Kendallville Mayor Seeks Re-Election Despite Rift With City Council

By Jeff Neumeyer

June 18, 2010 Updated Oct 22, 2007 at 7:59 PM EDT

The race for Mayor in Kendallville is illustrating a rift between the incumbent and a city council that aren't seeing eye to eye.

The Mayor's previous occupation may be adding to the tension.

Republican Suzanne Handshoe, a former Marine, believes voters are generally satisfied with her first term job performance.

She says she's worked to upgrade technology for the police and fire departments and has labored to re-coup 390 lost jobs.

Suzanne Handshoe/(R) Kendallville Mayor: " We've had about seven expansions, four new businesses, and I feel like we're turning the corner."

But Handshoe is taking heat from city council.

The body vetoed her plan to boost police pay an extra five percent to avoid losing officers and members strongly opposed her effort to have a high school student appointed as a non-voting member to council.

Handshoe: " It's been a very contentious relationship from the beginning, from the very beginning. It seems to be if I think it's good they think it's bad."

NEUMEYER: " One of those council members that Handshoe is at odds with is actually her November 6th opponent, a man who says he's running to try and restore harmony of days gone by."

Carl Wagner/(D) Kendallville Mayoral Candidate: " I don't know where the blame falls. She'll put it on council, I put it on her."

Democrat Carl Wagner, who owns a local barbershop, is a three-term council member.

He says he used to sit down with the previous mayor over a cup of coffee, where his input was sought and valued.

Wagner, whose father was a World War II veteran, called Handshoe a flag waver and claims she's not interested in other people's opinions.

Wagner: " It was this is the way we're going to do it, where I was used to saying now what do you think about this. And uh, I think we need to get back to that style of government."

As a woman Marine, Handshoe says she's used to having to prove herself.

The next test she must pass, November 6th at the ballot box.

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