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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Time draws near for new mayor

Friday, December 12, 2003



The time is drawing near, and Tom Arthur is preparing to be Brazil's next mayor.

Arthur, who will take the seat from Kenny Crabb on Jan. 1, has spent the time between election night and now studying every facet of his new role, even attend ing seminars for newly-elected mayors.

"One thing I learned is that mayors and other political figures can't just assume an office and make sweeping changes everywhere," he said. "You have to go kind of slowly, at least at first."

The training event, which took place in Columbus, In., was held by the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns (IACT). A release from the IACT and Arthur said that the training "offered information for new officials concerning what to expect on the first days in office, budgeting, personnel, structure, and powers of municipal government."

Arthur's biggest moves as a mayor-elect have been his appointments of city officials. Though all of his decisions have not been announced or finalized, Arthur says that he understands, and even appreciates, disagreement with his policies.

"One thing I've enjoyed, even in the (City) Council, is the fact that we don't all agree," he said. "When you disagree it causes discussion, debate. That's good if it's a healthy debate.

"I've always said that everyone, no matter who they are, has a boss. The citizens are my boss. When I make a decision that someone doesn't agree with, I want them to call me and ask why I did it. I want them to write and e-mail me so I can explain my decision."

Arthur said that his announced appointments have a lot more thought behind them than some people realize.

"I've analyzed and agonized over several of these decisions," he said. "Every appointment I make, I want to be sure that Brazil has the best option possible. At some times I even sought professional opinion."

He went on to explain that his decision for police chief, which has not been announced yet, was helped along by "four gentlemen with 70 combined years of law enforcement experience."

He also said that while many people will be retained to their office, many will be changed, as well.

"During the 9/11 attacks, we found out the FDNY was good," he said. "But we also found out that we can always do better. I'm the kind of person who will go 'OK, we've reached point A. Let's get to point B and then to point C."

Most of the appointments have been made, Arthur said, though some have not been announced.

Some appointments not yet made include building inspectors and fire chief, though he hopes to have those made and announced by the middle of next week. He also said that the police chief has been selected and he hopes to have the announcement made next Monday.

"A lot of the utility stuff, we have people there with 20, 30 years experience," he said. "And some of those jobs are very technical. With those, I thought we'd be losing more than we gained if we hired new people.

"With the civil appointments, though, my thought is that we can start fresh with a lot of them, in a new area for change."

Adjusting has been somewhat of a task for Arthur, but he believes he will be ready for the task when the end of the year rolls around.

"It's been very, very, very busy," he said. "I've been put in a different position than my current job (teaching at Northview). Now when I go to do something I really have to analyze, predict, really, how these things are going to affect us down the road. I guess the hardest part has been managing time. Most nights I don't get home until eight o'clock or so, then I spend an hour with the family, respond to e-mail, and go to bed. I'm hoping once this semester's up things will get more normal."

Though he's had plenty of time to reflect since election night, Arthur says that his perceptions haven't changed.

"The timeframe to get things done has changed a little, maybe," he responded, when asked if his plans had changed due to new information. "We will get a plan going to address the goals I've set. With hard work and dedication, you can get what you want, and Brazil can have good jobs and nice streets."

He also said that "it may take a little bit longer than I thought to get what we want, but we can do it."

"A lot of these problems correct themselves," he said. "If you get good jobs and streets in a town, a lot of the related problems will clear themselves up. I say that if people have pride in their jobs and themselves, they'll have pride in their community."

Change is in the works, Arthur says, but he won't try to change Brazil into a metropolis.

"I think what people mean when they call me and write the paper is they don't want Brazil to become a big city like Terre Haute or Bloomington, and I don't either," said Arthur. "I like Brazil's size. When I say 'grow,' I mean I want Brazil's quality to improve. Growth can mean a lot more than population size."

Arthur finished by saying a lot of the hard work he's been doing is self-imposed more than anything.

"I'm trying to get a lot of things done so I have a week or so to relax before I jump into all this," he said.

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