Maple Leaf – Fast-Track Process

Maple Leaf Project – For The Record. Chronology of events.

The Maple Leaf Music Venue and Performing Arts Center is to be a government-owned and managed venue.  The County Commissioners and County Council declined to answer questions or hold public hearings to listen to input from citizens regarding their concerns and desirability of the project.

The proposed project was announced on June 20, 2017. Final approval by the commissioners was on December 20, 2017.

Although taxpayers may not be obligated for the 12.5 million debt, this could change in the future.


2018 Appointments – Redevelopment Commission (RDC)

Process.  Appointments to the Redevelopment Commission (RDC) are for one year.  Commissioners and Council Members can choose to identify a vision and goals for redevelopment and share with the RDC and public. They can select volunteers that support their vision/goals.  They can choose not to re-appoint members and/or remove RDC members at any time. They do not have to provide a reason for removal or non-selections. Vacancies and requirements are announced in the Brown County Democrat newspaper.

Note that reappointments of existing members to boards and commissions that attend meetings and fulfill their responsibilities have been the norm.

Comments: 2018 Selection Process.  When you identify a recruitment and selection process that you are going to follow, then don’t circumvent it.  The Commissioners can appoint/re-appoint anyone they want. No need to fabricate a story to justify a selection (s).  Oh, and you might want to thank people for volunteering.  They may agree to continue supporting projects that benefit all county citizens. 

 Transcript Commissioner RDC Appointments

2017 RDC Members: Dave Redding, Jim Schultz, Tina Bedey, Tim Clark, Jim Kemp. All but Dave Redding applied for reappointment but he intends to stay involved.

2018 Commissioner Appointments (3): Commissioner Jerry Pittman, Danny Key, TIna Bedey.  Jerry Pittman attended one RDC meeting in 2017, Danny Key did not attend any.

  • Other commissioner applicants:  Jim Schultz and Tim Clark (2016  and 2017 RDC members) and Brandon Harris.   Brandon Harris was a volunteer/supporting member of the RDC and attended 6/6 board meetings in 2017. He supported several projects.

Council Applicants (2).  Jim Kemp (2017 RDC member) Jim Schultz and Tim Clark (2016 and 2017 RDC members), plus one additional application.

Council Appointments.  Council to select members on Monday, Jan 22, 2017.

Significant Events.  The commissioners and council members unanimously voted to approve funding($12.5 million) for the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC). The RDC took no official position and remained neutral.  Individual RDC members publically advocated for the project (Jim Schultz) as well as questioned one or more aspects of the project  (Tim Clark).  These individuals stated that they were representing their individual views and not the position of the RDC.  Brandon Harris also voiced concerns with some aspects of the project.


Commissioner and Council Policy and Process (not formally documented).

  • Optional: Identify vision and goals for redevelopment. Share with the RDC and public.  This was not done in 2017.
  • Optional.  Attend meetings; provide periodic feedback.
  • Advertise for vacancies.
  • 15 December 2017 – Letters of Interest from applicants due to Commissioners
  • Interview applicants. If not an acceptable pool of candidates, re-advertise vacancies and repeat the process.
  • Make Selections:
    • 20 December 2017 – Commissioner Meeting.  The announcement of selections delayed:   Danny Key and Jerry Pittman were not identified as applying for a vacancy.
  • Optional: Thank those that applied and were not selected.
  • Optional:  Transition.  Meet with outgoing members.
  • Optional: Attend one or more meetings; review mid-year and/or annual report (s);  discuss and review priorities for the following year.

The statement below included in the transcript of the meeting by Commissioner Biddle to Brandon Harris regarding the selection process.

” You know these are 1 year terms and we don’t um, there’s no requirement on our part to reappoint anyone from year to year so it’s real….we had 6/7, 6 candidates on our side. Council had 4 on their side. It’s just a matter of picking those candidates that we think will carry the commissioners and the councils vision forward in terms of economic redevelopment. And that’s what we did.”


HCI – Hometown Collaborative Initiative

About HCI – BUILDING BLOCKS FOR ENERGIZING COMMUNITIES.  Discover current HCI communities, learn how to apply and browse the blog for news and events.

Please Take the Survey and you are also invited to Attend the Forum.  The survey will be open until Tuesday, Feb. 20.  Results will be shared at the Community Forum on March 7, Intermediate School Cafeteria, 5:30-8:30.

SURVEY: Share your opinions on local issues – Brown County Democrat

Dec 19, 2017 – In addition, it asks how likely the responder is to remain in Brown County for the next five years. Survey participants can remain anonymous; only general demographic information such as age and education level is collected. The HCI is a mostly state-funded process of learning about one’s own community.

Brown County Leaders Work To Build Strategies And Better Community – Indiana Public Media

Brown County chosen for Hometown Collaboration Initiative

May 4, 2017 – Brown County is one of five Indiana Communities to receive Hometown Collaboration Initiative fellowships from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The HCI program is delivered by OCRA in a partnership with Ball State University’s Indiana Communities Institute and Purdue University’s …
April 19, 2017 – About 40 Brown Countians gathered in the library April 12 to hear and explain why the county should be chosen for the HCI. Representatives from Purdue and Ball State universities and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs heard the pitch from an “interim HCI team,” who pulled the application …

 Brown County is semifinalist for community-building program

April 6, 2017.  Brown County is a semifinalist for the state’s Hometown Collaboration Initiative. The HCI is intended to bring a diverse group of residents together to learn to cooperate, become better leaders and gather critical data that will help them guide
decisions about their community’s future. “It will challenge BrownCountians to work …
March 20, 2017.  HCI. Wanted: Volunteers to brainstorm, gather data and guide priorities for Brown County, collaborate on projects and learn how to become the community’s next generation of leaders. That group of residents will receive extensive training from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Ball State …


Brown County Future – Guest Columns

‘Coming together is a beginning’

Jan 10, 2017. By TIM CLARK, guest columnist In the first part of my series, “The role of process in county’s future,” I suggested that the process applied to fast-track approval of the $12.5 … To quote Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. … Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” 

The role of process in the future of Brown County

Dec 26, 2017 – The Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) project and the process used to fast-track approval may represent a turning point for the future of the county. This article is a first in a series that will provide a perspective on our current reality and offer additional options that may contribute to Brown County …


Want better decisions?

If we want better decisions from our elected leaders, then it may help to identify the process being used and then work together to improve upon it.

I adapted the process used by the military and by many U.S. defense agencies.  For instance, the new Septic Ordinance represents a “solution” – how was the problem defined?  What were the other alternatives considered?  What facts and data were used to justify the solution? How will we know if the change will make things better or worse?  What are the risks?

This framework may also be important when the Courthouse options are discussed.  I also provide an example of the process applied to the Maple Leaf project.

Courthouse feasibility study kickoff meeting date set By Suzannah Couch –  Jan. 6 9:41am




The value of good planning

An excellent article regarding motivation and methods to include a format for developing strategic plans. The title is somewhat misleading. Excerpts:

Learning to Mend Misbehaving Mindsets by Own Amber, Co-Chair Emeritus at XML Community of Practice (xmlCoP)Nobel prize-winning author Richard H.
Thaler suggests policies can be crafted to minimize the predictable mistakes people make. Toward that end, he has no interest in telling people what to do but seeks to help them achieve their own goals.

Regarding prospects for success, Thaler asserts, “The only protection against overconfidence is to systematically collect data that can prove you wrong.”

Moreover, as he quotes his colleague Linda Ginzel, “If you don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist.”Carol S. Dweck notes that vows to act are often useless. However, probability for success can be increased by making concrete plans that can be visualized in terms of when, where, and how they will be carried out.