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Letter: Commission, city council need to remain separate

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of Daily Journal.

John A. Peters


To the editor:

The front page Journal report of Dec. 21-22 about the Greenwood board left a very bad taste in my mouth. I was initially appalled that a longtime, extremely competent redevelopment commission member, Garnet Vaughn, was voted out of her spot on the board. Then to discover she was replaced by city council member Thom Hord was more than I could stomach.

First of all, I find it disturbing that the RDC has two city council members on it. The RDC oversees the spending of millions of tax dollars from Greenwood residents and businesses. The members are not elected officials, yet their fiscal responsibility to the Greenwood community is enormous.

Last year, Greenwood lost its long-time city pool, and a committee was established to propose a plan for a replacement. Thom Hord headed this committee and from the onset pushed for relocation to Freedom Park. When the plan was presented to the council, the pool committee had not agreed to the Freedom Park location.

However, Thom Hord presented that as the only solution. The price tag of $10 million for the pool was referred to the RCD in hopes of using tax-increment financing money to fund it. Chairwoman Vaughn voiced several concerns that needed to be explored prior to giving approval.

I salute someone wanting to ensure the expenditure is supported in law/statute, etc. I want someone to take their time making these important decisions on spending millions of dollars. Thom Hord was vocal about what he deemed as unwarranted delay. It was evident he was ready to spend the money for what he wanted. He has not proven to be someone to take time spending money.

Most importantly, the RDC and city council should remain separate units representing “checks and balances” with the expenditure of Greenwood city tax money. When the council put one member on the RDC to be able to express and expound on city council’s recommendations to the RDC, this appeared to be a rational decision. Now to have two council members on the RDC is tantamount to strong arm tactics to ensure council desires are approved.

Hord championed ousting an individual with years of experience who demonstrated calm deliberation before spending millions of tax dollars and then has himself put in her stead. Mr. Hord runs the Hope Center (The Refuge), serves as a paid elected city council representative and is now a member of the RDC.

It is hard for me to envision how he can give adequate time to each. In addition, it is difficult to believe that he could serve as a RDC member without bias on issues that the city council desires.

Clearly Greenwood is having too much “Hord!”

We need to restore the “checks and balances” to the RDC and remove the additional city council representative from the RDC. In fact, we should consider removing all city council representatives as voting members of the RDC.

The RDC only has five members. One city council representative constituted 20 percent of the membership. Now two representatives means that the RDC has       40 percent city council membership. There can be no “checks and balances” with this composition. In addition, Vaughn should be restored to her position so that faith in the RDC can continue.

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