Mullenbach runs on progressive leadership

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 18, 2002

No other county commissioner chair may have faced as many critical issues as Dave Mullenbach has. He has been always on the proactive side; for the lake improvement, economic development and various capital improvement projects, including the courthouse construction.

“Becoming the chair was a huge step for me to take that responsibility on with only two years of experience in the board. As the chair, I have to make sure I’m leading the board direction,” he said. “I think I’ve tried to present a positive and progressive leadership, and I want to continue that attitude I have.”

The ongoing courthouse project was definitely one thing that could not have shown much progress without Mullenbach’s leadership.

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He regards the success of the project as crucial to nurture stimulation for positive change in the community. “It’s not only infrastructure, we have to have to serve the people in the county, but also an investment for the progressive future and downtown revitalization.”

The project is currently blocked by a lawsuit, filed by the Freeborn County Committee for Fairness, at the last moment before the county was able to issue $26.3 million in bonds. Mullenbach is named as a defendant who allegedly violated the Open Meeting Law when deciding the bonding. The lawsuit, which has caused a delay on the bond sales, accrues extra dollars, possibly millions, to the project cost as time goes on.

Mullenbach declined to mention about the litigation and prospect of counter lawsuit against the FCCF asking restitution for the damage, but feels it unfortunate to see the dispute has resulted in actual damage to the taxpayers by the delay.

But Mullenbach is firmly determined to get the project done.

“For a long time, nothing happened over the past years,” Mullenbach said. “I believe the people want to see some positive changes in our community.”

The critics, who have been displeased with the courthouse project in particular, allege Mullenbach has roots in and an inclination toward urban interests.

But, Mullenbach rebuffs that by lining up his commitment to the lake projects across the county, cooperation with the EXOL, involvement in job creation efforts and support for rural senior housing developments that benefit primarily the residents outside his electoral district.

Mullenbach said that interests between rural area and the city tend to diverge and sometimes even conflict with each other.

“But my criteria for making decisions is not the city or rural,” Mullenbach said. “I look at the big picture and vote on everything in a fair and positive way for both city and rural communities. I vote for what’s good for Freeborn County.”