choosing Blair for one of the positions.

The Horseshoe Foundation board met Thursday, but McLaughlin’s selections weren’t allowed to participate.

“Since it has been requested that the board review the by-laws establishing appointments to the board of directors, the decision was made to not ratify any new board members,” Mark Seabrook, president of the Horseshoe Foundation said in a statement released Friday.

“Until that is resolved, the 2012 board will continue to serve and govern the foundation.”

Seabrook represents the Floyd County Commissioners on the board. The board is established to include the mayor, two city council members, one county commissioner, the general manager of the Horseshoe Casino of Southern Indiana and two of that person’s designees.

The city council appointments are the only two positions that are required to represent different political parties according to the Horseshoe Foundation’s bylaws.

However, there’s disagreement over what the rules actually mean. McLaughlin agrees that the bylaws state the council appointments must represent different major political parties, but added it only states in parentheses and as an example Democrats and Republicans.

“In a way, that is a little confusing,” McLaughlin said Friday.

He doesn’t plan on rescinding Blair as one of his two choices for the board.

“I hope it gets resolved and we get past this,” he said.

Blair’s status as an independent has been recognized by the city council, and he has just as much right to serve on the Horseshoe Foundation board as any other member, McLaughlin continued.

Since City Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede is the only Republican on the council, McLaughlin said there’s no real choice for getting other members on the Horseshoe board.

“The independent party has as much representation as Republicans” on the city council, he continued.

The council’s 2012 Horseshoe Foundation board members were Diane McCartin-Benedetti and Zurschmiede.

The Horseshoe Foundation’s bylaws were established in 1999, and were formed with input from the city and county. Officials said there hasn’t been an issue in the past with appointments from the city or county government.

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