20 Oct Former Columbus Mayor Clashes With Current Mayor Lienhoop
Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop says his administration continues to be dogged by the actions of his predecessor Kristen Brown and a small group of her supporters.
Lienhoop defeated Brown in the Republican Primary last year 64 to 36 percent. He went on to win the uncontested general election.
“These come from a small group, led by a former mayor who can’t seem to get beyond having lost an election.”
—Mayor Jim Lienhoop, R-Columbus
During Tuesday night’s council meeting, the mayor stopped after the council voted to adopt a new budget and read from a prepared statement:
“Indiana has a history of citizen participation in government, and this is enshrined in statutes relating to public access for documents and meetings,” he said. “The public’s right to know is inviolate and we have demonstrated our belief this is so by providing unparalleled access by the media to elected officials, department heads and other city professionals.
However, for the past 10 months or so, we’ve been witness to a number of actions by our former mayor [Kristen Brown] and her supporters that abuse these public access processes. Tonight’s Objection Petition is simply the latest.
She and her supporters have filed at least 24 Public Information Requests. They have filed seven complaints with the Indiana Public Access Counselor. They have made numerous phone calls and submitted even more email requests to city employees, outside professionals and former employees.”
The Objection Petition Lienhoop referenced was one Brown and a number of her supporters signed objecting to the budget.
Lienhoop said the requests come from a small group “led by a former mayor who can’t seem to get beyond having lost an election.”
“That was out of line, absolutely shameful.”
—Former Mayor Kristen Brown, R-Columbus
He described some of the requests as “downright silly:”
“Earlier this year, one of the Board of Works members passed me a note during a public meeting informing me that she was leaving to attend another meeting and would not return,” he said. “The next day, we received a Public Information Request asking for a copy of the note.”
But the mayor says all of the records requests and costs associated with them are adding up. He says the city has spent thousands of dollars responding to Brown and her group.
After Lienhoop finished his statement council moved on with other business, but before the meeting adjourns Brown and her supporters did address the mayor and the council.
“You will attack, personally attack people who are interested in getting involved in their local government you should be commending them and applauding them. They had a respectful petition that was based in fact. How dare you,” Brown said.
In an interview with the Columbus Republic, Brown says she plans to continue speaking to council and the administration about issues she feels are important.