The latest evidence of that came out of a Library Board meeting earlier this month, when new board member Elsa Kramer asked for a statement to be read into the record. Kramer was concerned that board member Peter Pizarro had participated in a Nov. 15 vote to hire Laura Bramble as the library's chief executive.
The problem? Pizarro, who has since left the Library Board, "was no longer a resident of the library district as of at least Sept. 1," Kramer said.
While other board members kept quiet, it's hard to imagine they didn't know something was up. After all, Pizarro hadn't attended the board's September or October meetings. But he showed up in November to vote for Bramble, board President Louis Mahern's choice for CEO.
Mahern said he'd heard rumblings about Pizarro's residency before the vote. He said Pizarro told him his family had moved to Ohio, where Pizarro has a new job, but that Pizarro was sleeping at a friend's house in Indianapolis, "tying up some loose ends."
Here are a few points to consider before deciding whether that is a credible scenario:
Pizarro sold his Indianapolis home this summer. In an Aug. 1 sales disclosure form signed "under penalties of perjury," he listed his residence as Mansfield, Ohio.
The list of real estate transactions in the Sept. 23 edition of the Mansfield News Journal included Pizarro's purchase of a home in Ohio.
Pizarro, a prominent Republican who ran for City-County Council in 2003, did not vote in the hotly contested Nov. 6 Marion County elections.
The dishonorable Pizarro refused to return Tully's calls seeking clarification on his residency, and the circumstantial evidence Pizarro moved to the State of Ohio is indisputable. "The vote for Bramble as CEO was 4-2," Tully notes. As he explains, "Pizarro's replacement, Kramer, would have voted for another candidate, Jackie Nytes." "That could have resulted in a tie, making clear the importance of Pizarro's vote." The fact is that Louis Mahern, the Board's chairman, did not want Nytes to get the job and he stopped at nothing, including violating the Board's own bylaws, to make sure she didn't get the job. For his transgression, Mahern should be forced to immediately resign his seat on the Board.
Tully's article asks no questions of the Board's legal counsel in this breach of the public trust. Marion County taxpayers have paid millions in recent years to the law firm of Greg Hahn, Tabbert Hahn, to serve as counsel to the library board. It is the job of the Board's legal counsel to make sure the Board follows the law and, most certainly, its own bylaws. As I reported last month, Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes, arguing on behalf of the County Commissioners to replace Pizarro with the Commissioners' new appointee, Elsa Kramer, provided evidence before the vote that Pizarro's term on the Board had already expired. Neither Mahern nor its legal counsel were moved by the evidence Bowes tendered to the Board. As one of his first duties as Mayor, Mayor-elect Ballard should replace both Mahern and the Board's law firm. They have breached the public's trust and should suffer the consequences.