Higbie ’15 Learns Small Town Government

Campbell Higbie ’15 – Over the past seven weeks, it’s hard to believe everything that can happen in a small town. Working in Madison, Indiana, in the mayor’s office, I thought small town politics would be exciting and people would be reasonable. Half of that is true. I’ve definitely learned to be versatile in dealing with the many situations that can come up in a single day. For instance, a squirrel got into a transformer that caused one of the water purifiers that chlorinated the city water to stop working for a few hours in the night. This caused the city to issue a boil advisory, which, in turn, caused the Health Department to close down all of the restaurants in the city for two days. We then found out that the city’s webpage was hacked which forced us to close it for a few days.

The local Walgreens had a car drive through it and not through the drive-thru. Last, the city’s Comfort Station had its air conditioning stop working. This was all on one unforgettable Monday. To see the small staff here in the City of Madison work together to handle all of these problems at once was simply amazing. I was very busy, but it made me feel like I was having a real impact in the area that I grew up in.

Besides the one very hectic day, many great things have happened that I have had the privilege to be a part of. The biggest was helping the City launch its new website. If you would like to check it out, here’s the City of Madison link. From taking pictures of staff, to contacting different boards about descriptions of what they do, there is very little that I haven’t had a hand in with this new website. Also, I have balanced a few budgets, prepared unemployment spreadsheets, typed up a proclamation, planned Municipal Government week, filled in for the street secretary, the mayor’s secretary, and been the Planning and Zoning secretary for a week. Needless to say, my summer has been far from ordinary, or not busy.

There are many up and coming events that we are all looking forward to in the next month. One is the Bridge Slide Party. The local bridge that spans the Ohio River is having its structure replaced. The pillars that hold it up are remaining while the structure will be slid onto them. This large of a bridge slide has never been attempted, so, a party must ensue. I have been working with Devon Kondaki, an intern from Hanover, as well as Andrew Forrester, the Community Relations Director and 2011 Wabash graduate, on the plans for this party.

In parting, I would like to thank the generosity of the Lilly Endowment and Wabash alumni, friends, and family who have donated towards the Business Leaders Program. They have made it possible for me to learn so much about my community, small government, and problem solving for a variety of issues.

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