Letter: Mayor-elect, paper have treated Brown poorly

From: Carl Malysz

Soon-to-be-former director of the Columbus Community Development Department


I want to thank The Republic for not reporting my departure as the city’s director of community development in the obituaries, although I initially thought as much, as it was buried on Page 4 of your Nov. 6 edition.

Perhaps my resignation would have been better served as front page news if it had not been brought about by Jim Lienhoop. He informed me that he would be terminating my employment with the city on Jan. 2. He never gave me a chance. That will be his prerogative as the mayor.

But the hypocrisy of his actions is glaring. Lienhoop repeatedly and vociferously criticized Mayor Kristen Brown for demoting the parks director. That news and his resulting actions and criticism of Brown dominated your front pages for a year. Then Lienhoop campaigned for mayor implying he wouldn’t fire anyone. So much for campaign promises, or was that only smoke-and-mirrors speak?

I also thought your editorial “Smooth mayoral transition goal worth pursuing in months ahead” published the same date was typical of your all too often pretentious and self-serving evaluation of the Brown administration. I thought the local press — any press, for that matter — should always strive to be objective, fair and balanced. I cannot say the same for The Republic.

You have been beating the bash Brown drum for the entire two years and seven months that I was privileged to serve the city of Columbus working for Mayor Brown. I am astonished at how often your editorials have ridiculed her decision-making and her many so-called conflicts with the Common Council.

Despite what Mayor-elect Jim Lienhoop was quoted as saying in The Republic regarding how he intends to govern, the city of Columbus is indeed a municipal corporation, a third-class city as defined by Indiana statute. Third-class cities are organized as “strong mayor” form of local government, wherein the mayor — or the corporation’s CEO — is the chief executive officer. Put another way, the mayor runs the city, and the Common Council, which you have been content elevating above the law, is there to approve the mayor’s budget and legislate and nothing else.

It will be interesting to see how Lienhoop chooses to operate City Hall during the next four years. Does he abdicate and follow your preferred administrative structure — with the Common Council as the de facto executive branch — or will he exercise strong executive leadership as Columbus’ mayor/CEO?

In my opinion, Brown was exactly the type of mayor that Columbus needed at exactly the right moment in time — a fiscally conservative, honest, results-driven CEO intent on achieving the local government excellence that Columbus citizens deserve. If The Republic cared to objectively report what her administration accomplished despite the attacks perpetrated by the Common Council, your entire readership would likely be amazed.

I want to wish the very best to the citizens of this great city, Columbus. I also want to wish the best of luck to the current management of The Republic as the new ownership assesses your future.