Longtime Green Park alderman resigns

Betlach decides to move out of Green Park

By BURKE WASSON

Citing a decision to move out of the city, Green Park Ward 1 Alderman Judy Betlach has resigned from office, effective Dec. 8.

Betlach was appointed as a Ward 1 alderman in 1995, won election in 1996, was voted out of office in 1997 and re-elected to the board in 2000, serving continuously as an alderman since that time. She also served as mayor pro tem in 2000.

While a newsletter confirming Betlach’s resignation identifies Carol Hamilton as a possible replacement on the Board of Aldermen, Mayor Tony Konopka said Monday that the decision to appoint Hamilton is “not a done deal” and that the replacement decision could occur at a special meeting. Konopka added that aldermen likely would schedule a date for the special meeting during the board’s next meeting on Monday, Dec. 17.

“Carol had been attending a number of meetings and expressed some interest in it,” Konopka said. “It’s not a done deal yet . . .I don’t think we’ll be raising it up at our next (Dec. 17) aldermanic meeting. But we may call a special meeting to fill Judy’s seat (until April).”

Konopka — who served on the Board of Aldermen in previous years with Betlach — said he believes she served the city well over the past decade.

“Judy served her ward and her city very well in the time that she was here,” he said. “I think that she had conducted herself very well and I think, for the most part, her concern was for her constituents and her concern was what was good for the city.”

When contacted by the Call on Monday, Betlach declined to comment.

In her December newsletter to Ward 1, Betlach wrote that while she is pleased with the results of the April election — in which voters delivered a clean sweep of all three challenged incumbents in the city — the pending Green Park Road redevelopment project is forcing her to move from her Green Park Road home to another area.

“… Unfortunately, the ‘strongarm’ tactics of the previous administration and their Green Park Road antics helped draw me into an irreversible decision to move from what is now rapidly becoming the GREAT city of Green Park,” Betlach wrote. “Faced with losing an additional six feet of front-yard space at 9914 Green Park Road, faced with losing six feet of already scarce parking space, faced with traffic noise, fumes and dangers coming another six feet closer to my bedroom, I felt I had no other alternative but to move out of that mess, especially as the opportunity presented itself to purchase land directly across from my sister.

“That was before the April election. This was an election where YOU the people rallied to create an election turnaround, a new start. Unfortunately for me, it came too late. And now it is just time for me to say ‘goodbye’ to the fair city of Green Park.

“After a decade plus service with the city, it is time for a change, a change for me as well as for you. So as of Dec. 8, 2007, I have officially submitted my resignation as 1st Ward alderman.”

Betlach also wrote in her newsletter:

“… During the 2007 election, I was proud to see how well citizens moved from a ‘strongarmed’ controlled-information environment to a more open, interactive, cooperative and relational environment. The city has survived significant personnel turnover at city hall, replacing our city administrator with Zella Pope and our administrative assistant with Wanda Brose. And with our recently approved zoning administrator Jack Graves, Green Park now has regular code enforcement rather than relying on ‘neighbors reporting neighbors.'”

“Of course, there are still more challenges to be faced — improvements to Green Park Road, the Green Park Road bridge and the Yuma Drive development and its Lindbergh (Boulevard) connection. Yet another key challenge is implementation of a business-license program for the city. Such a licensing program is critical to fund city maintenance of the Green Park Commerce Center streets and the Lin Ferry, Lin Valle and South Towne Square business streets not only from the commercial trucks, but also from the significant infrastructure drain resulting from their many workers/customers outside the city itself …”