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> Parks Dept suspends two coaches
Southsider2k12
post Sep 22 2008, 12:07 PM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=48389.91

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Coaches suspended from parks activities

Laurie Wink
The News-Dispatch

MICHIGAN CITY - Two coaches have been suspended from Michigan City Park & Recreation youth activities and the Baseball Player's Association for one year.

The suspensions were effective Aug. 7.

Then-Michigan City Park Superintendent Darrell Garbacik suspended youth travel baseball head coach Scott Kaletha and assistant coach Mike Schwanke. They have requested separate closed appeal hearings with the park board.

The hearings have been scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 2, following the park board meeting. Kaletha said he looks forward to the opportunity to meet with the park board.

"The suspension was handed down on the opinion of one person," Kaletha said, referring to Garbacik. "He's the one who did this so-called investigation. I'm very confident that the truth will come out and the suspension will be overturned. I will have statements and witnesses that will refute the opinion of the superintendent."

Garbacik suspended the coaches for allowing inappropriate language to be used by adults and boys on teams under their direction. The language was apparently directed. They also were cited for ignoring ethics codes. They have denied any wrongdoing.

Garbacik's decision came after a two-month investigation that started with complaints a 12-year-old baseball player was being harassed. The boy's parents contacted Garbacik in June after finding out their son was being called names such as "gay, fag, homo and queer" by other players.

Kaletha told Garbacik he was aware of the comments, but called it "joking and humor" and "just boys being boys."

Both coaches said the comments had been made for some time, but they denied participating in the harassment. However, Kaletha said he often engages in name-calling with players and said it was a common practice among coaches when he was a young player to use words such as "homo and fag."

Garbacik said, "I explained to the coach that in today's society, one's personal orientations, religious beliefs, etc., are protected and nothing to ever joke about."

Kaletha defended himself, saying he hadn't done anything wrong and didn't feel the language and behavior was wrong.

According to Garbacik, the harassment began after Kaletha and some boys drove by and allegedly saw the targeted boy and another boy wrestling with each other. After Kaletha and the boys saw the two wrestling, rumors began that the wrestling took place in the nude, an account that was never substantiated.

After that, Kaletha and the boys began joking about what they supposedly saw, and the harassing behavior continued at baseball events and elsewhere.

Garbacik said he asked adults who were involved with youth sports for their observations about Kaletha. The consensus was that Kaletha generously volunteered his time and is good at teaching fundamentals, but acts as if "his way is the only way, and he doesn't care what anyone else thinks."

While Garbacik was still conducting his investigation, Kaletha and Schwanke were ejected from a June Baseball Player's Association tournament for 9-year-old baseball players in Warsaw, Ind.

Garbacik attended the BPA Indiana State Tournament game there, during which Kaletha and Schwanke yelled at officials and accused members of the opposing team of intentionally hitting their players with pitches and running into them on bases. Schwanke was ejected first, Garbacik reported, causing Kaletha to begin "a tirade of arguing with the umpires." After ignoring a warning to stop his behavior, Kaletha was ejected as well.

In Garbacik's report, the coaches reportedly told their players to throw at Warsaw players, and that Kaletha and Schwanke challenged the opposing coaches to a fight.

In a subsequent meeting with the coaches, Garbacik said he asked if they read the Lakefront Little League Code of Conduct and the BPA Harassment Policy. Kaletha reportedly said all coaches violate the codes, and the BPA umpires were at fault for letting the game "get out of hand."

"The head coach (Kaletha) has in fact changed his accounts and versions," Garbacik said in his report, "and I believe has intentionally and methodically tried to sway and mislead others to join his cause for his sole and personal benefit, while not taking the best interest of young participants into account."

Schwanke was suspended for knowing about and participating in the harassment.

Park Board Attorney Patrick Donoghue said the coaches are entitled to bring their own attorneys to the Oct. 2 appeal hearings, but must let the park board know in advance in order to arrange legal counsel for park department employees.

The Park Board will act as a neutral observer during the hearings, which will be recorded by a court reporter, Donoghue said. The park board will announce its decision about the suspensions during the next public board meeting following the hearing.


Contact Laurie Wink at lwink@thenewsdispatch.com.
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Roger Kaputnik
post Sep 22 2008, 12:27 PM
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Kaletha condemns himself. As the High Priest said, "What need have we for witnesses?" Instead of 'fessing up, he tries to justify his own boorish behavior, and possibly even illegal behavior, in the usual smooth-cortexed way, viz., by claiming that it is OK because everyone does it.


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Dave
post Sep 22 2008, 06:03 PM
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It seems to me that these morons (Kaletha and Schwanke) are exposing the Parks department, the city, and thereby every taxpayer in the jurisdiction to some serious liability for harassment. One year suspension? Not enough. How about permanent suspension until they demonstrate a serious adjustment in attitude?
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krk
post Sep 22 2008, 09:28 PM
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I can't imagine being a parent. It seems like constantly negotiating a mine field of idiocy.
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Southsider2k12
post Sep 23 2008, 07:05 AM
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QUOTE(krk @ Sep 22 2008, 10:28 PM) *

I can't imagine being a parent. It seems like constantly negotiating a mine field of idiocy.


And that's just the parents laugh.gif
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Roger Kaputnik
post Sep 23 2008, 08:45 AM
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Very good letters to the ND today, esp. by the school counselor.


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Southsider2k12
post Sep 23 2008, 08:52 AM
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QUOTE(Roger Kaputnik @ Sep 23 2008, 09:45 AM) *

Very good letters to the ND today, esp. by the school counselor.


Its too bad the ND has quit publishing them on-line.
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post Sep 23 2008, 10:32 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...&TM=45057.7
QUOTE
9/23/2008 11:00:00 AM
Ban name-calling coach
I've just finished reading the front page of Sunday's paper. I was furious. How can Mr. Kaletha claim he's done nothing wrong, yet he admits he's engaged in name calling with youth players under his charge?

I guess in the last 20+ years something has changed drastically. When my son was playing, his coaches not only taught the fundamentals but they helped the boys grow without name calling.

To Rudy Kohn, Bud Andrisko, Bob Sutherlin and Jim Dolembo, I offer an honest and heartfelt thank you. To Mr. Kaletha, I hope that after the hearing on Oct. 2 you are banned PERMANENTLY from coaching any type of youth sports.

Philip E. Weiss

Michigan City


http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...&TM=45057.7
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9/23/2008 11:00:00 AM
Calling kids names is bullying
In response to "Coaches suspended from park activities" about the young man who was called names and the coach who wrote it off as "kids will be kids", I was extremely upset by the ADULT bullying behavior. As an elementary counselor in our school system, I teach anti-bullying lessons to my Springfield children. State law requires that I do and I feel it is extremely important.

First step is to ask the person to stop. When this doesn't happen I tell my students to tell an adult and add that they tried to stop the behavior, so it is not tattling. But if we continue to have adults that ignore, condone and maybe even agree with this behavior (as the coach did) it only gets worse.

There are colleges that refuse admittance because of bullying behaviors like this. I wonder how this coach would feel if he were the parent of a child that was experiencing this type of behavior directed toward his son. The perception of kids being kids or boys being boys just having a little fun probably would not be one that he held.

There are a number of things teammates can do while on the field or in the dugout to have fun, but to verbally abuse a teammate when he is obviously upset about the comments is deplorable and shows the lack of caring and compassion that this coach has toward lesser ability endowed children under his care.

I'm glad this has come out in the open so maybe interventions can done for this coach, and clinics regarding bullying should be offered.

Debra Carpenter

Michigan City


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Southsider2k12
post Sep 23 2008, 10:46 AM
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Ah, nice letters. Glad to see they updated the site with them today!
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Roger Kaputnik
post Sep 23 2008, 10:58 AM
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Amen, amen!


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digger262
post Sep 23 2008, 02:36 PM
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QUOTE(southsider2k7 @ Sep 22 2008, 02:07 PM) *


I graduated from Elston with Scott Kaletha in 1987 and played on many of the same teams as him. There was only 1 coach I recall using the names he says were used and that coach was asked to leave the school system.

I knew Scott pretty well and at one time considered him a friend. I haven't spoken to him since our 10 year reunion but it sounds like he hasn't changed(grown up) a bit since high school.
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Ang
post Sep 23 2008, 03:43 PM
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I knew Scott growing up as well and agree with Digger


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Roger Kaputnik
post Sep 24 2008, 07:20 AM
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You gotta get Mr. Iacovetti's letter in the ND on the thread. He goes on about what a great guy Kaletha is, but he never speaks to the admissions Kaletha has made.


Kaletha condemns himself, as has been noted.


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Southsider2k12
post Sep 24 2008, 09:11 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...ArticleID=17534

QUOTE
Never heard Kaletha downgrade kids
I am responding to the article about coach Scott Kaletha written by Laurie Wink ["Coaches suspended from parks activities," Page A1, Sunday]. Laurie, what tabloid are you trying to get a job with because you're a terrible reporter? Mike Schwanke doesn't even coach the 9 and under travel team, nor was he in Warsaw, Ind., that weekend. I know this because I am a coach of that very same 9U travel team, which my son played on.

I was there that weekend so let me see if I can help you with your story that I'm assuming Mr. Darrell Garbacik helped you with. By the way, Mr. Garbacik was in attendance that weekend with his wife and two sons. One son played for our team. That part of the story you have correct.

This is what happened. We had a runner on first. Pickoff play at first, runner dives back in safely. While the first baseman was holding his glove on the runner's back, he steps on the runner's hand causing the runner to move his hand and then be called out by the umpire. The kid had cleat marks in his hand. Dirty play? Yes, it was to everyone who saw it. Darrell Garbacik, however, was in the parking lot, nowhere to be seen.

Then a couple of our kids were hit by pitches - I'm talking rib thumpers. A total of four kids were hit. All four kids were coaches' kids. Just a coincidence? I don't think so.

Now you accuse him of wanting to start a fight with the opposing third base coach, who earlier in the year at a tournament at Patriot Park was overheard telling his parents that people from Michigan City were pieces of s---. Darrell knew about those things the other coach said. Did he choose to do anything about it, seeing that he is the state president for the Baseball Players Association, which sponsors travel ball tournaments? No. That has to fall under the very same code of ethics that he chose to throw in Scott Kaletha's face.

Back to the third base coach, I was in the dugout when this very same coach offered to take a different Michigan City coach "out to the parking lot to settle this" (not Schwanke as you reported). Scott Kaletha wasn't even involved in that conversation with that coach. I know because I was five feet away in the dugout, not 50 feet away next to Darrell.

Next, how could he tell our pitcher to throw at the opposing team's players when he was already ejected and not allowed on the field? It was a team from Granger, not Warsaw, as you reported. Good job, Laurie.

I have coached the last two years with Scott Kaletha with Darrell Garbacik standing right next to us for those two years. For the last two baseball seasons, I have heard Darrell talk about what a great coach Scott is. I have never once heard Scott downgrade a kid in any way. He is a great teacher of Michigan City youth sports who donates probably 10 months a year volunteering as a coach. The man has a special passion for teaching kids.

As for that Warsaw tournament, I feel he was protecting his players. I stand behind him 100 percent.

I have 29 kids on a Pop Warner football team that absolutely love this man including my son.

Here lies the problem. That very same Warsaw tournament, Darrell's kid was benched for the last day of the tournament. Darrell along with his wife were making snide remarks in front of the other parents about their son's lack of playing time.

In my opinion, it has become personal between Darrell and Scott. Funny thing is, I chose to bench his son following his play from the day before, when Scott was not in attendance.

Darrell, enjoy your new job, I'm not sad to see you go because I think you're a spineless snake. As for you, Miss Wink, go get a job with a tabloid paper, you're missing your calling.

Mike Iacovetti

Michigan City
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Ang
post Sep 27 2008, 02:53 PM
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I moved this thread to the City Sports topic. I feel it belongs here instead.

http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=60394.98

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9/26/2008 11:00:00 AM Email this article • Print this article
Kaletha loves all kids he coaches
I am saddened about the article in Sunday's paper ["Coaches suspended from parks activities"]. I have known Scott Kaletha for many years. Our boys go to school together and are teammates. In the years that Coach Kaletha has been coaching my son, never have I heard him ever downgrade any child. It is a great disappointment that anyone would try to keep him from coaching. It is what he loves and he does it well.

My son isn't playing for Coach Kaletha this year in football because Coach Kaletha cared enough about my son to get everything out of football, and talked to him about staying down a division because of his size and knew it would be a wonderful opportunity for my son and the team he is on now. If it wasn't for Scott my son would have never played football and now it is Cody's love.

So to all the ones who want to judge Scott and write negative things about him, maybe you should get to know him and his family before you start to judge him. There are two sides to every story. Maybe you should hear his side before writing.

It is only going to hurt the kids in our community if you ban Coach Kaletha, not anyone else. He loves all of these kids as his own. I wish there were more people in our community like Scott Kaletha and his wife who give the kids 110 percent of themselves. Thanks, Scott and Gina, for everything you have done for our family and our community.

Debbie Bush

La Porte


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Kaletha pushes, makes me better
I am 12 years old and have been playing football for five years. Coach Kaletha helped coach my team my first three years. He also has coached me many times in basketball. He may push me hard and sometimes I really get mad at him, but in the end it always pays off and I'm glad I did it. He is just trying to make me better. Coach Kaletha is one of my favorite coaches and when I visit his house he treats me like family.

Richard Mitchell

Michigan City


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Coaches must give positive life lessons
After reading the story on the suspended coaches in Sunday's paper, I am extremely saddened by what these young people, their parents and the officials have endured. As the mother of a son who absolutely loved playing sports as a child/young man, I remember several extraordinary coaches who had great influence on him, both for the game fundamentals and the positive life lessons, none greater than Coach Greg Mumma, who coached my son, Derrick, in La Porte Little League. He made a huge difference in my son's life - both on and off the field - by the example he gave while on the field.

What many adults often forget is that this is truly more than just a game; it is an opportunity to shape these young people into remarkable citizens while sharing love and passion for the game. No coach is perfect, and there is always a possibility for error, but NO coach who thinks this type of behavior is acceptable, or refuses to take responsibility for disobeying the rules to protect children, should be coaching. Children, as we see by the example in this article, act out what is lived before them.

Had an ethical coach heard anyone making degrading comments of any kind toward another player he/she would have stopped play, addressed the issue, and awarded consequences where appropriate. In no way would they have joined in on this form of hate and ridicule. The significance of one abusive comment or action toward a child left unaddressed has the potential to emotionally scar children for life (both those who endure it and those who hear it), no matter how many positive attributes the marked child may truly have.

We should never allow anyone who behaves in the manner described in this article be in a position with such great responsibility. If you are a coach or a child mentor in any area, seriously ask yourself and reflect on why you want to be involved. If your answer is for any other reason except to "share in, teach, and try to improve the lives of the children around you in a positve way," I suggest that you find a different hobby.

If you know a coach or mentor with great integrity, thank them often for the gift they freely offer. If I could have one moment to talk to coach Mumma, I would again thank him for making such a difference in my son's life. And if I could, I would wish Derrick a happy 27th birthday today (Sept. 24). You see, both Coach Mumma and Derrick are now with God, taken from us far too soon in different ways. I will not forget the integrity and passion for the game that coach Mumma had or the positive lessons Derrick learned under his guidance. I will never forget the joy Derrick felt when playing ball. If I close my eyes I can still see the smile on his face as he rounds the bases and the high fives received from a coach whose smile was just as wide. If I could, I would thank them both for the many summers filled with great baseball memories.

My prayer for all concerned: First and foremost, justice MUST be served! Children must be protected.

In addition it is my prayer that responsibility be taken, forgiveness offered, healing realized, and may these children find great mentors who truly love the game and who realize the awesome responsibility entrusted to them as they teach more than just a game. Play ball and make great memories!

Marcia Lashua

Hickman

La Porte


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City has many great coaches
One of the most important lessons anyone can teach kids is to be accountable for their own decisions. The coach quoted in Sunday's article is wrong to blame the umps for letting him make a bad choice. Parents should know that this article does not represent the experience of our family with Lakefront Little League (or previously Trail Creek League.)

Our boys have played ball for many outstanding coaches; the Webbs, Steve Thomas, Jim Rubino, Dan Grams, Pat Nevorske, Adam Parkhouse and his brother, and recently coach Ettinger and his staff in Lakefront 10 and under.

These are a few of many great coaches and I'm sure I left out several. All these people were also volunteers who dedicated a lot of time. More importantly, they made a personal choice to treat their team with patience and dignity. Guess what? They won a whole lot of games as well. It would be great to see a front page article highlighting a positive local role model.

Kate Komay

Michigan City


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Kids don't need coaches to play
Regarding the recent spate of letters about problems in youth baseball leagues: I propose that kids take matters into their own hands. Believe it or not kids, baseball is a fun game. Ask your grandparents how they came to love the game, and they're not likely to mention coaches, leagues, umpires, supervisors or any of the things that your parents seem to obsess about each summer. They just found an empty field, split up into teams, and played. You can do it too (at least I don't think they've outlawed this yet).

Pick out one of the many empty ball fields in our city next summer, and just start playing. You and your friends. No umpires; make up rules as you go along, if you like. If there's a dispute, one of you is likely to just take off, possibly taking the ball with him. This is OK. You're kids. It's not the same as adults displaying this kind of behavior, and through it all, some of you are likely to actually learn something about the correct ways of dealing with problems, personalities, etc. This is called maturing. It's actually easier when certain adult types aren't around (I won't accuse any of them personally, except to say they tend to be coaches).

Always remember, it's a kid's game - even professional ballplayers will tell you that - and you have a right to love it.

Have fun!

Randon Ton

Michigan City












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Roger Kaputnik
post Sep 29 2008, 09:52 AM
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There is a ton of sense in that last letter.


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Southsider2k12
post Oct 7 2008, 08:16 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=36782.79

QUOTE
No hearing for coaches yet
Parks wants session this month.

MICHIGAN CITY - The Michigan City Park Board has not yet been able to set a hearing date for the appeals by two youth baseball coaches, following a request for postponement of the hearings that had been scheduled for Thursday.

Park Board Attorney Pat Donoghue said the coaches are now being represented by attorney Chris Willoughby, who contacted him to request more preparation time.

"I think it's necessary to clear the issues up as soon as possible," Donoghue said, "but it would be somewhat reckless to deny the request. It's in everyone's best interest to get the matter over as soon as possible."

Head baseball coach Scott Kaletha and assistant coach Mike Schwanke have requested separate closed hearings regarding their one-year suspensions from Michigan City Park & Recreation youth activities and the Baseball Player's Association.

The suspensions were made by then-Michigan City Park Superintendent Darrell Garbacik, effective Aug. 7.

Park board members were asked to review available dates during the weeks of Oct. 13 and Oct. 20. Noting that the coach hearings had been postponed twice already, Tom Milcarek asked whether the board could communicate a "three strikes and you're out" policy to prevent having the postponements continue indefinitely.

The board voted to have Donoghue convey the message to Willoughby.



Contact Laurie Wink at lwink@thenewsdispatch.com.

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Roger Kaputnik
post Oct 7 2008, 08:43 AM
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Like I said, Kaletha condemned himself with his own pie-hole.


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Southsider2k12
post Oct 23 2008, 11:58 AM
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http://thenewsdispatch.com/main.asp?Sectio...amp;TM=50746.12

QUOTE
City wants improved conduct in youth sports
Council hopes resolution will 'support a positive culture.

MICHIGAN CITY - On Tuesday - while the Michigan City Park Board was hearing appeals from two suspended youth sports coaches - the Michigan City Council unanimously approved a resolution for a community strategy to improve conduct in youth sports.

The resolution was introduced by councilmembers Joe Doyle and Bob McKee, both of whom have been members and served as presidents of the Park Board. Doyle credited Jeremy Kienitz, city recreation director, for the idea of a community-wide strategy and Doyle agreed it was a way to raise the standard of conduct for those involved in youth sports.

McKee said inappropriate conduct at youth games is not a problem confined to Michigan City, but something happening nationwide.

"It's important that we support a positive culture," McKee said. "Anything that's a positive move to the culture of youth sports is a positive move for the community."

Council President Ron Meer said, as a parent, he's seen situations with profanity and abuse of children. He also spoke out against the favoritism that results in some kids playing a lot more than others.

"When they get to the high school level, it takes away from the team concept," Meer said. "What we want is fair and equal treatment."

The council also had a second reading and public comment hearing on an ordinance to adopt a code of ethics for city government and to create an ethics advisory board. Councilmember Pat Boy introduced the ordinance, along with Joe Doyle and Bob McKee, and said the council had been working on it since 2004.

At that time, the Quality of Life Council for Northwest Indiana was recommending all municipal governments adopt an ethics code to standardize policies for city employees regarding areas such as nepotism and conflicts of interest.

Councilmembers approved an amendment that prevents persons who have served on a governing board or commission of an agency to apply for a job or contract with that agency for 180 days after the involvement ended.

The ethics ordinance is up for the third and final reading at the Nov. 5 council meeting. The ordinance will become effective 45 days after it is signed by Mayor Chuck Oberlie.



Contact Laurie Wink at lwink@thenewsdispatch.com.
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Roger Kaputnik
post Oct 25 2008, 09:04 AM
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I actually saw a lawnsign in support of the coach!


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