At least one candidate for Gary council member’s soon-to-be-open seat
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent April 3, 2013 4:58PM
Updated: April 3, 2013 9:48PM
GARY — At least one person is eyeing the First District Common Council seat amid speculation over whether Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas will resign prior to April 18.
Herbert Smith Jr., 55, of the city’s Aetna section, confirmed with the Post-Tribune Wednesday he will run for Krusas’ seat. He has previously run for City Clerk and State Representative, and serves as First District Precinct Committee Chair.
A businessman for 25 years, first as a bail bondsman and now as the president and CEO of ICU Court Monitoring LLC in Merrillville, which he said is the sole provider of house-arrest equipment and services to Lake County, Smith feels his business experience will be invaluable to the council.
“In my lifetime, I want to see change in the city, and I believe we can get there,” he said. “I believe in metrics measuring, and I believe that would work in the city, because the trial-and-error way of doing things they use now isn’t working.”
Smith said he’d never considered running against Krusas, who’s held the seat since 2000, because residents appeared to be satisfied with her record and performance. Indeed, he admired her himself.
“Marilyn asked a lot of questions and had a lot of good business sense, and to that end, I want to continue in her footsteps,” Smith said. “I’m a thinker.”
A second name touted for the seat, Irene Smith-King, wife of attorney and former Gary Mayor Scott King, has also been bandied out for the position. But that’s a rumor, Smith-King said.
“That is not true. I have no interest in the position,” Smith-King said Wednesday.
Sources also said Mildred Shannon, who’s the First District Precinct Vice Chair and the vice president of the Genesis Center Board of Directors, will run. Shannon didn’t return calls for comment.
Krusas’ seat will be vacated April 18, when she pleads guilty to one count of tax evasion in the U.S. District Court in Hammond. She was charged last fall with not paying her federal income taxes since 1991 and then hiding $232,000 she received in 2009 to avoid paying her taxes.
Krusas faces up to five years in prison.
The Lake County Democratic Party has 30 days from the time the seat is vacated to fill the position.