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Porter Council votes for new president, vice prez

Updated: April 13, 2013 6:23AM



VALPARAISO — The Porter County Council saw a change in leadership Monday, as a majority of council members said that, with Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd District, as president, the council was not working with commissioners or moving forward on financial matters.

The council has yet to approve $8 million in county economic development income tax funding this year, tying up the Board of Commissioners’ ability to tackle an assortment of projects.

“I feel as if I was elected to help make certain that county government runs smoothly and efficiently,” said Sylvia Graham, D-At-large, before voting for Bob Poparad, D-At-large, as the new council president, and Karen Conover, R-3rd District, as vice president.

The switch was made with a 4-3 vote. Jim Polarek, R-4th District, had served as vice president.

“I’ve become very uncomfortable with the direction this board is taking lately,” said Dan Whitten, D-At-large, who made the motion to reorganize the council and went on to name Poparad as president and Conover as vice president.

Councilman Jim Biggs, R-1st District, wondered what the point of the change was before voting against it. Toward the end of the meeting, he praised the job Rivas has done since being elected in early January.

“I thought Jeremy was representing this board well, and Mr. Polarek as well, and I thought we were well on our way,” he said. “He was never really given a chance.”

But other members were ready for a change.

“I feel absolutely terrible about this, and I don’t think it’s ever been done in our county government,” Conover said, adding her vote for the change came with both a heavy heart and conscience. “We must approve our budget so we can pay our bills on time.”



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