Sunday, December 30, 2007

Library Board Scofflaws Get A Pass

According to the Star's "Behind Closed Doors", nothing will become of the fraud Library Board Chairman Louis Mahern and other board members allowed to occur when the Board refused to seat Elsa Kramer, the county commissioners' appointee to the Board in place of Peter Pizarro, an earlier appointee who subsequently moved out of state but continued to illegitimately hold a seat on the Board. The Board allowed Pizarro to cast a deciding vote on the selection of Laura Bramble as the Library's new CEO. Last week, political columnist Matt Tully confirmed what Advance Indiana reported more than a month earlier--that Pizarro had accepted a new job in Ohio and moved out of state earlier this year. The column writes today:

Marion County Auditor Greg Bowes said he's concerned about the way the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Board picked its new CEO last month.

Still, he said it's likely time to move on after the board picked Laura Bramble over his preference, City-County Council member Jackie Nytes.

The controversy started when Bowes, as a county commissioner, tried to appoint a new Library Board member.

Bowes had learned that board member Peter Pizarro would vote for the new CEO despite evidence that Pizarro no longer resided in the county, making him ineligible.

The Library Board denied Bowes' effort to name Elsa Kramer to replace Pizarro based on appointment documents showing that Pizarro's four-year term should have come to an end before the Nov. 15 meeting. Pizarro's vote spelled the difference in a 4-2 tally. Kramer would have made it a tie.

Bowes said there's enough evidence for a viable lawsuit, but he isn't sure it's worth the effort, money and disruption it would cause.

But he said others, including possibly library employees upset about the process, might feel differently.

Bowes, meanwhile, wants to make sure the commissioners' three board appointments are properly done in the future.

"Ironically, I think we picked the wrong date for Elsa Kramer's term expiration," Bowes said. "It's for four years, but the transition was so messed up, it's hard to tell exactly when she started."

It's disappointing that not a word of complaint has been spoken by our new Mayor-elect or any members of the Republican City-County Council about this gross violation of the law. Could it be the fact that Pizarro is a Republican that they choose to remain silent on this subject? Or could it be they're just happy Democratic City Councilor Jackie Nytes didn't get the job and that's all that really counts, the law be damned?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't have a dog in the library directorship hunt. I couldn't care less who got it: both finalists looked qualified to this outsider.

But this is a clarian call to all taxpayers in Marion County--that the Maherns look upon seemingly-thankless jobs like the board presidency--as their personal political fiefdoms.

I don't know how many times we need to be reminded. They're not done screwing us yet. It's just the way they do business.

What Louie Mahern did in this situation, without regard to the person ultimately chosen director, was nothing short of disgusting.

At nearly the same time, Dane was running for another council term, only to tell us 24 hours after the polls closed that he wants to be in the legislature.

Kudos to Greg Bowes for recognizing that a legal challenge would add bills to the already-over-budget library. Of course Greg is right--the new Commissioners' appointee should've been seated. But Louie stared down the situation and the other side blinked. Those Mahern boys are ballsy poker players, if nothing else.

(An alert taxpayer might wannt check Brian Mahern's council campaign contributor list--I'm betting it includes the law firm who got most of the library work. Relatives do count for something, after all)

It's a beautiful building. In an age where technical ability to conduct research is making those buildings white elephants, we struck out and built anyway. The overbudget construction project was overseen, as I recall, by board member Pizarro. Wasn't he the annoying guy on Ch. 16 board meeting coverage, who loved the sound of his own voice, and always gave the construction report? And made it sound like a Broadway production?

(Mary Lou Rothe--what the hell were you thinking, anyway? You're usually on the ball in matters like this)

Until proven otherwise I choose to keep myself between any Mahern and my wallet. Caveat emptor indeed.
We've been warned, and we've got prededents.

Anonymous said...

I hope people remember this when Dane Mahern comes calling for the 97th district state rep...
NO MORE MAHERNS

Anonymous said...

This democrat is fed up the Maherns behavior. All they care about is themselves. Hopefully the powers that be will stop electing or appointing them to positions in our city.

Anonymous said...

If the board does not address Louis Mahern's actions of not disclosing Mr. Pizarro's residencey rumblings and allowing Mr. Pizarro to continue to serve then, we as the public taxpayers, are saying this standard of ethical operation is okay. The best outcome would be for Louis Mahern step down. Mr. Mahern's unethical practices are not making the 150 million dollar price tag for Central library easier to accept.
The prosecutor brought former board member Mark Bowell to justice when his conflict of interest with a construction company was discovered, how is this any different? Fraud is fraud is fraud. Can anyone distinguish the difference,including our prosecutor?
As taxpayers we should demand Louis Mahern step down from the library board and not be allowed to hold any future board positions.

justiceforwho said...

Will anyone with some political weight call out Louis Mahern? and put a stop to all the negative press about the library. Can't blame the staff of the library for wanting him out.

Anonymous said...

When are Democrats going to learn that raw political considerations like sending a new library board member to replace someone whose term is not run and trying to have that person vote for a important position like CEO without the benefit of sitting in the interviews or reviewing a single resume look just place stupid. This just shows that they deserved to lose the last election. If they don't change their ways they will continue to lose.

Anonymous said...

I heard that Ms. Nytes is in now in the race for the 7th District seat. The gay community needs a true friend in that seat. Looks like at least she has moved on. Run Jackie, run. WE NEED MORE NYTES!!!!

Anonymous said...

Greg Bowes, now there is a legal genius if ever there was one. He was smart enough to know that hard ball politics, like naming a successor when the term isn't up, doesn't probably play well in the court of law. Smart move to not pursue it. Very smart and not the least bit cowardly, really.

Anonymous said...

justiceforwho,

Jackie Nytes has some political weight. Maybe she could do it.

Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard Jackie's was going run for congress in the 7th
will she be in the special election, or go straight to the primary? I think her plan may be congress for a term and then come back and run for mayor. She has strong ties to the gay and black communities and a great labor record and works well with other democrats and republicans. She is my choice.

Anonymous said...

Jackie for President. Start collecting the signatures NOW!

Anonymous said...

I think someone is making fun of Ms.Jackie Nytes. A whole lot of Democrats wanted her to have the job at the library why didn't the board do the right think politically. Why did Mary Lou Rothe, Lynch, and the other appointment by the commissioners prior to Elsa and Mahern let this happen. This may be the last high paying job for a democrat for a long time. I don't know what party Laura Bramble is but I know Jakie to be a red hot democrat and she should have been elected on that bases alone.