By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Thursday night marked the last time Goshen City Council president Tom Stump sat as a member of the council, but that won’t limit his presence in Goshen, he said Friday morning.
Stump gathered with members of the city’s staff and the public at Mayor Allan Kauffman’s annual Holiday Open House at the mayor’s office in City Hall. He spoke to the crowd, thanking those he worked with during his 21-year tenure on the council.
“I also wanted to thank the citizens of Goshen for electing me six times to this office,” Stump said.
Stump will remain on the city’s Redevelopment Commission as he begins his time as an Elkhart County Council at-large member. He said he hopes to be able to make working relationships with the county government easier.
“I’m hoping to take the experience I have in government over the years, with both the City Council and the Redevelopment Commission,” Stump said after his speech. “We’ve been able to solve problems. I think I’ll be able to fit in and give ideas, or at least give them the Goshen perspective.”
Many well-wishers stopped by to visit with Stump and Kauffman. Park and Recreation Superintendent Sheri Howland said she will miss working with Stump.
“I’ve always appreciated the times I’ve worked with Tom,” Howland said Friday morning. “You can depend on him for sound advice, and he’s always willing to listen, no matter the situation. He’s always very fair to everyone involved.”
Kauffman also had good things to say about Stump, stating he felt that, even though they didn’t always see eye to eye, they worked well together on many occasions.
“I’ve served a long time with Tom, and we’ve come to respect each other,” Kauffman said. “He’s willing to listen to the people, and he’s not so entrenched in his initial idea that he’s not willing to change his mind. He does sincerely take people’s ideas and opinions to heart.”
Kauffman said he believes Stump is “not shy about expressing his opinion.”
“I think he’ll be a good addition to the County Council,” Kauffman continued. “He’s a forward thinker.”
Stump worked on many projects during his time on the City Council, he said, but the two he believes will be longest lasting were the preservations of City Hall and the Annex Building, the latter of which was the former Goshen High School but now houses city offices.
“It was a controversial issue at the time, and it was a lot of money, but I felt they had to be preserved,” Stump said.
Councilwoman Dixie Robinson said she believes the council’s work on the Goshen Housing Authority bailout was the most important thing she and Stump dealt with while serving together.
“There were a lot of people not in favor of it, but I think we did the right thing and I think a lot of people think that now,” she said.
Robinson said that having only served on the council for five years has left her with questions and in need of advice, and she has turned to Stump.
“He’s been a good leader,” she said. “He’s a businessman in town, and he knows what it’s like in Goshen... I would hope the county and city would start working better together (during Stump’s time on the County Council). He’ll have a good view from both sides. He does a good job no matter what he’s involved in.”