Chesterton Tribune



New Management: Commissioner President Jeff Good aims for efficiency

Back To Front Page



The Porter County Commission-ers are adopting a new tone in how they do business at their meetings.

After election as commissioner president by his peers Laura Shurr Blaney, D-South, and Jim Biggs, R-North Tuesday, Jeff Good, R-Center, said there is going to be more “deep dive” discussions at meetings and research to see how other counties in the state do their business.

Good said the commissioners started this effort in early 2016. The board is updating current policies and getting rid of those that are no longer relevant.

Policies will be better enforced from now on, he said. “It’s going to be the way this board conducts its business. This is about creating efficiency in county government,” Good told the officials in attendance.

Two large TV screens in the County Commissioners’ room will show a PowerPoint presentation of the meeting agenda as it progresses. Good also asked contractors throughout the meeting to introduce themselves and for County Attorney Scott McClure to explain contracts.

Blaney and Biggs made opening remarks as they start new four-year terms. Biggs, a former County Commissioner who has replaced longtime Commissioner John Evans on the board, said he is “really looking forward to 2017” and that the job of commissioner moves a lot faster than when he was in the seat more than 16 years ago, due in large part to technology.

Blaney, who enters her second term, said she is excited to work with her fellow commissioners and “to get the ball rolling moving in the right direction.”

Blaney will serve as the board’s vice-president for 2017 and Biggs will be the board’s secretary.

In other appointments, Biggs will serve on the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission, Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, Community Corrections Board, Juvenile Justice Board and the 911 Advisory Board. Good will serve on the Stormwater Management Advisory Board and the Emergency Management Advisory Board. Blaney will serve on the Advisory Plan Commission and the Child Protection Team.

Board and Commission appointments

Also named were the Commissioners citizen picks for local boards.

Jason Gilliana, who owns Gilliana Pools in Valparaiso, was reappointed as the Commissioners’ representative on the Porter County Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

The board approved the reappointment of Lisa Wodrich to the County Tourism Commission nominated by the towns of Chesterton, Porter and Burns Harbor. The Commissioners’ three appointments to the PCCRVC are Jesse Harper of JBH Productions, Cathi Brown of Valpo Velvet Ice Cream and Portage attorney Patrick McEuen.

Reappointed on the Board of Health are physician John Forchetti and nurse Kathryn Lemmon.

Former County Council member Bob Poparad is reappointed to the Plan Commission.

County Engineer Mike Novotney will represent the Commissioners on the Kankakee River Basin Commission.

John Patterson will serve on the Stormwater Management Advisory Board.

McKay to lead Co. Highway Dept.

In other matters, the Commissioners announced that Andy McKay will be the permanent superintendent for the County Highway Department.

McKay took over as interim superintendent after David James retired in October.

Good said the County did a candidate search with interviews but found McKay was the best fit.

The Commissioners will next be looking for an assistant superintendent for the department and someone to manage the County garage in the north district.

Coinciding with McKay’s appointment, Good said the County Engineering Department, which has been housed in the County garage on Ind. 2 with the Highway Department, will be moved to the second floor of the County Administration Building in downtown Valparaiso. It will be connected to the Department of Development and Stormwater Management.

Good said this will provide customer service in that applicants for building permits will no longer have to drive to the highway garage to get what they need.

“It’s all going to be handled in one place,” Good said, emphasizing this is being done for government to be efficient.


The Commissioners voted 3-0 to hire employee benefits consultant R.E. Sutton and Associates of Brownsburg, Ind. to study the County’s employee health plan. The consulting agreement is for $8,000.

Good said the Commissioners want to learn how the insurance plan is working so they can have a clearer picture when it comes time to renew the plan in April.

The Commissioners also will be looking at ways to revamp its insurance for automobiles and workman’s comp.

Other approvals made by the Commissioners:

-- General service agreements with American StructurePoint and grant writer Katie Sanders.

-- Sheriff’s Department contracts with Mitsubishi UPS Systems Group maintenance agreement and the Indiana State Department of Toxicology Evidentiary Breath Test Instrument maintenance agreement.

A sixth payment for the jail security project of $82,090 was approved.

-- The Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District’s fee collection agreement.

-- A second reading of an ordinance to create a non-reverting fund for the receipt of court ordered detention service fees for the Juvenile Services Center.

-- The Porter County Right to Life organization got permission from the Commissioners to use the north side of the Courthouse grounds for its prayer vigil at noon on Saturday, Jan. 21.



Posted 1/11/2017




Search This Site:

Custom Search