New Bloomfield city leadership critic announces run for mayor

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NEW BLOOMFIELD -  A vocal critic of city leadership in New Bloomfield over the last eight months filed paperwork Thursday to run for mayor.

Cheri Wilson, secretary of the New Bloomfield Betterment Association, said she had not planned run for mayor, but public outcry encouraged her to run.

"People are telling me 'No, you've got to run. We've got to get them out of there.'"

Wilson first raised concerns last March when the city's only police officer was let go for violating media policy.

In December, the city recommitted to having the Holts Summit Police Department include New Bloomfield in its coverage area. 

"We've asked for just a couple of things throughout this past year, transparency being the one thing, allowing us to have an input into our city government," Wilson said Friday.

Mayor Terry Shaw, who is running for re-election, said everything the city does is in the open. 

"We have been as transparent as it is physically possible for a city government to be, so I don't know what that accusation really consists of," Shaw said. 

Wilson said she does not know how much money the city has, where the money comes from and where the money goes. 

Shaw said the city's budget is open to the public.

"So I'm not sure why she wouldn't be sure. Anybody who wants a copy of the city's budget can have one," he said. "Again, that's transparency. It's disingenuous to say that we're not transparent when everything we have is available to the public. All they have to do is ask."

Wilson said city leaders run New Bloomfield as a big city rather than a small town. She said she is fit for the job.

"Everybody seems to be confident in me that I can do it, so at the request of several of the citizens in the community, I've decided to go ahead and run," Wilson said.

Shaw said "there's really no substance" to Wilson's statement "at all."

"There may be a few people that are critical, but I don't think, generally speaking, the citizens of New Bloomfield are critical," he said.

Shaw said a small number of people are making "a very large noise." 

"And there's not substance to what they say. They try to show that we're somehow doing things in secret, but they can't quite get there because we're not doing things in secret," he said.

Wilson said if she were elected, she would figure out how much money the city has and create a Facebook page for the community's citizens.

She said she has enjoyed getting to know people in New Bloomfield throughout her advocacy. 

"They are great people up here - every one of them. I mean, well, there's a few that, you know, have been telling me that I'm a trouble maker for doing what I'm doing. But I just overlook those people. They don't want change," Wilson said.

The city's former mayor, Greg Rehagen, resigned in May. The New Bloomfield Board of Aldermen then selected Shaw, who had served as mayor before.

The election will be held Tuesday, April 2.