WIBC's John Strauss discussed the appointment during his Sunday morning talk show today, indicating that Ballard had announced it during a MCANA meeting this weekend. I've spoken to a couple of neighborhood leaders who are furious with the appointment. Franklin, a one term councilor, is not known for her diplomacy. In fact, she has a history of being extremely rude and unprofessional to constituents and others with whom she disagrees. She infuriated Indianapolis' GLBT community with her homobigoted views in opposing the Human Rights Ordinance. Franklin scored points with some Republican council members like fellow police officer Lincoln Plowman by voting against the police merger ordinance. She was the only Democratic councilor who was regularly touted over at the now-defunct IndyUndercover blog, which a police affidavit proved was moderated by radio talk show host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. The blog endorsed her re-election to the council last year. People are still wondering who in the police department leaked the identity of a confidential police informant in last year's rash of arson cases on the city's southeastside, which the IndyUndercover blog disclosed, placing the pregnant female informant's life in danger. Franklin headed up the investigation as an arson investigator and publicly complained that the prosecutor's office wouldn't charge the man she claimed committed the arsons.
The abandoned housing problem is a big problem facing this city. Some estimate there are now more than 10,000 abandoned homes in the city in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. I'm very pleased that Mayor Ballard is affording the problem a higher priority than his predecessor, but with all due respect Mayor Ballard, Sherron Franklin is the wrong person to do this job. This new position our mayor is creating will be a very difficult job involving a lot of complicated legal and political issues. Franklin is ill-suited to deal with the public, let alone the bureaucratic, legal red-tape she will have to confront in this job. This job is just too important to turn it over to someone who has such a poor record of performance in dealing with the public.
UPDATE: The Star's Robert Annis has a report on the appointment today. He writes:
Ballard told attendees at Saturday's Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations meeting that Franklin would "wake up every day thinking about abandoned homes" . . .
I learned a long time ago to get the right person," Ballard said Saturday. "Don't be in a hurry, just get the right person."
Ballard spokesman Marcus Barlow said Franklin's focus on abandoned houses during her term on the City-County Council and her experience dealing with residents as a police officer made her the ideal candidate for the role. Franklin remains with IMPD, but her full-time duties will revolve around the abandoned homes initiative.
Franklin, who was offered the position two weeks ago, is working with Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams on the project, Barlow said. Her salary will remain the same.
Sorry, Mayor Ballard, she is not the "right person." And doesn't this sound familiar: "Franklin did not immediately respond to telephone messages left for her."