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Public Works director named Merrillville town manager

Updated: May 30, 2013 2:09PM



MERRILLVILLE--Two weeks after naming Public Works director Bruce Spires the interim town administrator, the Town Council gave him a permanent promotion with a new title.

The council Tuesday voted 6-0 to promote Spires to the new position of town manager/director of municipal operations. Councilman Tom Goralczyk, D-3rd, chair of the personnel policy and employee benefits committee, said Spires’ new salary has not yet been determined, but he expects Spires will get a raise.

Goralczyk said some of Spires’ salary will be paid out of the Public Works budget, which will result in a savings in the general fund. He said town officials will decide how to use the extra funds as it works on its next budget.

Spires will continue to share duties of both Public Works director and town manager, probably working a 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift, Goralczyk said.

“He’s done an excellent job for the street department and he’ll do a good job for us,” Goralczyk said of Spires, who was at a job-related conference in Columbus on Tuesday.

Goralczyk said he doesn’t know of any other applications submitted for the position. Spires replaces former town administrator Howard Fink, who left to take another job in a different state.

Spires has been with the town on and off for more than 25 years total, starting out as summer help while in college. He was named Public Works director 12 years ago. He also served as the director for a period in the 1990s.

He said he left for the private sector for about seven years.

In other matters, Police Chief Joseph Petruch said he hopes to hire five additional police officers within the next couple of weeks. He said he applied for another C.O.P.S. grant, which can be used to hire additional officers, a school resource officer and veterans on the force.

The town has been looking for resources to pay for additional police officers through various taxes, including a hotel/motel tax, but was prohibited from doing so by state law.

The council also voted 6-0 to allow resident Judy Stevens, of the 9400 block of Randolph Street, permission to keep her one horse after it was determined the horse is well-kept and she has sufficient acreage.

Stevens has had the horse for awhile, but town officials only became aware of it after a unanimous person wrote a letter expressing concern over the animal’s well-being. A variance is needed to keep a horse in town limits.

“I’m very impressed from what I saw regarding the care of your animal,” Council President Carol Miano, D-3rd, told Stevens.

The council also approved a variance to allow Robert Wolf to operate a used car dealership at 8602 Mississippi St., provided it is limited to 10 cars on display and the gravel area at the north end of the lot be paved.



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