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Martinsville mayor will not seek second term

Posted at 12:05 PM, Feb 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-06 12:05:25-05

MARTINSVILLE — Martinsville Mayor Shannon Kohl, the city’s first female mayor in nearly 200-years, will not seek re-election, which means the Morgan County community will have a new mayor in 2020.

In a statement to RTV6, Kohl said she is considering work outside of government.

“I’ve always been truthful with the voters, and they need to know I’m looking at several public and private opportunities; it’s not fair to them if they reelect me and I leave in a year or two,” Kohl said. “Citizens, not a party caucus, should make those important electoral decisions.”

Kohl defeated incumbent Phil Deckard in 2015.

WATCH | Big change coming to Martinsville

“Voters dislike politicians spending a lifetime in office; citizens should be free to move between public office and the private sector easily, and I intend to do exactly that,” she said. “It’s also clear to me that I can accomplish more of the people’s work in my remaining 11 months as mayor if I’m not distracted by a campaign.”

Several people have already announced their candidacy for Martinsville mayor including businessman Kenny Costin as well as Kevin Coryell.

Mayor Kohl listed what she called "meaningful changes" in Martinsville during her time in office:

• Receiving over $12 million of grants for infrastructure Improvements

• Nearly $50 million of private development completed or planned

• Martinsville has larger cash balances today than when she took office in January 2016 and a balanced budget

• Massive downtown revitalization projects underway

• I-69 planning stages complete and ready for implementation

“I thank every city employee, business owner, volunteer, and community activist — they are the reason we are successful,” Kohl said. “I look forward to the next 11 months as mayor and assure you our focus will remain and our goals will not change. Together we will meet our challenges and continue to embrace new opportunities.”

Kohl’s announcement to not run for re-election comes as Indiana State Police conduct a criminal investigation into a City of Martinsville employee, and the Indiana State Board of Accounts is doing a forensic audit and investigation in Martinsville into possible misuse of time and overtime.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE | State police investigating City of Martinsville employee

In recent weeks, Kohl has expressed concern about the city’s financial system that handles payroll and invoices.

“If unaddressed, the consequences of allowing the current system to continue in place will have dire consequences for the City of Martinsville in the form of a lower bond rating and greater expense to our citizens through higher interest rates,” Kohl said. “It is unfortunate that this has become clear just as we are turning a corner with the new downtown redevelopment and the opportunities from I-69.”

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