Hope’s 1st town manager resigns

HOPE — The town’s first town manager has left her position after 19 months.

Friday was the last day on the job for Melina Fox in running day-by-day operations of town government for the community of 2,100 residents.

Fox said she had sought a specific salary increase for this year. When the town council did not meet to consider it, Fox said she provided two weeks notice Jan. 24 of her intent to resign.

“Since no action was taken at the last town council meeting (Jan. 18) about the base portion of my request, it is my reason for leaving,” Fox wrote in an email to The Republic on Friday. “My performance and value should have been discussed in an executive session with a public recommendation.”

Fox was hired effective July 7, 2014, when town officials said her annual salary would be $45,000.

The Republic could not reach elected Hope officials Friday regarding the town manager’s current salary or the increase she sought. Fox declined to provide details herself.

Town council member Ohmer Miller said he didn’t know enough to comment on salary specifics.

Calls on Friday to clerk-treasurer Diane Burton, council president Clyde Compton and council members Jerry Bragg and Jonathan Titus were not returned.

Miller said the council voted to increase the salary ordinance covering town employees by 2 percent, “but we did not vote for a raise” for any specific employees.

While the council is likely to first advertise for applications and later interview promising candidates, Miller said there has been no discussion among council members regarding the upcoming process to find Fox’s successor.

Before she was chosen from 15 applicants to be the town’s first manager, Fox — who lives in Greensburg — was working as a managerial consultant and family farmer in Decatur County.

As a Democrat, she twice challenged and lost to then-GOP congressman and now Indiana Governor Mike Pence during the 2002 and 2004 elections, garnering about a third of the vote each time in the 6th District general election.

The next public meeting of the Hope Town Council is 5:30 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Hope Town Hall.

Melina Ann Fox

Melina Fox

Residence: Greensburg

Background: Consultant and family farmer

Education: Has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Purdue University and a master’s degree in education from Indiana University.

Career experience:

  • Hope town manager, July 2014 to February 2016
  • Presidential appointee to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency State Committee, 1992 to 2000.
  • Former director of public relations for Stewart Seeds Inc.
  • Former chairperson of the legislative session for the Indiana Seed Trade Association.
  • Spokeswoman for the American Soybean Association.
  • Gubernatorial appointee on the Intelenet Commission.

Family: Husband, Robert White, retail agriculture business specialist at Indiana Farm Bureau. One adult daughter, Vanessa.

What a town manager does

The Hope Town Manager is responsible for overseeing and managing the day-to-day operations of the town of Hope. The manager is asked to: 

  • Contribute to the development of Hope toward an efficient, professional and productive municipal organization.
  • Act as liaison for the town council, advising the council on proposals and planning, and coordinating the implementation of policies, initiatives and decisions.
  • Be responsible for making recommendations regarding such issues as recruitment, training, education, management of personnel and capital improvement needs.
  • Direct the town’s internal operations, identify goals and assist in developing and implementing new policies.
  • Provide strong leadership in assisting and advising department heads.
  • Interacting with various people regarding the future growth and direction of the town.
  • Serve as the spokesperson for Hope with media, and deliver presentations to neighborhood, civic and professional organizations.
Author photo
Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at mwebber@therepublic.com or 812-379-5636.