Collaboration or Control? Electing a Decision-Maker

choice-signThis year as you go to the polls on election day you’re not just casting a ballot for a particular political party or person. When you mark your ballot for Mayor of Charlestown you’re electing the decision maker you want leading Charlestown for the next four years.

It is impossible for people to avoid being political today. We either decide to weigh the merits of our candidates and cast our vote accordingly, or we decide not to vote and accept other people’s choices – either way we make a decision.

Inaction is as much a choice as action.

The decision-making ethic of the person who serves as mayor of Charlestown is important because it drives public policy, the usefulness of which depends upon the needs of the community – your needs – OUR needs. If leaders are removed from the public whom they serve then the effectiveness of their decision making is difficult to measure. Successful policies depend upon establishing the widest possible consensus among community members.

Consensus-building is an essential characteristic of a good leader because many Americans, and a large number of Charlestown voters, identify themselves as “moderate,” “independent,” or admit that they don’t think it wise to vote political party over PERSON. A leader who will not consider the opinions, experience, or knowledge of others is ineffective. Seeking consensus is only possible through healthy civic debate and inquiry. Good decisions cannot be made in isolation.

At the heart of every political campaign is the central question:

Should the candidate be elected?

In order to answer that question voters must seek the measure of the candidate’s character by assessing his or her record and position on issues affecting the community. 

As we move toward this year’s mayoral election voters might consider the decision-making strategy of the candidates. Do you prefer a mayor who makes decisions in private or seeks public input? Do you think major projects should begin at the personal whims of the executive or after a careful analysis of need? Do you think that growth should be measured in quantity or quality? 

My decision-making style is rooted in collaboration. I do not take lightly the responsibility of serving as city executive. I do not think that decisions that involve your tax dollars or that affect your daily lives should be made without full due diligence. I do not make decisions in isolation based on what I think is best, but rather in full cooperation with others.

I’ll leave you with an example to demonstrate how my decision-making process differs from our current leadership. 

Screen Shot 2019-04-22 at 10.08.49 PMOn April 15, the City of Charlestown announced that we are the recipients of a Community Crossings Grant for street paving in the amount of $941,000. The announcement credits the Mayor and City Council for receiving the grant and lists the streets that will be paved.

On the surface, this announcement seems like a great thing. “Free money for Charlestown!” some might think. 

But before you celebrate, look closely at the decision-making process that this project represents.

I attend every public meeting the city offers – Board of Public Works, Redevelopment Commission, Common Council, and Planning and Zoning.

  • At no point has there ever been public involvement in the decision to apply for this grant.
  • At no point was an analysis presented to show which streets need paving and which are fine as they stand.
  • At no point was there mention of an agreement with Indiana American Water that paving should take place now rather than wait until our water lines are repaired.
  • At no point was there mention that this is a matching grant and we must provide additional funding.

As Mayor of Charlestown I will not make decisions that affect citizens in the solitude of my office in City Hall. You have my promise that I will work in collaboration with qualified experts, residents, and the Common Council to Keep Charlestown First.