DELPHI, Ind. (WLFI) - The city of Delphi has a new leader taking the reins after former Mayor Shane Evans announced his resignation. As we previously reported, Evans won his re-election last November, but decided to resign at the beginning of August to become the new deputy prosecutor for Carroll County.
"I'm actually retired so this was not something that was on my radar at all," said new Mayor Anita Werling.
While becoming the Mayor of Delphi wasn't in Werling's original plan, continuing to serve her community always was.
"A number of people asked me to throw my hat in and I decided I better," she said with a laugh.
Evans' last day on the job was August 16th. Werling said he left big shoes for her to fill. This mayor replacement process was unique.
"Normally when a mayor would resign, if he had run as a Republican or Democrat the party would hold a caucus and select a replacement," said Werling.
Mayor Evans was an independent, meaning City Council made the vote. Werling was interviewed along with Dale Seward, who also went for the job.
"This is really the first time in Indiana that a mayor's slot has been filled in this manner," she said. "There aren't that many independents who are elected and even fewer who resign midterm."
Mayor Werling's previous experience includes being on the city's board of works and area plan commission. She worked on the Delphi opera house restoration project and was on a countywide steering committee to update the comprehensive land use plan.
"I've been pretty active since coming here in 2005," she said.
She's been using her first few weeks as mayor to meet with department heads to learn more about their priorities. She said she is thankful for her heavy involvement in the city because she was already a part of many of the important projects she'll now have to take lead on. She's thankful to have a good working relationship with many veteran city workers to help her along the way.
"I look forward to continuing the progress made in Delphi and to continue with the vision of past years and also to create some new strategic planning moving forward," she said.
Her goals as mayor include improving housing opportunities, infrastructure and promoting Delphi as a tourist destination, starting with bringing in hotels.
"When we have people coming to Delphi for events at the canal or the Opera House or for business meetings with the industry that we have, there is no place for them to stay," she said.
Her objective is also to look after the local economy. She said the city gave out resilience grants to local businesses of between $1,000 and $5,000 to get them through the initial struggles of shutting down and to help them plan to reopen safely. She said many local businesses are hanging on.
Mayor Werling said she is not a political person. She hopes to make her mark and then pass the torch on to the next generation of local leaders.
"It's not something I will seek re-election for," she said. "Hopefully we can get some younger people involved. We've got a lot of talent within the city and hopefully get some of them interested in local government."
Mayor Werling will complete Mayor Evans four-year term, which will end in 2024.