Thursday, September 28, 2006


Elected officials strongly desire to be identified as "persons of principle." The problem is everyone isn't motivated by the same principles. As proven by current Mayor James Garner last week.

Freedom of Speech has been waiting for the last 7 to 10 days to see if Mayor Garner has the honesty and integrity to give credit where credit is due. Everyone in the community knows that the real credit should go to Valla Ann for saving the Greenway Project. Do the right thing and give Valla Ann Bolovschak the credit she earned and the credit she deserves for saving the project.

Be a man and do the right thing!

Why couldn't Mayor Garner been gracious enough to tell the local newspaper the name of the person who really did the hard work?

A true community leader would have done so.

We have waited for Mayor Garner to demonstrate honorable character and be a man of principles.

Lets look at the real facts, and you decide who deserves the real credit.

Last Thursday afternoon, Valla Ann Bolovschak paid a visit to Scott Woods at the City County Building before the Ohio River Greenway Commission Steering Committee meeting because she was very concerned about the looming deadline for the Corp. of Enginners. She had been down to see Scott twice about the matter of the status of the paperwork and he blew her off. She had been e-mailing Matt Schuler at the Corp. of Engineers and he told her he couldn’t get Scott to call him back either. When she saw Scott that Thursday, she asked him where the paperwork was and he told her that Steve Dilk at INDOT had it. She asked him to please come to the steering committee meeting at 4pm and he told her that either he or the mayor would be there.

Valla Ann was very suspect that the paperwork was not in Indianapolis.

At 4PM she attended the steering committee meeting and called Steve Dilk at INDOT from her cell phone and he told her he had not spoken to Scott Wood in over a month.

During that phone call, and several she made from home the following day, she ascertained what paperwork needed to be completed and had Steve Dilk send it to her and to Scott Wood on Friday via e-mail.

She kept the steering committee in the loop as well as Matt Schuler at the Corp.

What they needed at that point was a contract between the state and the City of New Albany. The contract was sent to Scott Wood late Friday afternoon. During the course of that day, she was on the phone to INDOT for hours, communicating her concerns and contacting the people who she have made relationships at INDOT, DNR and with the Greenway Foundation, which she serves on the board of as well, to get all the help she could to push this paperwork through.

On Monday morning, she drove to Indianapolis and went straight to INDOT and met with Steve Dilk. He told her the Mayor had dropped by and had gone to lunch and would be back later. Steve Dilk had sent Valla Ann the list of contact people Friday, those they needed signatures from, so she spent the rest of the afternoon determining several things;

A. If they were in town
B. Where there office was
C. Who had signature power for them in the event that they weren’t in Indianapolis

These people are scattered between the North Tower, the South Tower and the State House.

Valla Ann met with secretaries, aides and deputies. She kept a list of people because she didn’t want to have to recreate the wheel, should she ever have to go through this ordeal again.

Tuesday morning she went back to INDOT at 9am and met with Steve Dilk. He had gotten the first signature they needed, John Morton. She told him she would get the rest. And she stated she would not leave Indy. without getting all the required signatures.

The contract required another form, State Form 41221 which needed to be signed off by three people, an agency official, the budget agency and the attorney General.

The contract required six signatures, that of John Morton (Deputy Contract Administration, INDOT), Tom Sharp (Commissioner, INDOT), Charles Schalliol (Director of Office Management and Budget), Carrie Henderson (Office of Management and Budget, Department of Administration Commissioner) and Steve Carter (State Attorney General).

Over the course of the next several hours she ran paperwork around the state buildings. She was trying to acquire the signatures required for this portion of what needed to be completed to get a check cut. This took her approximately 3 hours as she ran into brick walls everywhere she went.

Upon obtaining the signatures, she then went back to the INDOT offices and starting tracking down the rest of the stuff needed, routing numbers from Seymour, the federal funding tracking numbers for the budget department, etc.

Many different computers had to match up with the identical information on several different forms required to take the paperwork to the budget offices, including a SPA claim voucher which was e-mailed electronically to Scott Wood in New Albany, who signed it after much phone prodding, and e-mailed it back. Had the Mayor been in the building, there would have been no need to e-mail the voucher to Scott.

When they finally got the computers to match up, Pam Cook (Assistant Accounts Payable Supervisor, Division of Accounting & Control) and Valla Ann walked the paperwork back over to the State House and submitted it in time (they had a free hour to spare) to get a check cut the following morning, by 11am. Pam said she would come get the check the second it was ready and meet her at her office the following morning.

Valla Ann was elated.

She called Scott Wood and he told her that the Mayor was on the way back to Indianapolis and that he would be picking up the check.

She then phoned Matt Schuler to let him know what was going on and to make sure that he stayed on top of the matter. She phoned Phil Hendershot and let him know they were out of the woods and drove home to New Albany.

The following afternoon Valla Ann returned to Indianapolis to make sure that somebody was there in time to get the check, and then went to the Greenways Foundation meeting at 4:30.

If Mayor Garner had been in Indianapolis, he wasn’t at INDOT or the State House the entire time she was there. According to Steve Dilk, Mayor Garner dropped off the paperwork and left.

Had Valla Ann not taken the initiative to visit Scott Wood on the 14th, Call Steve Dilk and INDOT that afternoon from the steering committee meeting, made the phone calls to determine what needed to happen and drive to Indianapolis and walked the paperwork though, New Albany would have lost it's Greenway funding, a $2.4 million dollar riverfront upgrade this year and with no guarantee of ever recouping the opportunity of re-obtaining it...

We would like to ask Mayor Garner what part did he play in saving the Greenway Project? Other than taking the contract up and picking the check up the following day. And Mr. Wood is this how you do the citizens business? And it's obvious you did drop the ball as stated.

Freedom Of Speech would like to also thank the following people for their participation in helping Ms. Bolovschak in obtaining the necessary credentials for the Greenway Funding Project;

* Mr. Steve Dilk
* Mr. Phelps Halsey Klika, PE
* Mr. Bruno Canzian PE, LS
* Mr. John Morton
* Mr. Michael Smith
* Mrs. Pamela Cook
* Mr. Zachary Q. Jackson
* Susan W. Guard
* DeAnna L. Brunner
* Mr. Bob Berry
* Mr. Corey Carr
* Mr. Thomas Griffin
* Mr. Gary Eaton
* Mr. Tony Disimone