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Commentary: Andrew Steele: Circumstances change, but municipalities can’t

Updated: April 9, 2013 12:57PM



The Lake County municipality reached its peak in the 1950s, but slowly declined in following decades to the point that it is struggling to maintain its long-term financial security, recently hoping for an industrial development that would boost its fortunes and secure its future.

No, not Gary, but the town at the opposite end of the county, and in many ways the opposite end of the social spectrum, Schneider.

The apparent demise of a plan to bring a trash-to-ethanol plant to the small town is not a surprise at this point, but town officials and residents can’t be blamed for having been hopeful until the end.

To a certain extent, and despite their vast differences, Schneider and Gary are both examples of the way decisions made in completely different times, in completely different circumstances, can structure issues and problems today. Neither municipality should continue as it was created — neither would be created today as they are, if they could start fresh. But both will have to find ways to keep going.

One other observation about Schneider: It reached its heyday when U.S. 41 went through it. Being part of “drive-through” territory can bring activity that provides a financial foundation that can be invaluable to towns without much else.

Carmel Clay considering former
CPHS principal for superintendent

Carmel Clay Schools are in the process of choosing a new superintendent and one of the finalists is Eric Ban, former Crown Point High School principal.

Carmel is down to three finalists. Ban is currently senior vice president of academic partnerships with Best Associates and founder of College Acceleration Network.

The other finalists are Bruce Hibbard, superintendent of New Albany Floyd County schools, and Mary Ann Dewan, executive director of Central Indiana Educational Services Center.

These three doctors of education are surely well-qualified to function in the jargon-rich education environment of a wealthy suburb.

The hiring will be subject to the new requirement that a superintendent’s contract be published once it’s been negotiated.

There are lots of education administrators who have had great success and done good things for students, but perhaps their biggest accomplishment, made collectively, is to narrow the market for themselves to such a great degree their compensation seems out-of-whack enough to make a rule like that necessary.

Carmel Clay is just doing the same thing everyone else does. But it’s important to keep in mind that there’s a basic supply-and-demand process in action that largely defines the compensation these employees get. Unless the supply is increased, the compensation won’t change.



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