Friday, December 29, 2023
AUBURN, Ind. – In front of family, friends and supporters Auburn resident Dave E. Clark Jr. took the oath of office Friday, December 29, 2023 becoming the city’s 19th mayor.
Clark was sworn into office by State Representative Ben Smaltz. He will officially begin his term as mayor on Monday, January 1, 2024.
“Taking the oath of office is more than a ceremonial act, it symbolizes my promise to the citizens of Auburn,” Clark said.
Clark said he is excited to leave his mark on the city he has called home for over 22 years with his wife, Aimee and daughter, Mackenzie. With the change in leadership, he doesn’t anticipate any big changes to the City’s vision for 2024 and the future.
“In politics and life one thing that is constant is change,” he said. “Today you see that change and my promise to each of you is that this change will benefit our community, our taxpayers and the dedicated city staff.”
Clark, a realtor with North Eastern Group Realty, has vowed to be a full time mayor focusing on moving the city forward, while continuing to spur growth and development. Before becoming a realtor, he served as a firefighter for the city for 10 years and worked in the steel industry for 17. Outside of the office he enjoys spending time with family, hunting, fishing, and boating in his free time.
“I want to express my deep gratitude to the community for allowing me the opportunity to serve,” he said.
“I also want to thank Mayor Mike Ley for the smooth transition.”
Clark believes in the importance of collaborative leadership empowering city employees to do their job for the betterment of the city. As a testament to this belief, he plans to instill trust in each department head, to lead their respective departments efficiently and effectively promoting a culture of cooperation between each department.
Clark knows there will be a learning curve as he enters office, but it is something he has been preparing for over the last year.
“Since July my preparation for the position has been extensive,” he said. “Coming into office I want to be as prepared as possible. I am excited to get to work on January 1.”
Clark says city residents won’t see any major changes in city departments. Those familiar faces residents count on daily will remain in place.
Key initiatives in 2024 and beyond will be aimed at enhancing the quality of life for Auburn residents. Clark vows to work on those key initiatives on day one.
First on the list will be the hiring of a new superintendent for Auburn’s Electric Department. Retired superintendent Stuart Tuttle has led the department for the past two years. Tuttle will continue to lead the department until a replacement can be found.
The completion of the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP) grant process, which will bring renovations to Memorial Park through the $1 million matching grant will also take place in the first quarter. The city will utilize $1 million of its America Rescue Plan dollars to meet the match.
Renovations to the park will begin in the fall of 2024 and first quarter of 2025.
“This is a crucial project that will contribute to the overall improvement of the city’s recreational spaces,” he said.
He would also like to work with the Auburn Police Department on the implementation of a community policing program breaking the city into four quadrants.
Clark believes this is a simple initiative that will make a difference for city residents. Officers will be challenged to become vigilant while patrolling their district, getting to know those who live within each of the districts.
“This will give the community an opportunity to interact with our officers, building a relationship,” he said.
It is this strategy that Clark believes will foster a stronger relationship between local law enforcement and the community.
Clark also hopes to build a strong collaborative relationship with Auburn Main Street, Junior Auburn Main Street, the Downtown Auburn Business Association, and local businesses. The collaboration with Junior Auburn Main Street will lead to the establishment of a youth advisory council for the city.
The collaboration with the business community will lead to the formation of a business advisory council, which will foster collaboration between the local government and the business community to drive economic growth and prosperity.
“I hope to continue to foster growth within our community, as the city is experiencing phenomenal growth with more on the way,” he said.
Clark emphasized that the door to his office is always open to those community residents who have questions, comments, or concerns.