(La Porte County, IN) - The La Porte County Commissioners have a new president this year, and she didn't waste time restoring order after a politically explosive year.
New Commission President Sheila Matias pounded her gavel repeatedly to quiet a political figure, Rodney McCormick, when she felt he was becoming too personal with his criticism during the public comment portion of the meeting. McCormick, of Michigan City, quickly finished speaking and took his seat in the audience.
After the meeting, Matias said her goal while running meetings as president is restoring peace and tranquility to commissioner's meetings. The meetings were often used as boxing rings for throwing and landing political punches the past 12 months.
Matias said the purpose of the meetings is to conduct county government-related business. She said public comment is welcome but should express personal attacks and hatred in other ways like social media, public opinion sections of the newspaper, and signs.
“This is America and you will have a right to your thoughts. I have no problem with that but this is the county’s business meeting and we’re trying to take care of the business of the people,” Matias said.
Her colleagues voted Matias as president of the three-member governing body. She replaces Rich Mrozinski, who is now vice-president of the commission.
Matias is no stranger to running public meetings. She was once mayor for two terms in Michigan City and served two terms on the city council in that community before that.