Five candidates competing for three township board seats
By Pete Smith
The three person clay township board represents all of Carmel and Home Place. It acts as the legislative arm of the township to approve budgets, manage important tax funds that support parks and fire departments, provide help to the township’s neediest citizens and balance a budget that includes annual grants to some of Carmel’s most worthy causes.
This year’s May 6 Republican primary will feature five candidates aiming to fill the three positions on the board. The three candidates who receive the largest percentage of the vote will then face Democrat candidate Jim Blessing in the general election in the fall.
A 31-year-old Carmel native, Snyder has lived in the township almost his entire life, and he now works in the civil engineering field on the construction side and during contract negotiations.
Snyder said he’s most proud of the fiscal restraint practiced by the present board and its ability to help those in need, including the indigent and worthy nonprofit organizations. He said the largest issues facing the township are maintaining the quality of fire and ambulance services, replacing two of the oldest fire stations in the city, maintaining independence from city government officials – yet negotiating fairly and responsibly on areas of mutual interest – and finding creative ways to support the growth of the parks department.
“The most important thing we do is connected to the budgetary and spending processes. It takes time to learn these processes and to know the other officials who affect them. I believe my years of experience have given me the preparation needed to make sound decisions,” Snyder said. “I don’t have to go through a learning curve in order to best serve the citizens of Clay Township. Unlike others who may fly the Republican banner, I truly believe in fiscal conservatism, small government and being close to the constituency.”
A Realtor who assures Current in Carmel that she is legally old enough to drink, Eckard also owns Mary Eckard & Co., which represents several healthcare products and services. In addition to sales she has taught at IU-South Bend and worked at Indianapolis Women’s Hospital as a patient and volunteer services director, but she has lived in Carmel for the past 22 years.
She’s most proud of working with the City of Carmel to build two new fire stations on the west side of Carmel and funding new fire-fighting apparatus, including the million dollar fire truck purchased just a few years ago.
Eckard said she currently is working on a higher education initiative to develop a learning park in Carmel.
“We need to renovate two east side fire stations and to consider a site for a new fire station on the west side of Carmel,” Eckard said. “I always seek to be the voice of the people and constantly try to bring new vision and ideas to Clay Township government. I want to continue to ensure that Clay Township and the City of Carmel have a good working relationship.”
Bolin, 56, has lived in Carmel since he was in middle school. For the past 17 years he’s worked as the vice president of sales and marketing for Kennedy Tank & Manufacturing Co. Before that, he worked for AT&T for 14 years in addition to stints at Procter and Gamble and WIBC Radio.
During his time on the township board, Bolin said he’s most proud of the development and long-term funding of Central Park. But he’s also proud of the support given to the fire department, including building new fire stations and insuring public safety.
He said the most important issues for the board are continued funding and logical expansion of the parks department, guaranteeing superior public safety through financing the fire department and cooperation with the City of Carmel on joint projects and budgets.
“Experience matters,” he said. “I’ve served 8 years on the Carmel School Board, 4 years on the Parks Board and 12 years on the Clay Township Board. I grew up in Carmel and I’m proud that I’ve been a part of its evolution into a world-class city.”
Carter retired as Chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College in 2005, having worked for the institution for 38 years. Carter and his wife, Nellie, have lived in Hamilton County since 1968, and their three sons have all graduated from Carmel Clay Public Schools.
Carter also has been a longtime member of the Hamilton County Council, having served on it for the past 32 years.
“My decision not to run for another term was not easy, because I have truly enjoyed every minute of my service,” Carter said. “I feel, however, that it’s time for someone else to step up. I would like to try something new, so I am running for Clay Township Board. My goal has always been to provide quality public service, and I believe my past record shows that.”
Carter said he is most proud of the development of the Hamilton County park system during his time on the council. He also said the creation of the Convention and Visitors Bureau has helped market Hamilton County as a tourist destination. He also enjoyed supporting several county nonprofits like Janus Developmental Services, Prime Life and Prevail in addition to the Sheriff’s office and the county Emergency Management Services.
“The future will be presenting challenges as the township continues to grow. Fire protection will be at the top of the list,” Carter said. “I promise to serve Clay Township with honesty and integrity, and I will work with the other elected officials to make decisions that best serve Clay Township.”
Leirer, a 25-year Carmel resident, declined to give his age saying, “If I worried about age I wouldn’t do half the things I do.”
Leirer currently works as the vice president of sales and marketing for Jaguar Software, a software development company specializing in check processing. He previously was president of the NetComm Group in Noblesville, a technology firm working with banks, and Unisys, a worldwide technology company. Before he began his technology career, he was in the Army and spent two years in Vietnam.
Leirer also is a current member of the Park Board, where he said he’s most proud of the completion of Founders Park. He also noted that the city’s first dog park is approved and on the schedule, and that a new playground is on the way on the west side of Central Park.
But he felt he could take on a stronger leadership role on the township board.
“I want to work closely with the Trustee Doug Callahan and the staff at township office,” he said. “I feel the township board should be more involved – not just attend meetings but really be involved in the township as leaders.”
And he is asking voters to select him based on the depth of his experience.
“I have been on several local boards and understand how things should work,” Leirer said. “I have managed a small business. I know what it means to make payroll every two weeks. I will be involved.”