News and Tribune

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January 15, 2013

Council members talk communication

Four Jeffersonville council members look for better interaction with mayor; Moore declines interview

JEFFERSONVILLE — The News and Tribune recently sat down with four Jeffersonville City Council members in the wake of a lawsuit being filed against the city’s fiscal body by the Mayor’s office.

It was the intention of the News and Tribune to discuss with the council and the mayor what they need to do to work together, examine what conflicts exist and determine how the interaction between the two city entities got to this point.

The four council members — five council members would constitute a quorum and would have to have been advertised as a public meeting — interviewed by the News and Tribune were Lisa Gill, Dennis Julius, Connie Sellers and Mike Smith.

While Mayor Mike Moore initially agreed to the interview, he ultimately declined the request to sit down with the News and Tribune regarding communications with the council. Moore via Les Merkley, city attorney, said the administration did not wish to discuss pending litigation.

The interview with the council members follows, is presented in a question-and-answer format and has been edited for space considerations.

Q: Is there, perceived or real, a conflict that exists between the city council and the mayor’s administration?

Julius: When you asked if we wanted to talk about communications with the city council and the administration, I quickly jotted down probably 10 items ... that the only way we found out about them was through a press release. I think that when ... our council is finding out about major issues in the city through a press release of one way or another ... I think it’s real unfortunate. I think it’s unfortunate for the city.

Smith: Communication isn’t always about agreement. Most projects start out between the administration and the city council, basically ... as [two] totally opposed ... parties. And through communication, debating, disagreeing, lunches or whatever, eventually ... the mayor gets his consensus, a lot of the time a majority. Communication isn’t always an agreement. Sometimes, a lot of times, it starts out as a disagreement and ends up in an agreement through a compromise.

Sellers: That’s what happened, even under Rob’s [Waiz] administration and under [Tom] Galligan’s administration. There were a lot of times we didn’t agree, but we met together and it wasn’t publicized. And sometimes things he [Galligan] wanted done didn’t happen. And nobody probably ever even knew about them — that they were being considered.

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