Mayor to leave town for training, wife to take over

Monica Kelsey will run her husband's mayoral office when he goes to Mississippi for National Guard training.
Monica Kelsey will run her husband's mayoral office when he goes to Mississippi for National Guard training.

Woodburn, Ind. (WANE) – Woodburn, Indiana’s mayor Joe Kelsey is going to Mississippi the month of April for a National Guard advanced leadership course. His absence requires him to choose someone to run the town while he’s gone and he’s picked his wife, Monica Kelsey.

Mayor Kelsey and the city council verified the move’s legality with a city attorney. They learned that for short leave of absences, the mayor’s substitute doesn’t have to work for the government.

“The reason I have the utmost confidence in her is because she knows me and knows my management style,” Kelsey said.

Married for 17 years, Mayor Kelsey and his wife have run a shipping and moving business together, as well as a non-profit for abandoned babies. The mayor said his wife is also perfect because she already has experience working with the Woodburn city council.

Councilman Dean Gerig said the most difficult part of her upcoming role is the public attention.

“There’s a lot of questions the public has about what’s going on around this town,” he said. “I think she’ll be alright.”

His advice to her is to be honest about what she doesn’t know.

“She’s not going to know everything the mayor does,” he said. “So any information she needs and I have I’ll give it to her.”

Mayor Kelsey said his wife will understand him more once she’s in his shoes for a month, which will make them closer.

“Everyday I always find a way or I see ways that I love my wife even more and I will realize that even to a more extreme when I return,” he said.

Mayor Kelsey said the advanced leadership course will improve his proficiency as a national guard squad leader. He hopes to soon be promoted to the rank of section sergeant. He leaves for the course April 1 and will return to office April 30.

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