Local officials sworn in

By Joseph Slacian

Officials from the City of Wabash and the towns of LaFontaine and Lagro received their oaths of office during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 31, at Wabash City Hall.

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Chris Goff and Wabash Circuit Court Judge Bob McCallen III administered the oaths to the elected officials.

Mayor Scott Long, City Court Judge Tim Roberts and Clerk-Treasurer Wendy Frazier were sworn in, along with Wabash City Council members Mitch Figert (District 1), David Monroe (District 2), Terry Brewer (District 3), Susan Bonfitto (District 4), Doug Adams (District 5) and Bryan Dillon and John Burnsworth (At-Large seats).

Sworn in from LaFontaine were Clerk-Treasurer Diana Heath, Deputy Clerk-Treasurer Pam Whitener, and Town Board members Lori Brane, Jay Gillespie and Ernest John Krhin.

Lagro Clerk-Treasurer Kristie Bone also was sworn in.

Long recognized outgoing council members Eric Schoening, Bob Greene, Marc Shelley and Bonnie Corn with plaques.

He also gave the oaths of office to the city's department heads – Building Commissioner Jim Straws, Fire Chief Barry Stroup, Park Superintendent Adam Hall, Police Chief Matt Bruss, Street Superintendent Scott Richardson and Wastewater Superintendent Bob Gray.

Long also swore in Stephen Dafoe, the city's latest appointment to the Wabash City Schools Board.

In his closing remarks, Long said Jan. 1, 2016, the day he took office, seemed like a distant memory.

“But it also seems like only yesterday,” he added.

During the ensuing four years, “things have certainly changed for the better,” he said, noting that Goff was Wabash Superior Court judge at the time of that swearing in, and has since been named an Indiana Supreme Court justice.

Long said when he assumed office, there were some personnel matters that needed immediate attention, and he did so, “appointing department heads that I knew would run the city’s departments efficiently and responsibly. They have served me well, and they remain in place today.”

“My department heads and employees run the ship that is the City of Wabash,” Long said. “I’m considered the captain of the ship, and for the most part stay out of the way, only making minor course corrections as they are needed. I don’t micromanage. It’s not my style.”

He did announce one change in the departments, naming Doug Lehman the City Attorney, replacing Randi Zimmerman. The mayor wished Zimmerman well in her private practice.

“When I took office, I wanted to put the City of Wabash on the map, so to speak” Long continued. “This is accomplished by being a champion and cheerleader for the city, our partners and our citizens.”

He noted that he frequently attends meetings at various locations around the state.

“These meetings built relationships that benefit the city, be it funding from the State of Indiana, or foreign exchange student opportunities for our schools,” Long said.

As a member of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership “we lead in most areas, from housing to workforce development opportunities,” Long said. “Many of these efforts wouldn’t be successful without the local partnerships of Visit Wabash County, Grow Wabash County, Wabash Marketplace, the towns of LaFontaine, Lagro, North Manchester, Roann and Wabash County. And last, but certainly not least, the Community Foundation of Wabash County and our school corporations.”

Much has been accomplished over the last four years, the mayor continued, but there is much more to be accomplished.

“Our infrastructure from pipes in the grounds, the streets and sidewalks have been vastly improved over the last four years, and we will continue to improve them over the next four years,” he said. “We’re taking a systematic approach to mandated improvements to our sewer system, and repaving streets with the help of the State of Indiana’s Community Crossings program.”

Coming in the next few years, he said, will be a railroad overpass, made available through another state program, Local Trax.

“We’re the envy of many in our state,” Long said. “We have completed the extension of a road in our Northeast Business Park, allowing access to 90-plus acres of land that is ready for development.

“We are ready and open for business at a level than we have been in the past. We are currently developing housing opportunities at different sites in the city, to include the former site of Parkview Wabash Hospital, and the former General Tire/GDX sites. Both of these sites are not without their challenges, but like with everything else, we will tackle those challenges head on as a group and overcome them.”

Serving as emcee for the event was Christine Flohr, tourism director for Visit Wabash County, while Brandon Eaton, pastor at Wabash Friends Church, gave the invocation.

Posted on 2020 Jan 07