Former City Council President Rick Sharp looks back on 12 years in office

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Rick Sharp said he’ll miss serving on the Carmel City Council but he doesn’t regret his decision to run for mayor instead of running for a council seat again.

Sharp, who most recently served as council president, fell short in his bid to unseat incumbent Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, but he says he met so many wonderful people during his campaign that he wouldn’t trade it for the world. Sharp, who has served on the council since 2004, looked back on his time in office, which ended with the beginning of the new year.

What is your proudest accomplishment while in office?

I’m proud of the creation of Central Park and the Monon Center. While it had its critics at the time, it’s definitely something that we can be proud of. While it had a rough start, the parks department and parks board have been great stewards of the public’s money. The second thing, I’m particularly proud of the ordinances that we enacted in the last four (years) that really ensured accountability and transparency in government in the city of Carmel. These are things that in many cases the administration didn’t really want, but because of the position they put themselves in with regard to finances the mayor’s office had to swallow its pride and accept these changes as a necessity.

Is there something you regret or wish would have went differently?

I really would have like to seen the ability to convince the mayor to slow down a bit on his philosophy of forced growth in Carmel. I’ve devoted 16 years of life between the council and the plan commission in trying to make Carmel a better place, and while I like our plans and I don’t disagree with the mayor on the direction our city should go, I like to see the growth occur organically instead of being forced by government.

What’s next?

I don’t know. I have no plans at the moment for any other public office but I will remain active in local politics. I would never be so foolish to say, ‘I would never,’ but I’ll look to see what opportunities present themselves, and maybe it’s none. I don’t believe in career politicians who spend their lives running for office. Public service is a calling, not a career. If I can be of service, I won’t shy away from that, but I’ll be happy serving my community in ways other than running for elected office. I’m not announcing any plans and I’m not closing any doors.

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