Honored by my fellow Council members

Pictured above – Rick Bella (right) with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb at an event at the Dean and Barbara White Community Center

I was honored last night by the Merrillville Town Council as they selected me to serve again as Town Council President. This will be the fourth year in a row serving our town in this capacity. The Council also selected Councilman Richard Hardaway to serve as Vice President, his third year in a row.

The Town Council President is the chief executive officer of the town, and except for the Clerk-Treasurer, has the authority to compel all town employees and appointed officials to perform their lawful duties, with the exception of directing law enforcement in executing arrest powers.

Some of the duties of the president include the preparation of Town Council meetings and workshop agendas, which are study sessions designed to allow investigation of various town topics/issues and educate council members so they can make sound decisions. The President also has the appointing authority and selects the membership to serve on the various Town Council committees as well as the town representatives who will serve on other county boards and commissions like the Northern Indiana Regional Planning Commission, the Lake County Solid Waste District, the Southshore Convention and Visitors Authority and the Merrillville Fire Territory Board.

The President also serves as a quasi-member of all council committees and may attend and interject as needed if a committee needs assistance on various matters. What the President is not, is the mayor of the town. I’ve always been cognizant of that fact. I act as a leader and assist each council member with their committees to enable them to do a great job. We work using the committee structure that oversees each department of the town including Public Safety, Public Works (Street Department), Planning, Human Resources, Economic Development, Code Enforcement, and Parks/Recreation.  

I also work closely with the Town Manager and daily calls help keep me in the loop as to what is happening on any given day in our town. I believe that we have a great team in place and with the current ‘momentum’ of Merrillville I would not want to change our system, committee leadership, or town department heads. We are fortunate to be experiencing, what seems to be, a well-tuned engine firing on all cylinders! Thank you to my fellow council members for their trust in me. Let’s collectively keep the momentum going. -Rick Bella     

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