Porter County Council member Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, will lead the Council in
Rivas was elected President by his peers unanimously at the reorganizational
meeting Monday after a nomination made by Council member Dan Whitten, D-At
Large. Whitten had been the board’s president for the last three years.
A nomination by Council member Jim Biggs, R-1st, the Council’s new
Vice-President is Jim Polarek, R-4th.
Hot off a contentious election year including arguments with the Board of
Commissioners, Rivas asked his fellow Council members to make the effort for
better communication and cooperation with the Commissioners in 2013.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do. We have some big tasks ahead of us,” Rivas
Council member Karen Conover, R-3rd, put in her two cents saying that “the
two groups need to hold hands” in facing challenges. “The bantering back and
forth is getting us nowhere,” she said.
Even Biggs, whose past critiques have put blame on the commissioners for an
assortment of issues, said “this year will be very different,” and the
addition of Council member Robert Poparad, D-At Large, will “bring a lot of
For his first official action as the new president, Rivas formed a new
committee consisting of himself, Biggs, Poparad and County Auditor Robert
Wichlinski which will meet monthly to address issues involving the County’s
General Fund budget.
In other reorganizing matters, the Council named their citizen appointments
to various boards. Rudy Sutton was unanimously chosen to represent the
Council on the Alcoholic Beverage Commission again this year.
Retained on the Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals will be Vicki
There will be a new member on the County Board of Zoning Appeals. With six
votes, Michael Young will be the Council’s new appointment, replacing Luther
Williams who received one vote from Conover.
Meanwhile, there was another split vote 5-2 for the Council’s appointment to
the Chesterton Economic Development Commission. Members Rivas, Polarek,
Biggs, Conover, and Sylvia Graham, D-At Large, voted in favor of Lloyd
Kittredge for the spot while Paul Shinn, who was the Council’s pick last
year, received two votes from Whitten and Poparad.
The Council named Mike Sarver to the Portage EDC and Pat McGinley to the
Later, the Council members chose which boards they would sit on. Poparad
will be on the County Plan Commission this year, replacing Graham. Polarek
will again be the appointment for the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan
Commission. Graham will be on the Northern Indiana Transportation Commuter
District and the Porter County Council on Aging. Conover will be retained
for the Recycling and Waste District. Whitten and Graham will serve on the
Emergency Management Authority. Biggs will be the appointment for the
Juvenile Justice Advisory Board.
Liaison appointments, to name a few, included Whitten for the Animal
Shelter, Polarek and Rivas for the Assessor’s Office, Polarek and Poparad
for the Auditor’s Office, Rivas and Conover for the Commissioner’s Office,
Rivas, Polarek and Poparad for E-911/Public Safety, Whitten, Rivas and Biggs
for the Jail/Sheriff, Polaerk and Whitten for the Expo Center, Biggs and
Poparad for the Memorial Opera House, Rivas and Polarek for the Parks
Department, Poparad and Graham for the Highway Department and the Plan
The Council voted 7-0 to table its appointment to the Northwest Indiana
Regional Development Authority. Polarek made the recommendation saying the
appointment is a joint decision with the Commissioners and they still need
to discuss it instead of having two different appointments.
Also, the Council voted 7-0 to keep Scott McClure of Rhame & Elwood LLC on
as its attorney.
The Council will
still meet this month for its regular monthly meeting on the fourth Tuesday,
Jan. 22 at 5:30 p.m.