Return proven leaders to Clarksville council
From the onset of Clarksville’s current administration, the business-like vision of outgoing Council President Paul Fetter has set the tone from which the incumbent council has produced spectacular results. Plus, the addition of Town Manager Kevin Baity, with over 30 years of government experience, has provided ideas, skills, and common-sense professionalism. All of this comes at a level that, as a former council member, I have never seen before. Indeed, current council member John Gilkey has stated publicly that Clarksville’s incumbent council of five Republicans and two Democrats has proven “progressive” in embracing new approaches toward town management and development.
The list of initiatives and improvements are too lengthy to list. Nevertheless, certain contributions made by incumbent members Tim Hauber, John Gilkey, Red Worrall, Jennifer Voignier, and A.D. Stonecipher cannot be emphasized enough: First, most are unaware that Vice President Hauber has met weekly on police matters with Chief Palmer and Manager Baity. Hauber was also instrumental in increasing police positions and providing first-responders with their first, major pay-bump in 10 years. Second, few know of Mr. Gilkey’s numerous involvements with the regional tourism board and his technical review of building plans. Thirdly, hardly anyone has heard of how Ms. Voignier negotiated a deal with Jeffersonville’s council to replace a pump station that had been neglected by the local Flood Control Board for over 50 years. The groundwork for this achievement was laid by Mr. Worrall, who quietly served as a good-faith negotiator on the Flood Control Board. Lastly, the economic vision which Mr. Stonecipher has implemented has been simply astounding, with $115 million in new construction underway.
In public policy, vision may sometimes trump experience, but historic knowledge matters. As the election approaches, we should be weary of candidates who have “failed in school,” meaning they have attended very few meetings. Few have regularly attended the very important work sessions, where the debate on future votes takes place. Sadly, most have failed to regularly attend the monthly meetings of the Redevelopment Commission. Back in school, not attending class produced a failing grade. The same should be true for those desiring to manage our affairs as a town council member.
Do you want change? There’s a saying that says, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.” In my opinion, this council is a well-oiled, efficient (team) machine. Choose new faces carefully.
— JOHN KRUEGER
Incumbent Gahan best choice for mayor
I read Randy Smith’s letter of Sept. 26 and could not disagree more with his assertions. Smith, a long-time and well-known political opponent of Mayor Gahan, seems to ignore both the profound work undertaken these past eight years to greatly enhance our city as well as the abundant mismanagement displayed by Mark Seabrook in his leadership of Floyd County during much of the same period.
Consider just some of Mayor Gahan’s accomplishments: a new aquatic center replacing an out-of-use and blighted facility; road and pedestrian improvements on Grant Line, McDonald Lane, Mt. Tabor Road, and in the downtown core; improvements to the Griffin Center; refurbishment to the Flood Control System; downtown facade improvement grants; and significant historic preservation displayed through the restoration of the Reisz Building and the Kunz-Hartman house, among others. Private investment in our city is at an all time high with several projects incentivized by the City through smart infrastructure improvements or other investments. Most importantly, these and many other projects have all been undertaken while preserving a balanced budget and an A+ credit rating.
Meanwhile, Floyd County under Mark Seabrook remained stagnate. Roads were poorly maintained and there have been no major investments in community programs. County finances were and continue to be a mess with reoccurring budget deficits, audit citations, and even the failure of the county to meet its financial obligations. Worst of all, Mr. Smith fails to note it was Mark Seabrook who, in secret backroom deals devoid of any public transparency, presided over the sale of Floyd Memorial Hospital. To this day citizens don’t know the details of other proposals presented and the decision has already had a profound effect on the community with reduced health care services.
I’m not willing to see our city go back. If we want to continue to see New Albany move forward, it is through the re-election of Jeff Gahan this November.
— PAUL DEOM