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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

News & Updates

Mayoral statement on removal of Historic Preservation Commission members

With so much misinformation happening about the recent actions I took regarding two members of our Historic Preservation Commission, I am setting the record straight.

First and foremost, my removal of the HPC vice chairman last week and the chairman yesterday is NOT about lap siding on a building. Rather, my decision to remove these two gentlemen from their positions is about their disrespect towards and attempts to bully a developer, their four-month delay in communication with the builder and the potential violation of Indiana’s open door law by their failure to properly advertise a change in last week’s meeting location, resulting in confusion and a missed opportunity by those wanting to attend the meeting.

The Ironmen Properties representative waited four months, from April 19 to August 16 to hear back in writing from the HPC regarding the materials they wanted used on the Nickel Plate Flats building, all the while having offered to comply with what would be desired. A developer having to wait four months for basic information to move a major project forward certainly is not in line with Frankfort’s open for business approach.

On top of their failure to communicate in a timely manner, the communication that was displayed by these two HPC members in meetings has been dismissive, rude and entirely unprofessional.

Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was the HPC’s inexplicable decision to move their August 31 meeting location from the spacious new conference room on the main floor of Old Stoney to the Council Chambers in the basement without proper advance notification to the media and clear posting of the new location well before the meeting.

Important information was discussed at this meeting and votes were taken, so it was crucial that those who wanted to be there should have known in advance of the location change.

Bottom line: I will not tolerate the behavior exhibited by the two former HPC members. Their lack of respect, professionalism, diplomacy, communications and transparency flies in the face of everything our administration has stood for the past six years.

Our leadership team – from our city councilors to Board of Public Works to Redevelopment Commission to Hearing Authority to our department heads work very hard to move our community forward. A significant reason for their individual group success and our overall progress lies in our commitment to treating people with respect, acting in a professional, mature manner and always remembering that we are in our roles representing the Frankfort community and those we serve.

One of the leadership tenants I believe in strongly is that everyone who serves on a board or commission is entitled to their own opinion and to disagree with mine. It is through a deep and broad range of input and feedback that the best ideas are borne. In many cases, I have deliberately appointed individuals to various roles because I knew they had a different viewpoint than mine. Case in point, these two HPC members fit into this category.

That said, the situation with the removal of the two HPC members is not a difference of opinion, but rather it is about repeated violations of the principles our administration believes in and holds sacred. I will not allow any member of one of our boards or commissions to treat anyone with disrespect and unprofessionalism and when I see it happening, I have – and will – take appropriate action.

Mayor Chris McBarnes