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Kokomo Mayor Backs Township Consolidation Plan; Trustee Objects

Kokomo’s mayor says he’s behind a plan to cut the number Howard County township trustees. But one trustee says the move is not as simple as it might sound.

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Howard County officials are considering eliminating some elected officials.

Kokomo’s mayor is behind a plan to cut by more than half the number of township trustees in Howard County.  But a current trustee says the move is not as simple as it might sound.

It’s no secret Greg Goodnight is a fan of consolidation.  His plan to merge city and county emergency dispatch centers has met with approval from both a citizen-led committee and the Kokomo Common Council and is on track to be implemented.  So when Goodnight was asked on WFIU’s “Ask The Mayor” whether he favors a plan to consolidate the county’s 11 townships into just five, he responded by recalling a question of his own.

“I’ve stood in front of a Rotary group of about a hundred people and I asked ‘Who here could name every elected official that represents them?’,” the mayor said.  “From your district city council and district county council to your city council and county council at large.  Your state senator…it gets pretty cumbersome for those people like myself that are involved in it, let alone the average person.”

But Monroe Township Trustee David Reser, who’s served for 28 years, said calls for the elimination of trustee positions only show a lack of understanding.

“ I kind of believe that a majority of the people don’t realize the duties of a trustee and they just don’t understand the job.  They’re making comments that [aren’t] true, that’s all there is to it,” Reser said.

Reser echoeed arguments made by trustees across the state who have been faced with the elimination of their jobs, saying township trustees are too close to the people they serve to be eliminated and adding the job of serving a larger area might be too hard for whatever elected official replaces him.

“They just wouldn’t have time to take care of everybody like we do.  Wouldn’t be as personal.”

If approved, the plan would the five new townships along  existing school district boundaries.

Stan Jastrzebski

WFIU/WTIU News Senior Editor Stan Jastrzebski spent time as a reporter with WGN Radio in Chicago and as an editor at Network Indiana, an Indianapolis news service. Stan is the winner of awards from the Associated Press, the RTDNA, the Indiana Broadcasters Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. He hosts WFIU's Ask the Mayor and anchors WTIU's InFocus.

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