Social worker vying for at-large county council seat

A social worker who has led two organizations serving local youth has announced she is seeking the Democratic nomination for an at-large seat on the Bartholomew County Council.

Pam Clark, Bartholomew County Youth Services Center executive director from 1999 to 2008, is the first Democrat to file to run for one of the three at-large council positions. She served as executive director for the Foundation for Youth from 1995 to 1999.

Four Republicans have filed seeking the nomination for county council at-large including incumbents Bill Lentz, Evelyn Pence and Jim Reed, as well as challenger Matt Miller.

Clark said her experience with the Youth Services Center provides her with an understanding of some of the complexities and challenges in county government.

While she was able to return unspent money to the county’s general fund most years, Clark said the council would respond by trying to cut her department’s budget.

“Instead of being rewarded, I felt I was being indirectly punished,” Clark said.

She said the refusal of most current council members to seriously consider ways of generating new revenue doesn’t address annual increases in costs, wages and benefits.

“No one wants to raise taxes, but we need to have a serious conversation,” Clark said. “We have to all solve this problem.”

Clark also said she possesses strong interpersonal skills that will bring people together toward achieving common goals.

If elected, Clark said she plans to be an advocate for fiscal responsibility, economic development and environmental protections, as well as serve as a voice for county employees.

“Bartholomew County has had a number of fiscal issues in the past few years that need to be dealt with by the council,” Clark said. “We can’t keep kicking the can down the road.”

In order to fund a budget that provides needed services, Clark says there must be a balance of fiscal responsibility with sound judgment.

“Our county council will need to think creatively and collaborate effectively with our residents, businesses and service providers,” Clark said.

Clark, a Bartholomew County native, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya and later lived in California, where she worked four years as a police officer in Los Angeles.

Upon returning to her hometown, Clark worked as a counselor for the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center, and earned her master’s degree from Indiana University in social work.

Clark currently is self-employed as a consultant and trainer doing work with the United Way of Bartholomew County and the National Partnership for Juvenile Services.

About Pam Clark

Name: Pamela A. “Pam” Clark

Age: 64

Residence: Columbus

Elected position sought: Bartholomew County Council at-large. 

Party: Democrat

Current occupation:  Self-employed consultant and trainer.

Past work experience: Served as executive director of the Foundation for Youth and the Bartholomew County Youth Services Center. Also worked as a Peace Corps volunteer and police officer.   

Community service:  Previously served on the Bartholomew County Community Corrections Advisory Board.

Professional affiliations: Currently serves on National Partnership for Juvenile Services, the Indiana University Alumni Association Executive Council, the Colossus Behavioral Center Governing Board, and on the National Child and Youth Care Certification Board. Previously served as president of both the Indiana Juvenile Detention Association and the National Juvenile Detention Association.    

Family:  Married to Bob Clark, a retiree from Cummins, Inc, since 1991.

Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.