Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Opinion

August 17, 2013

Does Goshen really need a deputy mayor? Maybe ... maybe not

GOSHEN — A proposal favored by Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman has some merit, and The Goshen News isn’t opposed to it. Still, we’re hard-pressed to understand the urgency. Goshen City Council members recently reviewed a proposed ordinance establishing the position of deputy mayor. This mayoral appointment would serve in the mayor’s place if he or she is out of the area for an extended period, ill or injured.

As of yet, Goshen doesn’t have a deputy mayor. As such, state law requires the mayor to select a fill-in from current City Council members, and the selection must be announced publicly at a Board of Public Works and Safety meeting. Kauffman said he sees potential risk to his family and property in publicly announcing he’s out of town. He has a point.

Under the proposed ordinance, the mayor would only have to inform the city clerk-treasurer and City Council president of an absence. There would also be a broader range of potential deputies from which to choose. City Council members voted the ordinance down in a 4-3 split. A crisis for the Maple City? Hardly. We’ve managed without a deputy mayor this long, and can stand to wait until another proposal is successful, if ever.

Modern mayors can be reached by cell phone and e-mail; The News has never found Kauffman to lack for accessibility. Circa 2013, leading from afar isn’t a problem should an issue arise needing a mayor’s attention.

Council members raised concerns about the proposal, prominent among them just how much leeway the mayor should be given in selecting a deputy. Potential partisanship in a deputy pick was another issue.

Let’s address the political angle. Kauffman would likely favor a fellow Democrat as deputy mayor. He’d also no doubt like to see a Democrat as Goshen’s next elected mayor. Kauffman has announced he’s serving his final term in office. Speculation that he would appoint a fill-in as a way to boost an election profile isn’t out of line.

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Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

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