The New Palestine Town Council will feature a very familiar face, along with a brand new one as the council increased from three to five members last week.
Ironically, one of the new council members is a returning member, who originated the idea of increasing the council.
Clint Bledose returns to the council after having lost his seat last year in a crowded Republican nominating convention, but having voiced concerns over the size of a three-person council. Joining him is Angela Fahrnow, who ran last November as an Independent candidate and finished fourth in a three-person race. The two came through an interview process and were selected by current council members Jan Jarson, Brandee Bastin and Bill Niemier. Niemier joined the council after being elected last November.
The current council voted 2-1 in favor of adding Bledsoe and Fahrnow, with Jarson being the lone no vote.
During the election last November, Fahrnow created a buzz, stating transparency was needed on the council. She told Giant FM she is ready to get to work and will keep her campaign promises of opening lines of communication between residents and council, saying the voters have a voice on council and in the town's matters.
"The 129 votes, or 6 percent less than the last elected candidate, I received during the election, I think, says something. The town of New Palestine never previously had an election. When a past council member stepped down or retired, there would be a nomination to replace them, or a part caucus to elect the next council member. Town residents did not have a say or a voice, until now," Fahrnow said.
As for her goals, Fahrnow said she looks forward to working on infrastructure. She told Giant FM since losing last November, she has continued her push of updating the town's road inventory in hopes of recouping tax money for the town for road repairs.
"Some of the roads have been in New Pal foe over 20-plus years, but never recorded in our inventory. The dollar amount we've missed out on is significant," she said.
Fahrnow said she will also push for a resolution to the nepotism policy and related conflicts of interest, as well as transparency, two things she addressed in November.
"Hopefully it will be discussed further with the present council members. Before being elected, I brought concerns directly to the town council and answers were not always forthcoming, and, often, replies came in a hostile manner. In addition, it was communicated to me that information would be "readily available" at town hall and the public library. I had found this was not the case, and I am hoping to change that," Fahrnow told Giant FM.
Fahrnow said she "absolutely" believes she can work with everyone on council, as well as town officials.
"I have every intention of building strong relationship with the town council members and the town employees. As part of achieving this objective, consideration and respect has to be reciprocal from others as well. As I work hard to build trust and strong relationships, I am hopeful I get the same professional courtesy in return," she told Giant FM.
In addition to the new members, council voted in favor of naming Brandee Bastin the council president by a 3-2 vote. Jarson and Bledsoe each voted against the measure.