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Deputy mayor proposed for city: Greenwood post not expected to add staff or spending

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Greenwood’s mayor wants a second-in-command so he can spend less time reviewing policies and more time on big projects, such as a new interstate exit.

Mayor Mark Myers wants to create a new deputy mayor position so he can focus on bringing more businesses and jobs, pursuing more funding and planning major projects. He wants to change director of operations Terry McLaughlin’s title to deputy mayor, put McLaughlin in charge of more city departments and more day-to-day operations and ask him to give the Greenwood City Council more input from the administration.

McLaughlin, a former Johnson County sheriff, would have added responsibilities but would not get a pay increase. The director of operations position would be eliminated.

Council members said they had concerns with the proposal, such as that creating a new position would increase the size of city government. But council member Ron Bates said that changing an employee’s title wasn’t as objectionable as if the city were to have both a deputy mayor and a director of operations or increase spending on salaries. The council will consider the proposal at Monday’s meeting.

“I’ve got mixed emotions,” he said. “My first concern was more government, but it’s the same person with a different title that confers more clout, responsibility and authority. I’d ask why we need one, but I’m much more comfortable with it just as long as we’re not adding another position.”

Council member Bruce Armstrong said he had questions, such as if the deputy mayor would have to live in city limits since he could temporarily serve as mayor if Myers were unable to for any reason. A caucus ultimately would appoint a permanent replacement if needed, but the deputy mayor would run the city in the meantime.

Council members occasionally questioned the need for a director of operations as the mayor’s second-in-command during the administration of Mayor Charles Henderson. They asked whether he was doing work the mayor should have been doing.

Myers had said while running for election in the Republican primary last year that he saw no need for a deputy mayor. But the need became apparent after he took office and got used to the job, he said.

“I have found over the last 11 months that the demands on your time can be kind of crazy,” he said. “I need more time to work on the bigger projects — Worthsville Road, the Interstate 65 exit, the Presnell building, sanitation and stormwater issues — those types of things. It would give me more time to do business development.”

Bates said he doesn’t want the administration to come back in a year or two and propose hiring another director of operations in addition to a deputy mayor or any significant pay increase. McLaughlin would continue to make $72,500 a year under the proposal.

Greenwood would have a deputy mayor for the first time. The city wasn’t able to have a deputy mayor under Indiana law before, until it became a second-class city last year. Indianapolis has several deputy mayors, and Anderson and Westfield have had deputy mayors. Franklin, Carmel, Muncie and Lafayette do not.

Myers said he hoped having a deputy mayor would free him up to meet more with business owners who might expand in or relocate operations to Greenwood. He wants to focus more on economic development and bringing more jobs to Greenwood.

For example, he would meet more with the owners of existing businesses and see if the city could do anything to help them grow.

Turning over more of the day-to-day administrative tasks also would give Myers more time to lobby state and federal lawmakers for funding.

“I want to reach out more to see what I can do for the city,” he said.

He’ll also ask McLaughlin to improve communication between his administration and the city council. He said he hoped his office would have more input on city council policies, such as whether residents should be allowed to feed wild animals.

McLaughlin also would meet with engineers, architects and other consultants who often insist on meeting with the mayor about various projects, Myers said. He said they’d be more likely to accept a meeting with a deputy mayor than a director of operations because of the heft of the title.

As director of operations, McLaughlin currently oversees the street department, the city’s fleet of vehicles and utilities, Myers said. As deputy mayor, he’ll oversee all the city departments. For instance, he would oversee the rewriting of human resources policies that haven’t been updated in years, such as employee drug testing and accident reviews, Myers said.

Department directors would report to McLaughlin instead of Myers, but the mayor said he’d still meet with all the directors weekly. He also would talk to McLaughlin daily to offer input on the day-to-day affairs, he said.

“I’ve known Terry for 30-plus years and put total trust in him,” he said. “He’s capable of handling the day-to-day operations while I need to focus on growing the community and pursuing a lot of the new opportunities.”

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