Former clerk called in from 'bullpen' to fill Shamokin council vacancy
SHAMOKIN - Dave Kinder called himself a "bullpen candidate," agreeing to be considered as an appointee to city council in the event political compromise was necessary.
On Monday, he was called to action.
Kinder was appointed by a 3-1 vote to fulfill the remaining two years on the term of now-former Councilman William D. Milbrand, who was sworn into office as the city's mayor.
Kinder admitted having initially felt reluctant to take on the role, but now that he's in the mix, he says he's fully committed.
"Once I said, 'OK, I'll do it,' I had to fully commit," Kinder said by telephone following Monday's reorganization meeting of city council, which he did not attend. He learned of his appointment through a telephone call from a city employee.
"We're not in a situation where you could just walk in there and not have your heart into this thing."
Kinder's no stranger to City Hall. He was hired in September 2008 to become city clerk and resigned in May 2011, one month after publicly warning city council that Shamokin's finances were in peril.
At the time of his resignation, he had cited the demands of the job and a desire to spend more time with his family. On Monday, he spoke of frustration.
"I don't want to bad mouth anyone, but I had become disgusted with the situation that a lot of changes weren't being made and things weren't being looked at closely where they could have been looked at," Kinder said. "I was the city clerk and I left."
Now a member of city council and the director of accounts and finance, he said fiscal solvency and transparency will be a goal. He's willing to take any help to solve the city's financial maladies, from the public or the private sectors; he said he will strive for financial integrity.
"Everything should be on the table. ... The old days of playing politics are over, at least as far as I'm concerned," Kinder said. "We need to let the people know where we're at and where we need to go. We're only public servants. It's the people's money. It's not our money to spend as we want to. We're supposed to be responsible stewards of that money."
Public safety is also a priority, Kinder said. He pledged to do what he can toward recalling two full-time police officers scheduled for furlough.
A longtime resident of Shamokin, he said it's evident crime is increasingly concerning.
"We can't afford to be letting police officers go. There's other ways to get through this and we will get through this," he said.
Beyond his two-year appointment, Kinder said he has no interest in seeking election to city council or any other elected position.
"I have no aspirations politically beyond filling out this two-year term," he said.